Feeds

Japan kicks off electric car format war

Prius-ray vs Dominant Volt Drive?

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Japanese motor globocorps jockeying for position in the electric car market of tomorrow will unite to present a worldwide standard for automotive Li-ion batteries and related technologies, according to reports. The alliance will include Toyota, Nissan and Matsushita, but Honda - which appears to favour hydrogen fuel cells over all-battery vehicles - has not been named in connexion with the project.

First reported in Japanese business daily Nikkei and picked up by Reuters, the plans will reportedly cover such matters as safety, testing and vehicle charging. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Japanese government are also said to be involved.

At present, most electric vehicles run on older battery technologies such as lead-acid. However, there are a few vehicles now available - such as the Tesla Roadster - which make use of the greater performance obtainable from Li-ion units like those which power laptops, mobile phones and other portable machines. Many in the motor trade believe that Li-ion cars could be the next big thing, and as with most new technologies those who are first to establish a dominant world standard can be expected to reap big benefits.

Reportedly the Japanese consortium intends to seek certification for their new standards package from the International Organization for Standardization, which could see US car manufacturers beaten to the punch on Li-ion. However, Reuters also reports that American motor behemoth GM - now working hard on a planned plug-in car, the "Volt" - is expected to unwrap a new partnership deal with US utility companies next week.

Meanwhile, others are betting against Li-ion altogether. Honda is now beta-testing its FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell cars in California. Admittedly, the fuel cell stacks in these vehicles are hybridised with a Li-ion battery to provide burst acceleration and hill-climbing, but the company has often seemed to prefer ultracapacitors in this role.

Alternatively, other companies believe in all-battery operation but consider that Li-ion has already had its day. One major drawback for Li-ion is that such vehicles take hours to charge up, ruling them out of heavy use and longhaul applications - and probably even for ordinary drivers who have no garage and so must park in the street.

An alternative is the new lithium-titanate technology, expected to be used in the all-electric Lightning supercar now being built in the UK. This will be powered by Nanosafe batteries from Altairnano of Nevada, and should be able to charge up from an industrial three-phase outlet in a matter of minutes - not too much slower than a petrol car at a pump. If this technology can perform as its makers say it can, today's Japanese Li-ion moves may come to seem no more than an irrelevance.

The Lightning will be on display to the press including The Reg at the British Motor Show tomorrow, so watch this space. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.