Q1. Why can’t I get the same distance from an EV battery pack as I can from a petrol tank.
To explain why a battery pack is not the equivalent as a full tank of fuel consider the figures in the table below showing battery pack sizes and ranges as an equivalent of litres of petrol. Even the Tesla with its 750kg battery pack only contains the same energy as 8.95 litres of petrol.
That being said, looking at the last column a std petrol car at 10L/100lm uses something like 5.5 to 8.5 times the amount of energy an EV uses to cover the same distance.
Q2 Do I need a special charger to charge my EV at home.
Basically no, you can charge any commercially available EV from a standard household power point, with only the Nissan Leaf being the exception as it requires a 15amp power point.
To answer the question how quick can you charge an EV depends on the level of charging. In Australia there are 3 levels of charging.
This is charging via a standard power point, a full charge will take between 6 to 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Providing you are happy with this type of charging time (usually overnight) then you do not need to install anything extra to charge your EV>
If you want a faster changing time, this is still possible from home by installing a level 2 capable lead. Like level 1 charging the charging lead provides 240V electricity from the power point to the vehicles on board charger. Charging times is generally 4 to 6 hours depending on the vehicle.
Level 2 charging leads are no more difficult for an electrician to install than an electric oven or air conditioner but for older houses the extra load may require an upgraded power cable from the street. Make sure you get a proper assessment of your household electrical system before having one fitted.
In Australia level 3 charging is provided using the same J1772 plug that supplies the EV at level 1 or 2 however level 3 can supply up to 80amps charging which is generally beyond the capacity of a household power supply. If you have a very large incoming supply cable or the desire to install one you could have level 3 charging in your home.
Level 3 charging requires you have an electrician install a dedicated circuit breaker and suitable cable between the house’s circuit breaker box and the charging point. The cable between the street and the house would also need an upgrade, plus your household meter may also need upgrading.
The Venturi Eclectic is a low-speed solar-electric ‘city car’ fitted with both solar panels and plug-in charging. With a battery range of 50km, a top speed of 50km/h and 3 seats. It has been described as a golf buggy on steroids and its primarily intended for city driving. The solar panels extend the range by 7km per day. Because Australia has no quadracycle or equivalent registration class it cannot be used on the road here
A new airship called the Aeroscraft is being tested in California by its makers Aeros Corp. The blimp like aircraft has recently lifted to the skies in a tethered test, an exciting moment for the developers who have been working on the craft since 2006.
Described as a dirigible the aircraft is designed to carry cargo including oversized cargo with the aircraft itself being roughly the size of a football field.
The Aeroscraft is filled with helium and its powered by 3 swivelling engines, two on the sides and one at the back.
Unlike a blimp Aeroscraft has a rigid outer frame making it the first craft of this kind to be flown since the retirement of the German Graf Zeppeling in 1940 an airship that flew over 1 million air miles and made 144 trips across the ocean.
Like a submarine compresses air the Aeroscfraft compresses its helium gas into tanks to change buoyancy. When the helium is compressed the buoyancy of the craft lowers and the craft sinks to the ground. At ground level the craft doesn’t land completely but rests on landing pads allowing it to land on water, ice or ground. The aircraft is very stable at ground level and only a minimal ground crew is required. The application of such an airship is to move cargo to places without airstrips such as remote places like Alaska.