Many of us were thinking that Capacitors would take over from Lithium-Ion batteries. And maybe one day they will. I wrote about this in our last story "New Graphene Batteries for Electric Cars".
BUT I was personally wondering just how good they would be at storing enough juice to run the car just like Lithium-Ion would. My only experience with Super Capacitors is in using a Flat Battery Car Starter. It has six super capacitors in it. Each capacitor stores 2v and it doesn't need charging until the time comes to use it. It will charge from a flat battery (flat in the sense it won't start the car) which still has lots of hidden storage left. You can connect it to the flat battery and it charges each capacitor up, one at a time, until its fully charged ready to use. You can of course just connect it to another car with a good battery and the process takes less than 30 seconds. So its very fast. And most of all, unlike the battery storage type ones, the life of the capacitor is huge, it never needs topping up, so you can just put it away in the boot of the car and forget about it. Not cheap to buy, but well worth the money. BUT I found not many people understand how it works, and the sales of this product have been very slow to the point of not selling many at all. If only people could get their heads around it.
So its the same with Ultra/Super Capacitors. Very fast to Charge and/or Discharge.
So the plan now is to marry the Ultra Capacitors with Lithium-Ion batteries. The Capacitors are at the front-end and the Lithium-ion trailing. This means the extra power needed is there when you accelerate and the absorption is there when you use brake re-gen. Right now a lot of current is wasted in re-gen because the batteries are not capable of absorbing it so quickly.
And this is where the Graphene Ultra Capacitors come into the picture.
As but one example, they have the capacity to absorb all of the re-gen power, not just a portion of it, but the whole damned lot. And from there it can be fed slowly into the batteries, or re-used immediately in the running of the car.
The life of the Tesla batteries is between 3,000 and 5,000 cycles. This will of course depend on how much TLC there is in your driving habits. The life of the Graphene Ultra Capacitors is one million cycles. That's HUGE. In fact, as you will see in the video, in real life they will do more than that.
Also the use of the Capacitors will substantially extend the life of the Lithium-Ion batteries. It sounds like a win-win situation. BUT cost is likely to play a factor here as the capacitors are more expensive that Lithium-ion, but this will come down as more and more are produced.
Imagine an electric car with batteries and ultra capacitors that can soak up all your regenerative braking generation and use it to accelerate the vehicle later. Hugely reducing strain on the battery and increasing lifespan and range.
In the video Robert Llewellyn from FULLY CHARGED visits the Skeleton Technologies in Tallinn, Estonia to find out how these remarkable products are made and what they do and how they plan for them to be used. Robert is well known in the whole renewable energy field, having been an area he loves promoting. He has his own Solar Panels, a Tesla Powerwall and also the latest car charger designed to work with Solar called the Zappi Myenergi in the UK.
He is also right into electric cars, and him and his business partner do alot of videos on new models of electric cars as they come out.
A commenter under this Youtube video wrote this:
- In my opinion - this is the best video blog/story you've ever made !
- Estonia - beautiful country, educated people, great national philosophies (broadband for everyone).
- Ultra capacitors (EC's) - HOW BRILLIANT are these ???!!!
- Sucking in massive amounts of power in seconds and stuffing it out again. Brilliant for taking out peaks and troughs of grid demand but also using them in combination with lithium-Ion batteries in automotive applications, EC taking all that regen energy, delivering it during phases of acceleration - just a brilliant concept.
- As you may have guessed, I lurved this video - just off to watch it again !!!!!?
Peak Power Storage
Further into the story they start looking at massive storage batteries being made at Skeleton. The sort that an electric energy supplier would use to store generation ready for peak use, or for night-time use. Plus its use in switching from one power source to another for smoothing purposes.
I must profess to never having heard of Estonia before, but then I do live on the opposite side of the world in the better hemisphere, so that is to be expected somewhat.It certainly looks an interesting place and very progressive. Any place that has a flat tax has to to be futuristic instead of the ludicrous tax laws most countries still have. But it does seem as Robert says to be lacking in renewable energy. But he didn't say where they presently get their generation from, which would be interesting to know.
Developing story. More to be written yet.