It is no secret that EV cars and eventually pickup trucks will be the "next best thing" globally. My Tesla experience proved to me that those who drive an EV would more than likely want one. However, are EV cars the best use of our energy?
Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained seems to think otherwise, and I agree.
Why Is EV Only Not The Best Idea?
When comparing energy density, gasoline is denser than that of a generation 1 Nissan Leaf over 33 kWh. In my opinion, a Nissan Leaf (the poorest designed EV) has a range (on a good day with a good battery) of around 100 miles.
So wait, why does a gallon of gasoline not get us 100 miles? It is about how that energy is being used, so we need further development into internal combustion engines, but we will get to that.
What we are talking about here is not how far you can go on a gallon of fuel but what it represents. We are talking about the energy density inside that gallon of fuel. One gallon is 13 times more energy-dense than the current best lithium-ion batteries (21700 Cells).
As batteries get better, we will see this change, but they will have to become 13 times more energy-dense than they are now.
So why can we only go a few miles on a gallon of gasoline but hundreds of miles on batteries? This is where Jason and I agree, further development of the gasoline engine needs to happen.
Why We Need To Continue Developing Internal Combustion
The modern-day Prius non-plug-in can get 60 miles per gallon. The combination of electricity and gasoline has proven to be a winner when squeezing every molecule of energy.
It is not good enough, though; we are still not efficient with internal combustion to get that gallon of fuel to give us a 100-mile range. So what will it take?
My theory is that we need to continue making better internal combustion engines, yes. Still, we will need to couple that with a hybrid system.
The start-stop system that modern cars have is straight trash and nothing more than a ploy to get credits for increasing fuel econ. A true hybrid like the Toyota Prius is what needs to be focused on and developed further.
Internal combustion engines have come a very long way. Mazda has done some incredible things with fuel efficiency over the years, along with Toyota, Honda, and many other car manufacturers.
We still need to resolve many issues, such as how to take all the heat generated (which is lost energy) and convert it into a useable source.
What seems more manageable is trying and keeping improving battery technology, which most companies are doing now. Solid-state battery tech is the most promising but is not commercially viable yet.
EV cars are not the answer right now; they are a supplement to our demand for energy.
That is all for today. I look forward to seeing you in the following article. Take a look at how to spot a failing hybrid battery on your Prius.
Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.