The latest figures from the Financial Times suggest that EVs outsold diesel cars in 18 EU countries for the first time ever, with the former selling 176,000 battery cars, as opposed to 160,000 diesel cars. FT found that the growth in sales has been driven by a bevy of incentives in the markets studied, and that the sales of diesel vehicles had been steadily declining in Europe since 2015, when Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” scam was uncovered. EVs are reported to be becoming so popular in the EU that Norway is expected to achieve 100% EV sales (new units sold) by as early as April this year, and the VW Group itself sold more than 452,000 electric vehicles worldwide in 2021, which was 96% higher than its sales in 2020.
GM to build H2 fuel cell-powered network of mobile EV chargers
General Motors (GM) is reported to be investing in developing hydrogen fuel cell-based mobile EV chargers that can be easily deployed at locations that do not have adequate grid-connected EV chargers. The Hydratec system of generators could also be deployed for disaster relief and hydrogen provides far greater energy density than any EV battery technology at the moment. The first customers for the generators are expected to be the US military and national energy suppliers, but GM — which will switch to manufacturing only EVs by 2035 — is also considering expanding its use of fuel cells to railways, trucking and aerospace.
India: CESL launches Grand Challenge to aggregate demand for e-buses
Convergence Energy Services Ltd. (CESL) announced the launch of the Grand Challenge scheme to aggregate demand for electric buses, under which tenders will be floated for the procurement of 5,450 single-decker units and 130 double-decker units. The buses will be deployed in Surat, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata by July this year and the idea behind the initiative is to lower the cost of procurement of these buses for state transport undertakings (STUs) by enforcing economies of scale. The budget allotted for the scheme is Rs5,500 crore (~USD 700 million) and is being touted as the world’s largest such initiative to spur EV adoption for public transport.
New batteries with kevlar membrane could 5X EV range
Researchers at the University of Michigan reported that they were developing a new sulphur-based lithium EV battery that uses a novel, recycled kevlar membrane to boost their charge capacity by up to 500%. The new battery chemistry replaces cobalt as the cathode material for sulphur, which is abundantly available, and overcomes the issues of dendrite formation and polysulphides by using the kevlar membrane to stop the flow of the polysulphide ions. The technology, if commercialised, would produce EV batteries with a theoretical energy density of nearly 2,510kWh/kg — vs. 300WH/kg for li-ion — and they would last for an average life cycle of 10 years.