There's no doubt there's a push in the U.S. toward trying to make electric vehicles one of the main components to what the nation's future mobility landscape will look like. But there's also questions on how quickly the American public will take to EVs. And in the meantime, there's still a lot of testing to be done.
To that end Chris Napier, a senior application development engineer in butyl polymer technology for ExxonMobil Chemical, delivered a plenary address during the recent ITEC In Focus Green Tire Conference, organized by Rubber & Plastics News. His speech topic was right on point with the conference's theme, presenting his company's findings on the "Effect of Tire Inflation Pressure on Electric Vehicle Performance."
But Napier also made a few side observations during his talk. First of all, he took note that the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where the conference was held, had six parking spots out front set aside for EV charing stations. As far as he could tell, though, nobody had made use of the stations during the two days he had been there.
After hearing this, I of course had to take a look for myself. When I checked, there was indeed a vehicle parked at one of the stations. Lo and behold, however, it wasn't even an electric vehicle, just a standard internal combustion engine car, where the driver apparently wanted a primo parking spot.
As for Napier's talk, he explained that there were some differences between this study and the ones ExxonMobil had done on standard ICE vehicles for years. For example, efficiency in an EV is measured by miles per kilowatt hour, rather than miles per gallon.
For the test, ExxonMobil chose a Chevrolet Bolt, largely because it was one of the few EVs touting a range of more than 200 miles per charge. He was quite surprised that some EVs only promised about 100 miles on a charge, and Napier said General Motors' promise of 240 miles for the Bolt was pretty accurate.
ExxonMobil had to overcome some obstacles in running the tests, even though EVs to this point still run on fairly standard tires. For the test, the materials firm chose one original equipment tire brand and two replacement brands. The listed rolling resistance was the same for all three tires used in the testing, he said.