Since I was a boy I've had a passion for flight, and being young of an age of limited resources the best access to fulfilling that was through models. I've always been into gliders, which for me have their own special attraction.
I reacall building my first electric glider sometime around 1987. It consisted of the drive train from a Frog R/C car, nameley a bunch of Sub C batteries a 540 motor. The result was a disaster. It was underpowered, heavy as hell and had stuff all battery life. Lets say this model was rekitted into kindling quickly.
Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries pack in a tremendous wallop of electron
Fast forward to 2009. These days we have phenomeonal electro power systems available. They are so good it's scary. These days I have a big toy glider fitted with 3.6 kilowatts of electric power - that's 5 horsepower folks. It's enough to give this 3.6m span 5 kilo bird unlimited vertical. Even the "Ice Man" would be impresed!
iZip Express electro bike is like having a helping hand pushing you along. Smart
When I first started getting back into these electro gliders about 3 years ago I immediately saw the potential the current generation has for transportation. They combine,
- Extrordinary efficiency of over 90% , from low friction brushless AC motors
- High power output in a small package - a benefit of the high efficiency
- Lightweight batteries - using Lithium Ions, having best energy density of any material we've so far found
- Computer control, to enable precice and accurate control over power delivery
Fast As an electro motor in each wheel the British Lightning is just that.
This year will see a huge number of electro transporation options hit the consumer market from:
- Electric bikes, which in my opinion are going to become a massively popular personal transport choice
- Small electro commuter vehicles. The next generation of small lightweight plug in electrics is being developed, and these are going to become our "runabouts" of the future
- High performance cars. The fact is the electro power trains in terms of output and simplicity leave the internal combustion engine for dead. The next supercars will all be electrically powered, and have a way cooler sound.
Small Light and Practical we will refurb our cars and build new ones to a practical size
So the answer to our smart transport future will be in the areas of:
- High capacity, lightweight batteries that are fast to charge. Already there are huge advances being made in this are that wll leave the current impressive battery technology for dead.
- Electricity generation that is clean and renewable. We shouldn't even think of powering our electro vehicles with coal, which mile for mile pumps over three times as much GHG as petrol.
- Smart fast charging bays, and or even standardised battery exchange programs. Pop into your charging station and swap your battery for a fresh one.
So rock on our electro future!
images courtesy of Zoomilife.com