We turned on the new lights at the cafe this morning, beaming a gloriously bright light at the sleepy hour of 6 am when it still feels like 5 am, dark, cloudy. I hope that when people drive by and see those big lights on they will notice the cafe and then decide to stop by. That’s the plan, anyway.
Today I read in the WSJ about an unlikely partnership: Exxon Mobil and electric cars. Everyone is crazy about them but the problem that nobody has solved yet is battery life. It’s the holy grail of 2008, trying to get decent life out of either nickel metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries. This week’s exciting news is that they’ve developed a film, a plastic separator that improves battery life and lessons the chance that the device will blow up. It’s the tears in the membrane that seem to cause the most problems…when the chemical reaction that makes the battery work heats up the battery too much, then, kablooey.
So when somebody finds out how to control this heat, by using more porous materials that reduce the possibility for a temperature malfunction, this will be a billion dollar payday. Exxon is chasing this business big time, as noted by their presentation at an electric vehicle show in Anaheim CA in December. “The irony was certainly not lost on us,” says Catherine Scrimgeour, who ran a booth for an electric car manufacturer called Zenn Motor Co.