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Electric Vehicle Growth May Mirror Mobile Phone Market Growth

It is not surprising how the electric vehicle growth story mirrors mobile phone growth but about 30 years later.

May 07, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — It is not surprising how the electric vehicle growth story mirrors mobile phone growth but about 30 years later. It was in 1973, when Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher made the first analog phone call using a heavy prototype device. Then came the first generation of mobile cell sites, with ability to transfer calls from one site to next in 1979.

It was in 1981 when 1G network was launched by Nordic Mobile Telephone and then in 1984, Bell Labs launched commercial cellular technology which employed multiple centrally located cell sites each providing service to a small area. It was in 1990 the second generation 2G mobile phone emerged using GSM standard. Although 2G digital technology was sufficient to grow mobile phone market, it was the talk time due to battery limitation that stopped the growth of this emerging market.

It was not until 1996 where Nickel Metal Hydride and then Lithium batteries were introduced in cell phones reducing their size while increasing the talk time that exploded the market into triple digit growth. The market grew from 11 million handsets to 91 million overnight and now at 5.4 billion in short 10 years. Although historians may argue that the exponential growth was result of improved networks, infrastructure and software development, yet from consumer standpoint it was the talk time and reduction in charge time that made cell phones a practical device. It was the high rate of adoption by consumers that resulted in investment into infrastructure, software and digital technology.

Similar is the story of Electric vehicles, although 30 years later. In electric vehicle history, it was in 1992 when 400 electric delivery vans to subsidiary of Frito Lay in Mexico (a single largest deployment of electric vans in single location) yet it was the lack of battery technology that did not allow exponential growth anticipated. During the past decade lot has been done in terms of development of motor, transistor, charger technologies to set the stage for this predicted growth in next five years. Today with three times more battery energy than five years ago, and with newer generation of batteries (Lithium Sulfur, Thionyl Chloride, Lithium Air) on the horizon which will triple the range in next 2-3 years, is what leads us to the question “Will EV market growth match growth rates of Mobile Phones?”.

One such example of improved battery technology stands out in the heavy duty truck industry. In 2007, Balqon Corporation introduced the World’s first Class 8, 30 ton capacity electric truck with lead acid batteries. The initial range of the vehicle was less than five hours towing heavy loads at Port of Los Angeles. It was two years later, newer models showcased lithium batteries increasing the range of the vehicle to 8 hours of operation on a single charge. In 2011, Balqon Corporation unveiled next generation truck with newer higher energy density lithium batteries doubling the range again to 16 hours of operation, making the product much more viable for commercial applications. These developments in battery powered truck for heavy duty applications has resulted in DOE soliciting proposals for all electric drayage trucks for Port applications.

In four short years, zero emission heavy duty truck are now considered to be a viable technology and poised to gain market share in the near future. Balqon Corporation continues its pioneering work in this heavy duty niche with release of new 150 mile range battery powered truck MX30 being showcased at EVS26 show held at Los Angeles Convention Center from May 6th to 9th. Balqon MX30 is setting the stage for Zero Emission Cargo Transport as viable zero emission alternative to diesel powered Class 8 trucks that dominate cargo transport industry. While the world awaits battery technology to develop, one company is betting on the technology being just around the corner.



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