What the customer needs
There are c.1.5bn motorized vehicles on the world’s roads in 2016, with 2Bn predicted by 2035. 72m cars were produced globally in 2016 and this is predicted to rise to about 100m by 2035 and 125m by 2040, mainly due the increase in car ownership in developing nations such as China, India, Russia and Brasil (BRIC countries). For the average customer, pure electric vehicles (EVs) do not and cannot compete with conventional vehicles which cost half as much and have double the range. This is clearly evident by their market share of <1% four years after mass market introduction.)
Much attention is focussed on reducing battery costs and developing longer range pure electric vehicles (200 mile+). This partially solves the barrier of limited range but it does not solve the barriers of cost, charging infrastructure and reduced performance/ utility. Even assuming battery prices of $100/kWh by 2030, a 100kWh battery would add $10k to the vehicle’s cost and would weigh >500kg, reducing the vehicle’s utility. For reference, the energy density of state of the art lithium-ion batteries, at 100–250 Wh/kg, is x65 lower than for liquid fuels (gasoline 12.9kWh/kg).
To make electric vehicles cost-effective we have to understand "How much battery power do we really need?" and the answer is found in looking at how the vast majority of vehicles on the road are actually driven.
Fig 1. US National Transportation Survey – Average Daily Driving Distance
Fig 2. UK Average Daily Driving Distance and CO2 emissions
The two graphs above show that in the US and the UK, like most other countries in the world, the majority of car use is for relatively short distance urban driving, under 20 miles per day. It is in urban driving conditions that speeds are slow, engine efficiency is lowest and pollution from cars is highest. Therefore it makes most sense economically and environmentally to provide a battery just sufficient for average urban driving.
Fig 3. IEA xEV Cost estimates
The International Energy Agency forecasts 35m hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) global sales pa by 2025 and 75m by 2035 - CAGR 20% .
Fig 4. IEA forecast for xEVs
"The Libralato engine is an enabling technology for cost competitive plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; which use c.7kWh for 30km of low power urban driving (speed limited) – the global average daily driving distance – and a highly efficient, low emission, Libralato engine for high speeds and long distances. We call this approach “48V Town & Country Hybrid” – Urban (EV) / Highway (ICE) or “TC48 Hybrid”. Due to its size, weight and cost reductions, the Libralato engine makes space for and subsidizes the other plug-in hybrid (PHEV) components in standard engine bays. Therefore any car model could be produced as a PHEV, reducing fuel consumption by >70% and CO2 by >65% to 45g/km. The marginal cost of the PHEV system, at c.£1,000, would be repaid from the fuel savings in <2 years, without subsidy and without range anxiety. The Libralato engines enables a mass transition to affordable electrified vehicles; globally."
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