While momentum continues on the prospect of battery-powered automobiles in the future, a new study indicates that they aren’t currently a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and cut oil use. Rather, utilizing hybrids and plug-in cars that can go short distances on electricity still receive a battery return—at least for now.
Battery technology breakthroughs, a more efficient electric power grid and higher oil costs would actually be needed to justify the expense, weight and assembly-related costs of “large battery pack” cars, according to the survey, as reported in Bloomberg on Sept. 26.
“It’s not that large battery packs are bad, it’s that they are not providing as many benefits per dollar,” Jeremy Michalek, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who led the review, said in an interview. “Ordinary hybrids increase fuel economy substantially, and the incremental cost of those systems is getting relatively small.”
That by no means that research on battery powered cars as an option is at a halt. Rather, it is a reality check that technology will need to be coupled with practicality and cost savings before it can become a realistic option into the future.
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