Better Batteries and Supercapacitors Will Speed the Electrification of Road Vehicles

The EV of 2028: quiet, safe, and efficient

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In 10 years, electric vehicles will become more energy efficient, and more important, they will begin to supplant fuel-burning cars, which will save even more energy.

Thomas Bradley, Zachary Asher, and David Trinko of Colorado State University ran some simulations for IEEE Spectrum. They found that if the 2028 EV’s batteries offer equal performance for half the weight of those in the 2018 Tesla 3, and if lightweight materials shave off another 500 kilograms, the car would get 12 percent more energy efficiency in the city and 18.5 percent more on the highway. But if the Ford F-150 pickup (today’s best-selling U.S. vehicle) were merely to become a plug-in hybrid while shedding 10 percent of its weight, then its fuel efficiency would triple, going from 20 miles per gallon equivalent to 90 mpge in the city and from 26 to 79 mpge on the highway.

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Illustration: Bryan Christie Design; Interactive: Michael Spector