While BMW has not been one of the more vocal electric vehicle manufacturers of late, the company has certainly caused a stir with a comment today relating to EV journey capacity. The company believes that current journey capacity will double within five years, which would be a massive step towards the holy grail of 300 miles per full charge. However, this comment has caused a major stir within the industry with many doubting BMW's vision of the future while others suggesting it is not too far away.
Why speak out now?
It is perhaps ironic that the BMW i3 EV is due to launch soon therefore any publicity and promotion which BMW can attract will be very well received. The company seems to be backed by Ernst & Young partner Peter Fuss although despite backing the theory even he believes that BMW may be a couple of years ahead of the game.
One thing is certain, there is now renewed talk of increased journey capacity in the short to medium term and this is putting the EV industry in the headlines.
Current battery technology
The vast majority of EV battery packs at the moment are centred round lithium ion batteries and some experts believe this technology is limited. However, there is no doubt that battery technology is making great leaps and some experts believe new types of battery such as the lithium air batteries being developed by IBM could be the future.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The BMW i3 electric car will be showcased at the Frankfurt auto show in September with sales expected in 2014. In something of a rarity for the electric vehicle market, BMW is absolutely convinced this vehicle, and the forthcoming BMW i8, will be a game changer for the company and the industry."
There are certain limitations with regards to the current lithium ion battery technology and these have been well flagged across the motoring press. When you also bear in mind that the doomed EV1 actually had a similar, if not slightly better, journey capacity than the EV cars of today, battery technology has been fairly slow to develop. The U.S. government recently announced a program of investment in the battery technology industry with a promise to pour in hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. government funding.
If you mentioned EV's to a number of the general public just a few months ago the likelihood is that they would have heard of them but they would know very little in the way of detail. Over the last couple of months we have seen a massive increase in the number of articles and websites covering EV technology and it is certainly more talked about today than it ever has been. Perhaps the most encouraging element is the fact that much of this comment and discussion is erring on the side of positive as opposed to the negative stance of years gone by.
Public perception of the EV industry is a vital aspect going forward and if BMW is even broadly correct in its forecast that journey capacity will double within five years, this would be a major step forward.
For some reason a number of the big hitters in the EV manufacturing industry have rolled out their PR departments over the last few weeks. Tesla, BMW and an array of other companies such as General Motors are now seemingly more protective of the EV industry, especially against attacks of a political nature. It will be interesting to see how this battle involves and whether indeed bringing the public onto the side of EV industry is the ace up the industry’s sleeve?