Oh EV range, you old dog, you. Concerns about you just aren’t going away – in fact you continue to be one of the biggest consumer concerns against owning EVs. Manufacturers have tried to mitigate this in every way they can – bigger or more energy-dense batteries for more range at a time, faster charging batteries, faster charging stations… it’s all great stuff, but there’s an inevitable problem: you have to be able to get your EV to a charger.
So, what if we could eliminate that, too? What if it didn’t matter if you ran out of charge in the middle of the desert, or on top of a mountain, or in space?
OK… admittedly you might still be in trouble in those scenarios. But last month, charging EVs got a little bit easier in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose California, as these EV drivers no longer had to seek out those coveted EV charging parking spots …well, as long as they owned a Kia.
That’s because Kia America partnered with Currently mobile charging service to pilot an on-demand, concierge charging service in these three markets all month long to its electric vehicle owners.
To take advantage, Kia EV owners just had to download the Currently app, and at no cost, the service allowed drivers to set a time and location for a Currently technician to arrive and charge their vehicle up to three times every week for a two-month period.
Now don’t go downloading the app in anticipation of this service coming to a city near you just yet – that “no cost” part was only during that pilot month, and it’s fair to say that won’t always be the case. But Kia America says it might consider expanding the program to more cities around the country. But, who’s to say this will just be a Kia thing? With the right equipment, concierge charging is bound to become a fantastic opportunity for just about any automotive shop to become a trusted consumer partner in the EV world in the not-so-distant future.
Assuming you don’t yet have access to this kind of service, also on today’s agenda is a brilliant idea to help drastically mitigate the time it takes to charge, if it should catch on, of course: Swappable, EV solid-state batteries.
I can hear you screaming “WAIT A SECOND, EV BATTERIES ARE TOO BIG TO DO THAT, SWAPPABLE BATTERIES DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE DAVID.” Yes, in cars. But other vehicles – like Gogoro’s Smartscooter, for example, have much smaller, more compact batteries. And Gogoro just happens to have recently unveiled its prototype of a solid-state lithium ceramic battery for two-wheel battery swapping.
The company already has a solid marketplace reputation for its battery swapping technology, but in this prototype now we’re talking about a big advancement: swappable solid-state batteries. The company says solid-state lithium ceramic batteries are expected to replace traditional lithium-ion batteries and become the mainstream power source for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.
This is because solid-state batteries provide higher energy density and deliver greater range for electric vehicles, and Gogoro estimates that its solid-state batteries will increase the capacity of current lithium batteries by 140% or greater, from 1.7 kWh to 2.5 kWh.
With enough advancement in this space, heck, maybe we WILL see this technology in cars sooner than we expect.