Don Hillebrand understands electric vehicles and their benefits and limitations. As the director of the Center for Transportation Research at the Argonne National Laboratory, he has done plenty of testing on all kinds of alternative drive vehicles. Speaking to the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress on Wednesday, Hillebrand acknowledged that despite advances in lithium ion technology, battery electric vehicles still have not evolved far enough to capture a significant share of the mainstream market.
As usual, the two primary culprits are range and cost. The continued limited range of full-function battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in real-world conditions means range anxiety is still a big concern for drivers. While battery swapping and fast charging could both potentially address these limitations, neither option is ready quite yet. No infrastructure exists today for 400-volt fast charging, for example, even though some automakers are beginning to push for it. And, aside from some limited support from Nissan-Renault for Better Place's battery swap system, no other automaker has committed to the technology yet. The lack of standardized battery pack formats will continue to make swapping impractical for many years to come.

Overall, Hillebrand doesn't expect BEVs to see widespread commercial adoption until well into the next decade. Instead, Hillebrand believes that plug-in hybrids will be the best solution for the foreseeable future.

[Source: Automotive Engineering]

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