Electric drives taking over vehicles, revolution is here

      Home » Science & Technology » Electric drives taking over vehicles, revolution is here

Electric drives taking over vehicles, revolution is here

Here's a facinating article on the future of vehicles. Much more on the site.


General Electric's 4,400-horsepower, diesel-electric GEVO-12 locomotive is powered by an enormous, diesel-fueled engine-driven generator; everything beyond is electric.

Komatsu's 930E a monster mining truck with 320-ton capacity is propelled by a 2-megawatt Detroit diesel-electric generator.

Everything else, right down to the 12-foot wheels, is driven electrically. Submarines have been largely all-electric for decades, and the surface ships now on the Navy's drawing boards are all-electric, from the propeller to the guns.

Thermomechanical engines are still the prime movers on all of these platforms, but what they move is electricity. An on-board generator powers an all-electric drivetrain; an electric motor drives the propeller or wheels.

Electric drives are taking over because an electrical bus can convey far more power in much smaller, lighter conduits, and do it far more precisely and reliably, than even the best designed mechanical drivetrain.

Indeed, on the key metrics of speed and power density, the electrical powertrain is about five orders of magnitude better. Electricity moves at close to the speed of light; all thermal and mechanical systems move at the speed of sound, or slower.

It takes 10,000 driveshafts in 10,000 redlining Pontiacs to convey about as much power (1 gigawatt) as a single power plant dispatches down a few dozen high-voltage cables. By a very wide margin, electricity is indeed the fastest and densest form of power that has been tamed for ubiquitous use.
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2005

Electric drives taking over vehicles, revolution is here | [Login ]
Powered by XMB
Privacy Policy