I love cars, I mean I really love them. I have since I was 3 or 4 when my parents got a 528ie, that’s a BMW for those that don’t know. I equate most things in my life to the ownership of a car, including my policies on letting other people drive it; I mean you wouldn’t let someone else sleep with your wife would you? Exactly.
I would write about cars in this blog, but frankly I dot feel qualified to do so. There are much better sites out there doing that, and the one thing I can’t stand is an amateur hour car review. But maybe one day…
The only thing I don’t like about cars these days (like most people on earth) is getting raped at the gas station. Which is a real problem since I like the idea of owning the most powerful car I can afford, which tends to mean more money at the pump.
I also like high technology in my cars, so I’m not completely adverse to the idea of owning an EV if the price is right, and it’s not bearing all the mighty power of a 3,000 pound lawnmower. The upcoming Tesla Model S is a good example of something nice, sporty looking, and relatively inexpensive for its class. As is the Tesla Roadster, but at 100k starting, it’s a bit out of my range.
The idea of an EV seems nice on the surface, but when you really think about it, there’s one glaring problem: recharging. Sure it’s way cheap to charge from your home, but what about everywhere else, you know, the places a car is supposed to take you. Despite what GE commercials would like you to believe, we don’t live in a world where charging stations are everywhere you want to be. I challenge you to look around your neighborhood (especially if you live outside a major city like LA) and count the number of charging stations you see in your daily life.
Studies show that the vast majority of people commute less than 40 miles a day. I don’t think that counts most working Southern Californians, or it wouldn’t take over two hours to get to Downtown LA from Orange County some days.
Even if you fall into that sub 40 miles a day category, what about the other times? What about driving to Vegas, or going on a road trip? Your only option is sitting for several hours at a charging station (if your lucky enough to find one into desert) or leave your 30k+ investment at home and rent something that runs on gas.
Well the geniuses at MIT aim to change all that, making the idea of an electric car something viable for us people who, you know, drive.
Researchers have developed a method of storing electrically charged particles in a sludge-like solution. The solution is stored in a separate reservoir, and then pumped into a separate container where the electricity is released to power your vehicle.
Now if that sounds a lot like your typical combustion engine set up, it should. Because for us non-geniuses, this boils down to an electric car system that operates very similarly to what we’re already used to. That includes being able to refill at the pump.
That’s right, this “Cambridge Crude” (as they have dubbed it) can be pumped out of the reservoir and replaced with a freshly charged supply in the same way we are refueling now, in addition to the ability to charge the spent sludge from home, like EV’s today.
To me the implications to this are huge. That could mean actual feasible electric cars for the masses without the need to overhaul the entire world’s infrastructure that is set up to supply us with petrol. Imagine pulling up to your local Chevron and fueling up your EV right along side the regular and diesel pumps.
That’s an image that would sure get me on board.
The reality is we’re far from that stage, but this is a big first step. The technology isn’t all the revolutionary either, since this type of liquid storage battery has been around for some time. What they did do is perfect to technology by going from a pure liquid, which required high pressures to release the energy, of which there was little, and replacing it with the semi-solid sludge that requires very little pressure and stores way more energy. With that taken into account it shouldn’t be too long before we start hearing about some really rich students.
For the full technical (hype free) story, check out MIT’s actual article
Image credit goes to Nissan Motors USA, the image is of an electric sports concept called the Esflow.