Electric cars - and how they are used in China

I expect the battery exchange model to become the standard. The battery can be monitored for abuse and rates set accordingly. Quick and easy turn around at the fuel station.

One thing the article didn't go to was the sheer number of E scooters and ebikes in China. It used the term EV a lot, though only really talked about cars.

When I visited China a number of years ago I found crossing the street a challenge. Partly due to volume, (you eventually learn to kinda zen walk at a steady and predictable pace and depend on nobody hitting you) yet because near everything was electric you didn't have the sound cues that you would have when on a street full of internal combustibles.
Making green stuff for the rich automatically limits the number of green devices put into play. Not what you want to do if you want to make a big change sooner than later. This includes all types of appliances and vehicles. Making things for the masses automatically means lower prices. That goes along with innovation, clever design, and taking shortcuts. The race is on to lighten the weight of electric cars by getting rid of the steel that is used in so many of the parts in a regular car body and chasis. Current replacements are composite materials and magnesium. A long time ago, some metal parts on a car with no real stress on them were made out of magnesium. This time around I would suspect the magnesium parts would be load bearing parts.

Switching the battery out is an interesting concept. It seems like the only practical way to do it when you are out on the road. I originally read about the practice being tried out in Japan. But there currently is no standardization of batteries, so that has to be changed if we don't want a battery changing station on every corner. Although different brand gas stations used to congregate on street corners.

I think it also involved making the batteries in sections, say 4 pieces, instead of a single unit, to make the changing process physically easier. Unibody car body construction might be good for car bodies but not so good for car batteries. Plus, if the cells are in sections, if a bad cell had to be replaced it could easily be done at the charging replacement center and then the subunit could be sent back to the factory for repair.

The idea came to mind, would you be getting a quality battery every time. Does a battery driven by a lead foot behave the same over time as one driven by a slower, more cautious driver. I have never gotten a good replacement battery for a phone. They never seem to work as good. People could swap out good batteries at their own location with inferior batteries and who would be the wiser if it seemed to hold the same charge. The batteries do naturally decrease in efficiency over time.

Battery Swapping in NYC and Japan planned for late 2021
A 'smart' battery can detect user caused degradation and charges can be made accordingly.
The idea came to mind, would you be getting a quality battery every time. Does a battery driven by a lead foot behave the same over time as one driven by a slower, more cautious driver.
When I visited China a number of years ago I found crossing the street a challenge. Partly due to volume, (you eventually learn to kinda zen walk at a steady and predictable pace and depend on nobody hitting you)
That so much makes me think of Mote Prime with the Browns avoiding pedestrians like that
A 'smart' battery can detect user caused degradation and charges can be made accordingly.

It's a nice idea but on other side of the coin, it's bit Orwellian.

Electric vehicles are definitely the future and the internal combustion engine has probably reached its limits as far the environment is concerned but , I don't think that switching completely to electric vehicles will be enough to stem climate change. There is the issue of the power plants used to power up the battlers, those polluters will still be there and then there is the mining of the rare earths to make theses batteries , that will cause some environmental issues . Power plant technology needs to be upgraded too.
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Motorbikes have been banned in city centres for a long time. Electric scooters, as @AllanR are totally ubiquitous and much easier for locals to use, bearing in mind the volume of traffic. The quality of the batteries though... if you search for "Scooter fire China" you'll find a tonne of videos of scooters spontaneously combusting - sometimes, terrifyingly, in homes or elevators.

The most recent one I know of was a fire in a scooter shed which turned into a massive blaze that caught a whole apartment block on fire. Health and Safety most definitely NOT a thing for Chinese goods sold internally.
In the UK our biggest issue with switching to EVs is the lack of auto electricians and the ridiculously small amount of electrics that most mechanics study and work with. My text book basically says not to touch the orange box :)

At the moment a good auto electrician can charge a lot more for their services making repairs out of reach for a lot of people. Until the focus of the mechanics courses change being able to rent a battery is the least of the issue.
Any lithium type battery can catch on fire. The second generation battery, uses less solid metal, so it has a much lower chance of catching fire. The lithium is like magnesium or sodium. The starts on fire by being shorted out internally. That's the you tube video battery fires. Drive a nail through it. The short reaches 2,000 degrees and the battery starts burning. The original lithium batteries could short themselves out by growing tiny lithium metal dendrites that would reach out and short a neighboring lithium layer. The newer lithium are no where near as bad, but they still do catch on fire occasionally for no apparent reason. The "exploding" gas tank from a car crash is still a concern with electric cars as the battery can get physically damaged and the short circuit happens. Some batteries are made better than others.

I have seen internet blurbs, apparently for a serious company, Form Energy Company for a iron air battery. It uses the oxygen in the air to rust the iron. The other half of the power cycle unrusts the iron. Very similar to the way the lead acid battery works, only cleaner. The battery is being touted for use in storing power in the power grid so I guess it is less powerful than the lithium, though it stays charged longer, possibly also bigger and heavier. Now if the electro magnet industry could have some kind of breakthrough for more powerful magnets with less power consumption, maybe that would push events along to smaller batteries. Ironically the standard iron magnet has been made more powerful over the years by the addition of rare earths into the iron alloy. Maybe the metals needed to do the trick will be found in the asteroid belts.

Charging the batteries through todays power grid is going to definitely blunt the eco advantages of lower emissions by the cars. Putting massive mufflers on the smokestacks is a pipe dream. Using carbon credits that are virtual changes is little more than smoke and mirrors.

If we want the emission savings, the power grid for charging cars has to be alternative, or nuclear. Otherwise we all get a windmill to install on our roofs to trickle charge our cars at night. I don't know if an apartment building roof could supply enough solar cell power to charge all the vehicles of the people living there.

No matter what kind of vehicle it is, they will all still be merrily spraying toxic windshield wiper fluid all over the landscape wherever they go.

As the race to lighten the body weight of electric vehicle bodies continues, I think they will get more lego like in construction making working on them easier than current steel body cars. The electronics can definitely be reduced to the point where it is all plug in modules that anyone could replace, though of course, the parts will be computer encoded to work which means the ordinary person won't be able to do it.

Each electric vehicle company might have to open up their own local garages to fix their own cars to start with. With no gasoline tanks, and limited charging capacity, they could probably put them anywhere. As the regular garages got more proficient they could handle more different models of electric vehicles. If they don't adapt, I guess they go out of business, like everyone else screwed over by the internet. Even doctors aren't immune to this. The big corporate doctor offices with 2 dozen doctors and a waiting room the size of a gymnasium with big screen TVs on the walls, sometimes reminds me of the car dealerships waiting rooms.

The onboard computer could tell the tech which module isn't working. The onboard computer could even communicate with the corporate computer and the car could drive itself to the repair shop when it wasn't being used. Or it could call for a pickup. I wonder if on board car computers ever get depressed. Imagine complaining to the onboard car computer about how much money it spent in the repair shop today.
Elon Musk said that US power production has to double to meet the charging demands of all the new EV vehicles that will be produced.

In every country, the existing power grid is wired up for instant power on demand, and has no real way of integrating excess renewable power into the system, and the large banks of batteries don't exist yet. The entire grid needs to be rewired in a way that can connect anything to anything and store large amounts of power, but neither concept exists yet. It would take a great leap of engineering to design such a system without knowing the specific types of sources and battery systems. Probably too big a leap.

At the same time, the electric vehicle industry is ramping up as all the big combustion engine companies are now planning on capturing the majority of the EV market by producing millions of vehicles. This will push production of batteries, but might also limit the number of batteries available to the power industry.

The problems the US will face to double its capacity is probably linked to the problems China and India have in replacing half of their old plants which are coal powered equipment, in which they need power on demand power sources which can only be supplied by coal, oil, gas, or nuclear. Droughts have taken hydroelectric power off the always available power on demand list.

One possibility is a separate power system that is used only for charging EV vehicles. It would run parallel to the current grid and might be able to use all the excess renewable power that can't be stored for future use. Since there would be a tremendous number of batteries hooked up to the parallel grid, it would automatically be a battery backed up power grid. Eventually it would replace the old power grid. It could end up the same way high speed broadband distribution works. Cheap and available in heavily populated areas, and sometimes non existent is out lying areas with low population numbers.