/ Analysis / Electric Buses and Cars: Huge Opportunities for New Range Extenders

Electric Buses and Cars: Huge Opportunities for New Range Extenders

Matt Ball on February 12, 2015 - in Analysis, Corporate, Transportation
Feb. 10, 2015—The new IDTechEx report, Electric Vehicle Forecasts, Trends and Opportunities 2015-2025 explains and forecasts the booming market for electric buses and cars in 37 categories of land, water and airborne e-vehicle. The buses will replace five million out there. They will be hybrids that do not plug in, particularly outside East Asia, and mainly plug-in hybrid and pure electric in East Asia.
Hybrids will increasingly be series hybrids with range extenders – smoother, quieter and simpler. These will provide lower cost, greater reliability, less vibration, more space and longer life than the parallel option. Series hybrids will answer key purchasing criteria for buses – total cost of ownership and reduction in local pollution. There are similarities with cars but with concentration on up-front price, before running cost and green credentials.
There are many options for range extenders in buses as we move beyond the use of minimally altered diesel engines. Diesel emission has been reclassified as a serious carcinogen. There is recognition that something far smaller, lighter, cleaner, quieter and with less vibration can be used as a range extender in a car or other vehicle.
Smoother running multi-fuel rotary combustion engines are used in series hybrid light aircraft and increasingly in cars but they have not yet proved scalable for large buses. Gas turbines have been used in a minority of large buses for over ten years but efficiency is a concern. So far, these gas turbines are not designed to purpose but that will come later.
Fuel cell range extenders are no greener than alternatives in buses as long as the hydrogen comes from fossil fuels and they rely on platinum. Their total cost of ownership is, as yet, eye watering. Free piston fuel generators and other options remain in the laboratory so, for now, progress means nothing more than using much smaller diesel or gasoline engines such as tiny two and three-cylinder piston engines. Nonetheless, the potential is now huge, including millions of cars and buses over the next ten years. The race is on. See the new IDTechEx report, Range Extenders for Electric Vehiclesfor more.
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