Really cool science is creating a new way to heat up electric vehicles, increasing range and potentially driving sales.
It is a problem you likely have not been concerned about, unless you are in the market for an electric vehicle (EV) and that is the issue of range anxiety. In our previous article, we discussed how the addition of EV charging stations could help alleviate the concern of an EV running out of juice when you need it most, though there are other answers. While charging stations are required, much like gas stations for traditional cars, helping the EVs travel farther on a single charge will help them gain popularity much faster.
Interestingly, heating an EV in cold weather can be very taxing on the battery, while internal combustion engines generate plenty of heat the EV does not. This means it must create heat using the battery and associated systems; this could reduce the range of an EV by up to a whopping 40%, enough to make you shiver. That is until some very bright engineers and chemists stepped in and developed a solution to the problem, a molecular heater about the size of a 2 liter bottle of soda. This heating and cooling solution will be made from a new nanomaterial or a Metallic Organic Framework (MOF) that will respond to electricity. This is quite a complicated system, though achievable based on reports and interviews conducted with the scientists. A grant from the Department of Energy was awarded to a team at the University of South Florida for $803,000 for its pioneering work on this solution.
Solutions such as this new heating and cooling unit for EVs will help consumers feel more comfortable with owning an electric vehicle of their own. While most American’s only drive 20 or so miles per day, it is that “what if I want to go on a road trip” factor that often provides hesitation. As gas prices continue to rise and demand for green products increase, EVs will become more energy efficient and affordable to own. Hats off to the pioneers in the field, and keep these solutions coming.