Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Fast photovoltaic recharge for electric vehicles

Produktion der SMA EV Charger. Foto: Heiko Meyer

SMA, one of the top players in the field of system technologies for photovoltaic, has developed and made available the EV Charger platform, a solution to recharge electric vehicles by exploiting the photovoltaic current generated through solar energy. The system is directly integrated into the renewable energy plant, simplifying installation and maintenance processes.

SMA EV Charger allows recharging quickly, safely and conveniently thanks to its different functions, constantly aimed at the highest possible exploitation of the available solar energy. Through the combination of photovoltaic and net current, SMA EV Charger can operate at 7.4 kW, then with almost double speed compared to standard wallboxes and even ten-time faster than a typical domestic socket. Moreover, the protection against power outages safeguards the domestic connection from overloads.

The recharge process with SMA EV Charger can be planned with the app SMA Energy Sunny Home Manager 2.0, which programmes the recharge in the domestic energy management, taking other loads into account smartly, allowing the cost reduction and assuring the vehicle availability at the wished start time.

«The electric mobility becomes a really smart choice only with the solar energy. For this reason–Nick Morbach, Executive Vice President of the Home & Business Solutions unit of SMA, stated- we have developed SMA EV Charger. This device allows drivers of electric cars to carry out the recharge always comfortably and safely, exploiting the convenient photovoltaic current, with zero climatic impact, as much as possible. All SMA devices, provided by the same supplier, dialogue one another and therefore have a single reference partner for whatever question about extensions, warranties or service.


Life Cycle Assessment, electric car wins

For the same models with different power supplies, the carbon footprint of electric versions is already better than the one of the corresponding variants with internal-combustion engine. Moreover, electric vehicles provide a higher potential of CO2 reduction in all lifecycle phases of the product. Concerning CO2 emissions, the energy provenience from fossil fuels or renewable sources is fundamental, too. This is the result of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) certified by Volkswagen Golf, which compares the CO2 emissions of the different vehicle versions, with electric motor or internal combustion engine.
In short, the current Golf TDI (Diesel) emits on average 140 g of CO2/km along the entire lifecycle whereas e-Golf1 just 119 g of CO2/km. It is clear that, for a vehicle with internal combustion engine, most of emissions come from the use phase, i.e. from the fossil fuel provisioning chain and from combustion: in these cases, the Diesel version reaches 111 g of CO2/km, whereas, in this phase, a corresponding electrically powered vehicle emits only 62 g of CO2/km, deriving from the energy generation and supply. On the contrary, most of emissions for an electric car are generated during the production phase.
According to LCA, the datum referred to the Diesel version is 29 g of CO2/km; whereas the one of a corresponding electrically driven car is 57 g of CO2/km.
The battery production and the complex mining of raw materials weigh significantly, and this number corresponds to almost half of CO2 emissions for the entire lifecycle that, during the use phase, depend on energy production sources – their decrease depends on the availability of renewable energies.

Electric boats: a “Tesla” in the waves

Among the companies that are trying to bring the electric motor in the world of boats, there is the Seattle start-up Zin Boats, which aims at producing electric boats and at ranking on the market to propose “the Tesla of the sea”, so demonstrating that electric boats can be a valid alternative to those powered by fuel. For this reason, the product conceived by the company is called Z2R, a 20-foot speedboat powered by BMW batteries, with 160-kilometre autonomy.
Z2R weighs around half of a standard boat of the same size. Weight is a fundamental matter: to move a boat, more power is necessary than the one needed for a car, a limit that hindered the previous electric experiments, carried out on boats in the Sixties.
The current lower cost of lithium-ion batteries is giving the opportunity of experimenting in this issue. Those used by Z2R, with a cost of about 250,000 dollars, are BMW-branded, able to power a Torqeedo motor that reaches speeds of 30 nodes. The autonomy is 160 kilometres, not exceeding 15 nodes.

Funding of 80 million USD for the Start-up Turntide

Robert Downey Junior
Robert Downey Junior

What do Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, the actor Robert Downey Jr., Hollywood star in the armour of Iron Man and Tony Fadell, father of the iPhone, have in common?
The trust with extreme conviction the Californian Turntide start-up, competing in the race of the electric motor development, and for this reason they have contributed in the relative funding that has reached 80 million dollars.
The design of Turntide motor, supposed to have 25% higher efficiency than the systems used today, dates back to 1838, but the production could start only recently due to the release of cheap microchips for computers.
«They have understood – stated Robert Downey Jr. – how to use a 19th century technology and to exploit the software to implement the potential it has always had».
The new electric motor can turn magnets on and off inside the motor 20,000 times per second, reducing the electricity consumption up to 30%.
The managing director of Turntide, Ryan Morris, has described the product as “software wound in metal “, which allows the company to control the necessary intellectual property to operate the motor.
Currently, Turntide is replacing old electric motors in large buildings’ ventilation systems: in 2020, it replaced 5,000 of these motors and aims at implementing 50,000 overall in the current year. The great goal is however making electric motors more efficient and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.