You know that something is a fad when A) it’s bubbling on the stock market or when B) snake-oil salesmen tout the newest revolution, and regular folks actually start believing them.We’re not quite there yet with “A)”, but check out what I call an exhibit for “B)”.
Tonight, a yellow, electrified Audi A2 will start a trip from Munich to Berlin: 600 kilometers (370+ miles). And here’s the banger: it won’t stop to re-charge, re-fuel, or re-gurgitate. Upon reaching Berlin tomorrow morning, German Federal Minister of the Economy Rainer Brüderle will meet the car and the press, for a photo op. If the journey is completed, it will break the world record for the longest EV trip on a single charge. Autobild reports that the German automakers are anxious to learn more about this amazing achievement in meetings after the political press conference… at least, as long as the stunt actually takes place.
Who’s behind all this? The main organizer is “lekker Energie”, a newish electric utility in Berlin. (Lekker, depending on whether you’re Dutch or German, means either “good” or “tasty”, or something else). They claim the car will be using a completely new battery technology that will solve all the range problems we associate with EVs.
Who makes the batteries? “A Berlin-based energy-storage systems company that is supported by the Federal Ministry of…” (you guessed it). They started converting the Audi six weeks ago, which means they are not only geniuses, but also mighty fast. The Lekker boys say the installed battery has an exceptional capacity of 115kWh. I say all this sounds fishy.
There is nothing new under the sun. You can expect battery capacity-per-weight-unit to expand by around 10% per decade, by incremental improvement. Maybe more. Don’t put your money or stake your rep on anything supposedly revolutionary. There is no way a small four-seater electric can do 600 KM non-stop with one set of batteries (with a $500k fuel cell system: yes, but that’s something else).
I won’t do a Werner Herzog, but I will donate €100 to a charity of TTAC’s choice if I’m wrong. Deal? We’ll keep you posted.