That won’t sound like an ideal engineering perception that revolutionizes transportation in America. Nevertheless it could be the beginning of one thing.
Basic Motors has filed a patent software with an extremely easy concept, however one that’s illustrative of the way in which vehicles are altering.
It’s an EV with two plugs.
Lasers, Conveyor Belts, and Tear Gasoline: Automobile Corporations and Their Patents
First, a fast observe on patents: Automakers are a few of the most aggressive customers of America’s patent system. They routinely file for patents they might by no means use.
Tesla, not kidding you right here, holds a patent for a laser windshield cleansing system. Toyota holds a patent for an in-car perfume system that may additionally dispense tear fuel for self-defense. Ford holds a patent for a conveyer belt that brings gadgets from the trunk to the entrance seat.
Even firms that solely take into consideration constructing vehicles maintain patents for them. Google holds a patent for a hood sticky sufficient to immobilize a human being. It’s meant as a security machine – if you happen to hit a pedestrian together with your automotive, they’d keep on with the hood as a substitute of bouncing off and getting a second set of accidents from hitting the street. However think about washing it after a drive by way of Louisiana in bug season.
An concept doesn’t should be good to earn a patent. It simply needs to be novel. And carmakers routinely patent concepts they by no means execute.
GM’s Batteries are Already Two Batteries
GM’s new technology of electrical vehicles, just like the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, is constructed on a platform the automaker calls Ultium. Ultium is a single, skateboard-like unit of batteries, motors, and suspension that matches beneath a automotive’s cabin.
Engineers can scale it up or right down to construct automobiles as giant because the Chevy Silverado EV and as small as (in all probability even smaller than) the Chevy Blazer EV. The design will underlay a complete technology of GM automobiles. It’s profitable sufficient that even Honda plans to make use of it for its first devoted EV, the upcoming Honda Prologue.
The way in which GM scales the battery up for bigger automobiles is, primarily, to wire two of them collectively. The Hummer and Silverado each use a two-layer battery. So why not cost them individually?
Some electrical automobiles (EVs), resembling Tesla merchandise, use a 400-volt structure. Some, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, use an 800-volt setup. Electrical charging is sophisticated and never so simple as 800-volt batteries charging twice as quick as 400-volt batteries. However the 800-volt methods at present in the marketplace do cost sooner than 400-volt EVs.
What can be even sooner? Utilizing each.
GM’s patent would let customers cost your complete battery from one 800-volt port, your complete battery from one 400-volt port, or half of it from one in all every. The ports are bi-directional, so that they is also used to energy different EVs or gear within the subject.
Electrical Engineers Are the New Storage Tinkerers
The patent might by no means grow to be a working system. Many automaker patents by no means do. This may very well be simply one other drawing of a sticky hood.
Nevertheless it illustrates one thing new in regards to the automotive market.
Engineers discovered to tease as a lot efficiency as doable from the inner combustion engine by way of a century of tinkering and attempting wacky issues with fireplace.
A pair of charging cords (and a driver utilizing two charging stations without delay whereas vehicles line up for his or her flip) might not be the innovation that makes EVs simpler for Individuals to stay with day-to-day. However electrical engineers are the brand new inventive thinkers who will reshape what our vehicles price and do for us.