Goodbye to the Gas Engine?
Okay, "goodbye" may be premature, but then again...
An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised "technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries," meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.
By contrast, some plug-in hybrids on the horizon would require motorists to charge their cars in a wall outlet overnight and promise only 50 miles of gasoline-free commute. And the popular hybrids on the road today still depend heavily on fossil fuels.
"It's a paradigm shift," said Ian Clifford, chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co., which has licensed EEStor's invention. "The Achilles' heel to the electric car industry has been energy storage. By all rights, this would make internal combustion engines unnecessary."
So what's the trick? ZENN is replacing battery technology with ultracapacitor technology. This sounds great, but if they are truly able to do what they claim, it means they've mad an unprecedented leap forward in capacitor technology. We shall see.
Meanwhile, if you need that electric car now, you still have the option of the one powered by laptop batteries.