Top 6 EV Innovations Underway in 2022 That Will Astound You
Please understand that this is not about faster charging. We're talking about flying taxis, cars that never run out of juice, and self-driving cars.
The simple concept of going from point A to point B is being reimagined in various ways in the age of electric vehicles (EVs). Each battery-powered innovation demonstrates a completely new mode of transportation, some of which we never imagined conceivable before. Electric jetpacks, solar automobiles, electric trucks, and even electric boards like Segways are current and recent examples. And if you knew anything about what's going on in the automobile business, you'd know that these EV advances aren't going away anytime soon.
Do you require examples? What about flying cabs? Or how about a solar-powered car that can charge for half a year in one go? Yes, these seem like far-fetched and mind-boggling possibilities right now, but so were airplanes until the Wright Brothers proved everyone wrong. With the automobile sector at its pinnacle, we now have an army of such brains rethinking mobility in every way conceivable in order to bring the most feasible and sustainable answer to the forefront.
And, believe it or not, they are making progress.
Unfortunately, these developments have received little attention. The other day, I Googled "EV innovations 2022" to see what was new in the realm of electric vehicles. The majority of the articles discussed scientific advancements in battery technology, such as increasing their capacity (and range), making them charge faster, or making them safer in automobiles. While a battery is one of the most important components of an EV, these articles simply ignored any improvements in the "vehicle" aspect of EVs.
That, right there, is the issue with today's coverage of the umbrella term "EV." Almost everyone is attempting to limit the phrase to battery-powered scooters, vehicles, trucks, or any other type of vehicle that they are familiar with. In reality, once you decide to utilize a battery to power a motor, the vehicle can be created in any shape or form to accommodate it. Electric planes, helicopters, vehicles, trucks, buses, bikes, skateboards, skates, boats, submarines, and even opulent yachts are examples.
It is remarkable to observe how a simple knowledge of this fact opens up so many new methods to reimagine mobility. Here are some of the mind-blowing EV advancements which are in development as you read.
Yes, a flying taxi. No, it's not your typical white (or black and yellow) automobile. Flying taxis are the next high-end mobility project being developed by reputable companies such as Uber, Audi, Airbus, Italdesign, Boeing, and Bell Helicopters. The goal is to create an aerial node-to-node network for city travelers. Similar to airports, although on a smaller scale.
That's right, the concept arose from the one fact you learned earlier: electric vehicles can take any shape. So, for an altogether new purpose, a completely new type of vehicle – known as eVTOLs, short for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles – was developed. Several businesses are designing the vehicles, with some already conducting flying demonstrations and tests.
Uber's whitepaper lays out the complete strategy. Uber Elevate, the company's flying taxi plans, guarantee a travel from Gurugram to Connaught Place in under 6 minutes. It even claims that the eVTOLs will be cheaper in the long run than Uber's on-road automobiles. That is something we would like to see around us as soon as possible.
A Solar Car that never runs out of charge
In 2018, I stumbled across Lightyear, a two-year-old electric vehicle startup. At the time, the business was working on its first prototype, an electric vehicle with solar cells placed in its roof. The goal was to create a one-of-a-kind battery-powered EV that could be charged solely by the sun's rays.
In 2022, the same car is for sale for a jaw-dropping 255,000 Euros or slightly more than Rs 2 crore. Lightyear 0 is the name of the EV. It can be charged, indeed, like a typical plug-in electric car, to get an astonishing 520 km of range in an hour of charging. Its WLTP range is 625 km, and the business claims that it can obtain an additional 70 km of range each day from the sunrays.
So, in principle, even if you use it every day, this is an EV that would never run out of battery charge. According to the business, it will eventually strive to push the technology to the point where the EV can charge its whole battery pack using solar energy.
One pedal cars
You read that correctly. Forget the driving ABCs of Accelerator, Brake, and Clutch. EVs have progressed to the point that they no longer require the other two-foot pedals and can easily run on a single pedal. A clutch, of course, has long been rendered obsolete by automatic transmissions in automobiles. Automakers have even combined the accelerator and brake pedals into a single pedal.
It works in a straightforward manner. To accelerate, you press the pedal, and to brake, you lift your foot from it. It should be noted that this braking is not accomplished using the typical brakes found on vehicles. Instead, leaving the pedal activates regenerative braking in the EV, which converts the car's kinetic energy back into electricity and stores it in the battery. As a result, you have a greater range.
Such EVs often have a standard brake for emergency braking. Though, for the most part, a single pedal is sufficient to accelerate and decelerate. Surprisingly, one-pedal automobiles have been on the market for a long time, and the concept is still gaining traction around the world.
What's better than an automobile that only has one pedal? A completely self-driving automobile. We all know that self-driving cars are being developed, and looking at Tesla Autopilot and other such autonomous systems, it is simple to see that the dream will soon become a reality. What remains is to imagine all the different applications for this.
The majority of recent electric car ideas include self-driving technology. To maximize their utility, these vehicles have rotatable seats within the vehicle, allowing the occupants to simply swivel around and face each other. The automobile drives itself to the destination as they talk and spend precious time together. Of course, there is still time before we see a fully autonomous (Level 5) or just driverless automobile on the road legally.
Elon Musk drew his long-term ambitions for Tesla at the start of the company's journey. The designs, dubbed the Part Deux vision, envision a future network of Teslas acting as robotaxis. He wanted the EVs to participate in a ride-sharing scheme that transports customers from point A to point B once the autonomous technology on the cars is powerful enough.
According to Musk's initial vision, this would occur when the EVs are idle and the owner is not using them. Robotaxis will transport customers during their downtime while simultaneously earning money for the owner. Of course, there are a few details to work out, but it's simple to see how the concept makes sense once completely driverless cars are in use.
Musk has hinted to a specific class of vehicles for this cause in April of this year. These vehicles would be driven entirely by Tesla's Autopilot system, with no steering wheel or pedals for any driver. For the time being, the cars are projected to be produced in 2024, yet we are all familiar with Tesla and its overly optimistic schedules.
Vehicle to grid charging
With the increased usage of electric vehicles, the power infrastructure is being put under unprecedented strain merely to keep their batteries charged and working. Some have proposed a pretty unusual solution to the problem – reverse charging from the electric vehicle to the grid. This means that instead of drawing power from a single source, such EVs with bi-directional charging can be plugged in to supply power to the grid.
Before you dismiss the concept, keep in mind that vehicle-to-grid charging is already in practice in some areas and serves a crucial purpose. During peak load, it can offer much-needed electricity to a region. That is, when residences and other grid infrastructure require the greatest electricity, EVs can help by supplying it through their batteries.
To encourage the practice, companies where the notion is being implemented offer incentives to EV owners who charge the grid with their vehicles. This eliminates the cost of charging the EV afterwards. However, many automakers are sceptical about the concept, believing that end-users prefer batteries with high capacity and rapid charging capabilities.
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