Electric cars have a problem — well, two problems.
But they’re not the underlying problem.
The two problems most people know about are range and recharge times. Though advances have been made, the typical electric car still can’t travel as far as a combustion-engined car, and unlike the combustion-engined car, it takes 30-45 minutes or more to partially recharge an EV's battery pack to about 80% of its total capacity — as opposed to a fully refueled gas tank in just a few minutes.
Which means the electric car’s range — which is less to begin with — is even less after a recharge.
Plus, the wait.
They’re related problems.
The reason it takes as long as it does to recharge an electric car has to do with thermal management — i.e., preventing the batteries from overheating or being damaged during the recharging process.
Electricity is not like gasoline, a fluid that is pumped into a tank. Electricity must be transmitted via wires, and this creates heat during the transfer. It is why electrical wires have to be insulated and — as the current increases — of heavier gauge, to handle the load.
In the interests of safety — reducing the risk of a fire — and of battery longevity, batteries must be charged gradually, even if using called “fast” chargers, which take about 30-45 minutes to partially recharge an EV's batteries as a further failsafe measure.
But this means having to wait longer to get going again, and when you do, you won’t get as far as you would have on a full charge.
The solution to this problem may be on Mars.
KULR Technology Group (OTBC: KULR) has developed carbon-fiber thermal-management technology that proved its off-world worth about a week ago when the Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on the Martian surface after several months in space. Like most electric cars, Perseverance has a lithium-ion battery, which powers its vital systems, including the electric motors that power the wheels that let it roam the Martian surface.
And just like electric car batteries, the rover has thermal-management issues — magnified by the fact that the rover also contains a chunk of plutonium 238; radioactive heat from this isotope is converted into electrical power to keep the Rover "alive" — and its batteries charged up.
Keeping the batteries from heating up too much, or cooling down too much, while maintaining peak performance is a huge challenge, and a very big deal when plutonium is in the vicinity And also, as a practical matter, when there's no one around to fix any problems that might crop up.
KULR’s thermal-management technology consists of a proprietary carbon-fiber coating that maintains the temperature equilibrium of the rover’s batteries. This assures long life and reduces the risk of thermal runaway (and fire), as well as the equally disastrous potential problem of the batteries getting too cold and “bricking" — i.e., no longer able to recharge at all.
This could also solve the earthly EV problem of range/recharge by making it safe to recharge batteries much faster and fully. Instead of a 30- to 45-minute wait and an 80% full battery, a 10 minute (or less) recharge to closer to 100%.
No (or much less) range reduction after a recharge and the range (whatever it is) becomes a non-issue when it takes about the same time to recharge an EV as it takes to refuel a gas-powered car — as is the case with even the most gas-guzzling muscle car or SUV, precisely because it can be refueled in just a few minutes rather than 30-45 minutes.
NASA says it "has not found design solution with as much promise" as KULR's breakthrough technology. The company's CEO, Michael Mo, was recently interviewed by Stuart Varney of FOX News, who also touched on the use of the company's tech on the International Space Station (ISS).
KULR’s tech has other, more earthly applications as well, in addition to making electric cars more practical cars.
The company is collaborating with a major “Tier 1” manufacturer of cordless powered tools to integrate its Fiber Thermal Interface technology with next-generation brushless motors, for higher performance, longer life, and faster recharge times. No names have been mentioned yet but there are only a few names at this level, including Black & Decker, Makita, Bosch, and Snap On.
Earlier this month, former Conde Nast, Lion's Gate, and Viacom executive Dr. Joanna Massey joined KULR's board of directors, joining another heavy-hitter, Morio Kurosaki, founder and president of venture capital firm IT-Farm Corporation in Japan, where he was involved in the early development of Zoom, lvl5, which was acquired by DoorDash, and Red Hot Labs, acquired by Google.
This appears preparatory to major expansion for KULR, which isn't surprising given how far — literally — the company's technology has already gone. CNN says the "scalability of (KULR's) business is huge."
Which it is, given the pending electrification of practicality everything — on Earth as well as Mars.
Dr. Michael Busler, Ph.D., is a public policy analyst and a professor of finance at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in finance and economics. He has written op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.
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