In terms of price terms, the metal palladium has become one of the fastest rating commodities in the market. This may be for just the short term, as the technological advances in electric vehicles are now increasing at astronomical rates. The limitations of the metal has made many design manufacturers turn to other metals such as lithium.
Aside from the technology, the greater push towards environmental awareness and responsibility both in the private and public sector has fueled a green revolution. This has made more “green” or “alternative” options for transport from the petroleum based machines to clean electric motors. The hybrid, one of the marriages of the current technology is one example of how the awareness has created a niche despite the current trends.
The technology of electric cars still is in its toddler stage, with concerns about range, performance, and cost still hindering the car from going fully mainstream and drive the internal combustion engine to extinction. Despite this, many governments are providing incentives to individual consumers and infrastructure developers to push the market to even greater heights.
One such country is leading the incentives laden bandwagon. China is now actively looking for a service provider to supply ten million specialist parking spaces for electric vehicles in the country by the end of the decade. Aside from the space, battery charging stations need to come with the parking space. With the current level technology, distance between charging stations is of optimum importance because the country is scheduled to roll out as much as fifty million units per year once the whole infrastructure is in place at the current level of technology.
Big automakers such as Nissan, Toyota and Chevrolet have unveiled their versions of the electric car. The Prius from Toyota is a hybrid, where the electric vehicle is coupled with an internal combustion engine for long drives, thus obviating the range issues with the technology. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt though are fully electric cars and internal features such as regenerative electric braking systems assist in repowering the battery. All in all, as the technology progresses, the range also increases.
One aspect of electric vehicle technology that is now being phased out is the use of palladium. The metal is used as an autocatalyst, important to power the units. Now, the technology requires a lighter and longer lasting metal to hold the electric charge for greater range and reliability thus lithium ion has become the autocatalyst of choice. It may be the fossil fuels problem all over again, but this time for lithium.
Hopefully, cycles don’t occur and finding renewable options, such as solar or fuel cell can become the true catalyst for the electric vehicle’s future.