Dr E. Goosey
Despite electric cars only just becoming popular, we are already seeing a movement to electrify other vehicles for commercial application. There are numerous projects and being undertaken to demonstrate the wider opportunities for battery propulsion. Current ideas and projects are presented here:
The use of battery operated vehicles in underground mining is beginning to take off. The benefits hailed by the use of electric vehicles include improved air quality for workers from zero emissions vehicles and tools, coupled with reduced air purification costs (ventilation and pumping fresh air in)
Trials are beginning through European Commission funded projects such as SIMS (http://www.simsmining.eu/)
BMW, TESLA and many other battery electric vehicles have invested in operations suited to boats. There are now options to power motor boats, sailing yachts and commercial marine like water taxis with batteries. The benefit of this is the reduction of pollution on the immediate environment, helping to keep busy waterways clean and minimise impacts on the local aquatic ecosystem, as well as minimising noise pollution. This market is expected to reach $20 Bn by 2027.
Further more the European Commission is providing grant funding to projects seeking to develop battery technology for large transport and cargo ships used in European waters. The current challenge is power and weight trade offs for these large vessels.
Many large manufacturers are interested in adapting their machines for battery propulsion. The benefits are seen to be great for the industry including reduced noise pollution (a major concern for the current Heathrow expansion discussion) as well as significant savings in pollution from the use of cleaner energy sources as well as reduced transportation times (e.g. air taxis and city hopping in a new travel ecosystem alleviating congestion and duration).
All and Utility Terrain Vehicles
Quad bikes and off road vehicles are now being powered by batteries. Their low mileage requirements and low speed requirements make them ideal candidates for electrification. A number of companies are already providing battery electric quad bikes and all terrain vehicles, boasting high torque power, improved energy efficiency and quieter operations suited for work near livestock.
In the UK the first trials of battery powered trains took place in 2015. Bombardier have also invested in 300 trains for regional and suburban rail which are expected to come to become operational next year. There are options to recharge the batteries from overhead lines, or at stations for non-electrified lines.
The benefits of these would be the reduced dependency on diesel locomotives, and improved city air concentrations and reduced noise pollution. In addition, operating with batteries can help alleviate the need to electrify or update some lines. In addition, the Transport Minister announced that diesel only trains should be phase out by 2040, making way for cleaner alternatives.