As much as Elon Musk loves to run his mouth (and boy, does he love to run his mouth), he is still, by his own admission, a few years from producing an affordable pure-battery EV. And then, the supercharger deployment rate would have to jump by an order of magnitude or so. Which means, aside from city cars and second cars, us regular folk (e. g., apartment/condo dwellers) are still living in an era of hybrids.
We are not even close to seeing what vehicle hybridization can do. Except for expander-cycle engines (the Atkinson/Miller operating cycles), today’s hybrids have regular piston engines, just a bit smaller. In hardware terms, the Atkinson/Miller Cycles only vary the cam profiles- you can barely see it. Many other means can make electrification interstate-ranged, less charger-reliant, and more flexible. As a field example, BMW’s 1.5L in their upcoming i8 is, by some metrics, their most advanced engine ever.
Why not jump directly to batteries alone? Sure, there’s something to be said for simplicity, and for a clean break when the opportunity presents itself. But there are reasons- some more plausible and pressing- why some form of consumable, “combustible” fluid still appeals, and won’t go away for a while:
-Emergency power and logistical redundancy
-Thermal power and conversion processes (or lack thereof)
-Mechanical transfer versus ‘the cloud’
-Daytime grid demand and infrastructure buildout Continue reading