Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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nitrogen cooled superconducting electric car

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While not as convenient as a purely electric car, I wonder if the economics of an electric car powered by a superconducting motor would be workable.

Superconducting motors have coil winding with essentially no electrical resistance so is more efficient (thus more kilometres {not miles! Stick to SI units!}}. The only question is if the whole thing can be integrated cheaply, and reliably.

The other issue is that nitrogen is also harder to transport than electricity. But if it makes electric cars more efficient then the savings might be worth the extra research on superconductor motors and the refrigeration system infrastructure needed to support it.

mofosyne, Jun 16 2014


       The main problem with electric cars is not the motor; it is the battery. Ordinary non-superconducting motors are about 95% efficient in converting electricity into motion. Batteries, however, are (according the the web search I just did) only about 80% efficient in converting chemical energy into electricity. If that could be increased to 90%, then the range of the car automatically goes up by 1/8 (1/8 of 80% is 10%, and 80+10=90; an increase of 1/8 over some TOTAL "base amount" is 12.5%).   

       This is one of the reasons why I like flywheel energy storage over batteries --they use motor/generators that operate at about 95% efficiency, see? Obviously THAT could be improved by going to a superconducting system. Unfortunately, the total amount of energy that can be stored in any flywheel we can make, for practical purposes in a car, will be LESS than the energy we can store in existing chemical batteries (less range, therefore). So it goes.....
Vernon, Jun 16 2014

       5% is 5%... it would be good for a long trip: the LN2 is gonna heat up whether you're on the road or parked.
FlyingToaster, Jun 16 2014

       well, the venting vapor phase LN2 would be a great way of improving the efficiency of the air conditioning.
bs0u0155, Jun 16 2014

       Problem is that high temperature superconductors (i.e. that superconduct at the temperature of liquid nitrogen) are not suitable for, and stop working in, the large magnetic fields required in electric motors. The large magnetic field superconductors need liquid helium as the coolant.
xaviergisz, Jun 16 2014


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