Modern Battery Vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf are truly excellent but what improvement can we envisage?
Well an improvement in Battery Technology will certainly improve the car but I suspect that is beyond the scope of anything us amateurs may aspire to.
Aeorodynamics are clearly a factor in the sharp drop in miles per KWh as speed increases. Probably not an amateur issue although I do recall from my glider flying days that applying insulating tape to all the seams made a measurable improvement in drag characteristic. Not much good for day to day but for economy runs it might pay to tape up all the seams. It would then be necessary to enter the car "Dukes of Hazard" style which I fear could be beyond my 58 year old capabilities. The Wheels would appear to be a neglected area, I suspect that a Plain disc would be an improvement on the mock alloy wheel trims which the manufacturer supplies.
One aspect that I think may bear fruit is that of thermal management. Batteries suffer Loss of capacity if too cold and may degrade if too hot. Motor generates heat in use which would be best removed. The cabin may be too cold for comfort and require warming or too warm and require cooling. An ideal thermal management system would have the ability to heat or cool the battery and similarly the cabin but only requires to cool the motor. Current technology uses raw battery power for heating and this is far less efficient than using a heat pump. Any saving of energy that can be made will improve the vehicle overall performance.
Any reduction in Weight will improve vehicle performance in various ways, simply from the energy required to accelerate the mass but also due to the reduction in tyre and bearing friction of a lower mass vehicle. The very best energy saving tyres may be a wise purchase for an electric car with the impact on range being more valued than the equivalent fuel saving in an ICE vehicle.
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Electric Seicento conversion, Leaf
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