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Electric Cars and Batteries Fail - Why?The greatest problem in renewable electric energy is batteries. Storage of electric energy has been solved with batteries. But their cost and unreliability has limited their use. Students may want to focus on the problems with electric car batteries. Electric Car Batteries Fail - Why? Cartoon shows the problem with lithium-ion batteries. http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/GeneMachine/733654 Chargecar.org at Carnegie Mellon University is building electric cars that utilize electronics to preserve and extend batteries. A Youtube video explains the problems with electric cars and batteries. http://chargecar.org How did the German U boats lose the war, batteries? U Boats, Diesel/electric Submarines, had to run on batteries when they submerged. They were easy prey for US Catalinas (sea planes) because they could only travel as fast as their batteries. A good book Cryptomonicon chronicles the submarines, code breaking, and spy networks of WWII. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-boat “speed and range were severely limited underwater while running on battery power” Once a U Boat was hit the sea water flooded the batteries with sea water. The lead acid batteries gave off chlorine fumes dooming the crew. The Uboats were called the coffin boats due to their batteries. http://www.uboat.net/technical/batteries.htm http://www.uboataces.com/articles-underwater-escape.shtml Another hazard lies with the boat’s batteries. When exposed and mixed with sea water, it emitted a poisonous chlorine gas. Many U-boats were forced to the surface and abandoned when sea water seeped into the boat’s battery casings which had cracked under a depth charge attack. The renewable energy of tomorrow may have similar problems? We can produce the renewable electric power but storage may be difficult. Batteries fail in so many ways. I have used them in the Peace Corps to run a school and clinic in the tropics. What a nightmare. The lead acid batteries were always failing. Problems like corrosion, overheating from charging and cracking of plastic packaging plagued our attempts to keep refrigerators powered. The fridges held all the vaccines. Power grids in developing countries are unreliable. Batteries were an expensive solution. An electric car may face similar problems when a large number of batteries are stored near the passenger area? Cars are known to overheat both in engine areas and passenger areas. Many wind power proponents would like to cycle (charge/discharge0 car batteries daily to balance the load on the power grid. This may be an expensive option. Cycling batteries wears them out. How will car owners feel about wearing out their batteries? http://www.todaysengineer.org/2007/Oct/PHEV.asp
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