Long road trips remain the technological and psychological barrier for Americans when it comes to adopting electric vehicles into their home fleets. While most approve of measures to combat vehicle-generated carbon emissions that contribute heavily to climate change, most balk at the drive distances in comparison to gas-powered vehicles. The difference between 400plus miles on a full tank as opposed to 200 to 300 miles isn’t insignificant, and when one considers the time required to fill a tank with gas versus charging a car battery, a few minutes is highly preferable to half an hour.
The very real limitations of the electric vehicle puts pressure on politicians to convince skeptical consumers who will continue to challenge the concept. Car companies are also feeling the pressure to take on those relative negatives that could be holding back electric vehicle adoption, not the least of which being charge time. That’s why both will begin to feel encouraged about a recently released government research report stating that charging an electric car battery up to ninety percent in just ten minutes could soon become a reality. How soon? Researchers predict such a solid state battery could arrive in five years and would completely revolutionize the electric car industry. Goals have been set to match average times spent at the gas pump and will be necessary to reach if America is to steadily reduce its reliance on gas-powered cars and increase its incorporation of electric vehicles as an equally accepted mode of transportation. At present—despite billions of government funds allocated to push the effort—positive opinions on electric vehicles remain reliant on outlier support that reject general accusations of impracticality and unreliability.
Adding fuel to the pushback on electric vehicles are the varying levels of recharge times. Level one chargers are the slowest, requiring forty to fifty hours of recharging. Direct current chargers do the job much faster, requiring only twenty minutes to an hour to take a battery back up to eighty percent. One of the obstacles facing battery manufacturers is developing the ability to fast charge an electric vehicle battery without doing long-term damage to it. Rapid charging can also reduce battery life and in some cases cause a battery to explode. Researchers have been using machine learning to determine battery aging processes in regards to fast charging and their findings have contributed to methods that can take a battery up to ninety percent in ten minutes – and they’re working to do even better, striving for twenty miles per minute.
However, there are other speed bumps slowing down the electric vehicle industry. Customers are frustrated with public charging stations that malfunction or are found out of service. Gas stations are designed around the concept of convenience, which means resources must be fast and available with bonus purchase items within easy consumer reach. This means increasing the quality and quantity of downtime options while cars are charging. Spokespersons for the Electric Vehicle Association agree only in part, offering that charging at home will be the less expensive and more convenient route to getting back on the road. If that perception proves accurate, it will still be difficult to argue that reducing the time to charge an electric vehicle to that of a smartphone will fail to have an important impact on accelerating adoption of the technology and EV industry growth.
Further improvements to electric vehicles and their maintenance methods will likely mean the transition away from gas-powered vehicles will move from speculative to inevitable. When one considers that California is likely to approve regulation to ban the sales of gas-only vehicles by 2035 while limiting the sales of plug-in hybrids, things have certainly transitioned from possible to probable.
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