Electrical Engineering Department
BS in Electrical Engineering
As our nation strives towards a departure from widespread use of fossil fuels, we must focus on a plan for what is to be the substitute for Internal Combustion Engine vehicles as well as the infrastructure to support this. The most popular alternative to the internal combustion engine is the electrically propelled vehicle, one that can provide us with many benefits including simplified construction, lower operational costs, and for the driving enthusiasts more torque. The prevailing issue in the widespread acceptance and use of the electric vehicle thus far is “range anxiety”. Range anxiety is defined as “The fear of being stranded by an electric car because of insufficient battery performance or charge.” The main source of this anxiety lies with the limited energy density of the battery pack, as shown in Table 1 few models are able to maintain a range near what an internal combustion engine can handle, about 400 miles.
Table 1: Production EVs with corresponding Battery Energy and Range
Range (using EPA estimates)
Tesla Model S
Audi A3 e-tron
Ford Focus BEV
The closest to the 400 mile range is the luxury auto maker Tesla, whose vehicles remain out of reach for most drivers. There are two paths to a solution for range anxiety, increased energy density in the battery pack is one obvious solution. The remaining is one that is similar to what a gas station is to an ICE vehicle; a Rapid Battery Interchange System, in other words is a system which can provide automated battery swapping for an electric vehicle in a reasonably convenient amount of time. If a widespread adoption of such a system can be realized, electric vehicles can be put in place of every ICE vehicle being used today. This will lead to a new future in which we do not have to harm our environment in order to get to work every day, it will lead us to a future where we can transport ourselves sustainably for years to come.
 (Range Anxiety)
 (Department of Energy, 2012)