Working to shorten EVs' gestation
Dave Guilford is enterprise editor of Automotive News.
To electric vehicle advocates, the sputtering sales and business failures of the past year have been deeply discouraging.
But EV lovers who want a different perspective might talk to Lee Stogner.
Stogner is chairman of the transportation electrification initiative of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE is a massive global organization that pushes technology forward by setting technical standards and increasing professional knowledge.
OK, that sounds a little dry.
But the group is putting its considerable clout behind vehicle electrification.
IEEE takes the long-term -- if not immediately encouraging -- view.
"Technology tends to roll out in cycles of 40 to 50 years," Stogner says, citing such examples as air conditioning, color TV and microwave ovens. "All those things took that much time to roll out throughout the world."
But, he says, the institute believes it can speed adoption of technologies it sees as game-changers. IEEE sees electrified transportation as that kind of technology. Through its initiative, the group hopes to push adoption of electric drive in cars, boats and trains into a 10- to 20-year time frame.
"Most families within 10 years will have a pure electric car that will go more than 100 miles in a day, which is more than enough, and they'll have a hybrid," Stogner says.
The group recently held a transportation electrification conference in suburban Detroit, doing deep dives on such topics as alternatives to rare earth magnets for electric motors and post-automotive use of EV battery packs. That's the hard-core techie stuff that has to be worked out for EVs to have a shot at mass adoption.
Despite his EV advocacy, Stogner says the internal combustion engine will be around for a long time because petroleum offers easy storage and energy density that battery makers can only dream of. He says: "A gallon of gasoline is pretty much the perfect battery."
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