This article reviews some new technologies and use-cases, which suggest that renewble energy and Hybrid-Electric cars may be quite close now to making large strides in to the markets of energy infrastructure and automotive propulsion
Power-2-Gas (P2G) technology
On civilian market, one usfeul solution is to convert the electric power to nutural-gas quality i.e. 99% pure methane gas [Link], which in turn could be fed later on in to a turbine-driven electric generator, the likes of which are common place. Nuclear electric power stations keep on producing electricity at night like during the day time, and then their nightly clientele is quite meager. One solution is to pump water up the mountains at night by means of abundant electricity and then capitalize on that potential energy storage by means of hydro-electric generation during the midday peak time consumption of electricity. Such an arrangement exists between French nuclear reactors and between Swiss hydro-electric plants.
evidently, such Power-2-Gas (P2G) technology helps the renewable sector by means of storing day time energy for use at night and during bad weather,and helps the nuclear power generation sector by means of storing the nightly captured energy for day time utilization.
PHEV vs. EV
Fully Electric Vehicle (EV) may fit very well dense and heaviliy polluted mega-cities like Los-Angeles and a dozen of Chinese ones, while in most other cases the PHEV might be the winner, by means of combining clean city drive with powerful and long range highway and offroad diesel motorization. The PHEV is especially davantageous over the EV especially where the electricity distribution infrastructure is under a constant existential threat, i.e. a war and/or earth-quake stricken country like Japan/California/Israel/Iran/Africa.
PHEV battery cost may be offset by cutting on refueling time
This article suggests that for a Pluggable Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), the depreciation of the Lithium-Ion battery may be offset, i.e. payed for, by means of all the time wasted on refueling a non-electric car over the life time of that battery, which is typically leased apart from the purchase or leasing of the PHEV car itself.
A car refueling stop takes about 5 to 10 minutes altogether,incl. waiting, slowing in and accelerating out, with about 4 minutes inside the station in the ideal case [Link], leading to perhaps about 7.5 minutes for a typical stop. Thus assuming 1 to 4 refueling stops a week, leads to 390 up to 1560 minutes p.a.,i.e. 6.5 up to 26 working hours a p.a., i.e. 130 up to 2080 Euro p.a. for most people.
Add to that the wear and energy of braking and accelerating, especially along a highway, and you’ve got a little more. Saving most of that by means of a pluggable hybrid car may compensate for much of the Lithium-Ion battery’s depreciation.
The case of the fully-electric car, which is naturally pluggable too, may differ since it may need a much larger battery, i.e. much more expensive, for the longer drives out of town, when a hybrid car resorts to its gasoline engine. This is the reason only fully-electric cars are assisted by means of battery-swap infrastructure.
Solar Photo-voltaic (PV)
In a few years time, solar Photo-voltaic (PV) technology already demonstrated in various laboratories, is expected to become decisively competitive on its own intrinsic merits according to this report: [Link, which also claimes that PV panels have already occupied some territory on US Army deployments in order to reduce its dependency on fuel which costs it about $400/Gallon at the field pump.
A growing market share of PV raises the need to store the resulting electricity for the night time and for clouded weather. The gas production and storage infrastructures needed for P2G may easily fit the civilian world, while not to forward units.
On the military front, this can be tackled by means of charging batteries, including of pluggable hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). The military may use its JLTV program [Link] in order to materialize PHEV among its troops, though it hasn’t yet raised this requirement [Link]. Driving on electricity keeps this light truck safer, by means of being quiet and cold, thus quasi stealth on Infrared. This advantage may not be readily applicable to the much heavier M113 APC, because of the energy/weight and energy/volume limits of existing batteries.