Update: A video of Stein's presentation at the Electric Vehicles briefing is now available on the Discover Magazine website.
U-M Record - Smart power systems that allow for groups of electric vehicles to be re-charged efficiently overnight is one of the keys to making electric powered cars a reality. So said ME Professor Jeffrey Stein, Associate Director of the Automotive Research Center.
At a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Stein said electric vehicles can displace the use of petroleum for current autos and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But having an electricity system that allows for maximizing re-charging of most vehicles overnight will greatly speed the process. Stein said by having groups of vehicles spread out that process, the electric grid can be used in a more efficient way.
Stein said electric vehicles improve engine performance and fuel economy in several ways, including engine shutdown when idling, better braking, smaller engine sizes and running at maximum efficiency.
Referring to the iPad, Stein said that device bridges the gap between a small handheld PDA and a laptop. In a similar way, we may someday see various kinds of cars for various uses. “The car you use to run around your neighborhood doing errands would not be the same vehicle you take on a long vacation,” Stein told the audience.
To help achieve the positive benefits of electric vehicles, Stein said the country needs “innovative policies that recognize the enormous potential of electrification,” but he warned that such a system is not a “silver bullet” to solving all of our carbon emissions problems.
Stein was joined by Genevieve Cullen of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, which represents various companies involved in making electric vehicles or technologies. The overall program was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, IEEE-USA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Discover Magazine.
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by the U-M Mechanical Engineering Department) from materials provided by the U-M Record. Contact: Mike Waring, U-M Washington Office.