Climate Change and Future of Electric Vehicles

Cybertruck by Tesla

Climate Change

Climate change, a global emergency that threatens to upend the global economic stability and change our way of life. As climate change breathes down the world’s neck, countries have quickly started transitioning to greener energy.

However, as quickly as EVs are becoming prevalent, the rate of improvement of $/KWh of batteries is not fast enough to make EVs as accessible as gas cars to the general public. So, that begs the question, what can be done to make EVs just as accessible as gas cars? The answer lies in refining the heart of EV, battery technology.

Battery Technology

The age-old battery technology, called lithium-ion batteries, have been used in almost everything. From electric toothbrushes to mobile phones, lithium-ion batteries dominate the technology scene, including in EVs.

However, along with lithium-ion batteries, there has been ongoing research into hydrogen fuel cells to cleanly power vehicles. While hydrogen fuel cells promise cleaner fuel to power vehicles, it has its’ critics. Elon famously called hydrogen fuel cells as “fool cells” and “mind-boggingly stupid” to use them as power source for vehicles. Critics have often pointed at the process of production, compression and conversion of hydrogen into electricity being highly inefficient.

Speaking to Jeff Dahnwho is a professor in the Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science of Dalhousie and is on the NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chairhe said that “In a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, 35% of the energy that the solar cell produced or the windmill produced is actually used to drive the car forward.” Further saying that “you would need to build 3 times as many windmills or solar farms compared to powering vehicles with lithium-ion systems”. While, lithium-ion batteries from “solar to charging the batteries is about 95% efficient”.

With increased focus on EVs’ range, further research is being done in refining the lithium-ion batteries. But some companies have refined the battery to charge faster, while others have focused on the number of miles. When asked about the emphasis on superfast charging, Jeff called it “sort of nuts” and, he’s right. With Tesla superchargers spread out across the US and Canada, coupled with EV ranges from 500 km – 600+ km, the issue of superfast charging is practically non-existent.

Refining Battery Technology

Then, what truly is the next step in refining the heart of EV? For Tesla, it is using silicon anode and nickel cathode for the batteries. But for other automotive companies, the answer lies in the next generation of batteries, solid state batteries. Several companies, ranging from Toyota to Honda, have begun investing in and developing solid state batteries.

So, what’s different between solid state and lithium-ion batteries? Solid state batteries show a promise of being safer with a longer lifetime. They also can have a larger energy density than lithium-ion batteries, which makes them attractive for long-range EVs. However, that comes with a big asterisk. As Jeff put it, “solid state batteries are going to be great if they can be made at an acceptable cost … so that you can build a car that people can afford”.

Lithium-ion batteries on the other hand, can be cheaply made because they are being manufactured on a huge scale which leads to cost reductions. Solid state batteries are only just being researched and developed and as such, are incredibly more expensive than lithium-ion batteries.

With time, EVs will be made just as accessible as gas cars through refinements of battery technology. By ultimately bringing the cost of the batteries down of the batteries through improvements, the price of an EV decreases, making EVs more accessible to the general public.

Perilous Process of Childbirth in Microgravity

Infant in an astronaut suit

“All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct” – Carl Sagan captured the interest and imagination of millions of people throughout the world and throughout time. His influence still rings today as countries and aerospace companies around the world race into the dawn of the second space race.

The opening golden gate of this space age reminds us, that there is still much to be done as humanity takes its first steps into becoming a spacefaring civilization. One of the biggest mysteries of microgravity is, what happens when a child is born in space or on another planet? How would we ensure a smooth process of childbirth in microgravity?

Childbirth and Gravity

Previous research has indicated that microgravity negatively affects muscle and bone mass. The longer a person stays in space, the more muscle and bone mass they lose. These effects would be incredibly problematic for the female during child birth. A weak bone mass of the pelvis could potentially lead to a rupture which would be extremely fatal to the female and the infant. But that is merely overcoming one peril of many.

On Earth, the gravity aids in developing infant’s muscle mass and bone density. However, in microgravity, the force of the gravity is substantially weaker. Because of the weaker gravity, the infant’s muscle mass and bone density may not grow to the same extent as infants that were raised on Earth. This could potentially lead to infants which are far more weaker.

Ever wondered how babies develop their sense of balance and their spatial orientation? Or how you can coordinate your movements so effectively? The answer lies in your vestibular system. It is a sensory system which relays information to the brain about motion, head position and spatial orientation. It also aids in keeping our balance, stabilizing our overall movement and posture. During birth, the infant’s vestibular system is stimulated by gravity which helps to stabilize the infant’s spatial orientation and sense of overall movement, including balance. However, in microgravity, there is very little force to stimulate the vestibular system, therefore, potentially leading to a defective vestibular system in an infant.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the potential dangers in giving birth in space or even on other planets. We do not fully know of the dangers of humans giving birth beyond Earth. But that did not stop research from going where no human infant has gone before.

Experimentation

Several small animals and plants have been used in microgravity experiments to explain how microgravity affects reproduction. However, the results have proved to be a mixed bag of conclusions.

In a 2008 study by April E Ronca et al., concluded that rat pups who were exposed to microgravity developed abnormal vestibular system. Further work done on rats in space suggests that microgravity lowers the total amount of rat sperm counts as well as increasing the abnormalities. Additional studies done on crickets, nematodes, fruit flies and medaka fish showed that successful mating and reproduction in space can occur.

The answers to the basic biology questions of birth in space may go unanswered for many years as ethical questions swirl around it. Would it be okay to send a pregnant woman to space for science? Would it be okay for a woman to give birth in space? There are many hurdles to overcome but until we do, we will be forever stuck on the cradle of human civilization. Should we go out there wandering the cosmos, we will have to face the basic biology questions but the reward will be one small step for man, and a giant leap for mankind.

Futurist Foundation & Beyond

What is the Futurist Foundation?

The Futurist Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose and goals are to promote crowd-sourced, volunteer-based projects seeking to educate the public on the matters of futurism, support research, laws and ethics concerning future technology and its usage.

  • We will use technology to inspire and enhance global security, through promoting international cooperation of science, de-escalation of arms, and supporting research that betters mankind.
  • We aim to move technological progress forward by enhancing humanity’s  understanding of science, logic, and keeping an open mind. Such activity will also promote pragmatic sciences that will further open the path into the future.
  • We promote the inclusion of all people regardless of any individual trait, and aim to have a lifestyle where everyone will accept the use of technology to better all lives.
Transhumanism

Transhumanism is a movement and idea with the main goal to enhance our daily lives through the use of current, new and future technology. The movement aims to end suffering, disease and death by increasing our intellectual, physical and psychological potential. Research, education and new political systems will create sustainability and efficiency, and allow every human to live his/her life along his/her own dreams and beliefs. The movement aims to change humanity for the better, and create a society where we can live life without worries and suffering. The Futurist Foundation endorses this movement.

How do we get there?

With the help of you all! We need creativity, open-mindedness and a good portion of radicalism to think the unthinkable. Bring in your ideas and your opinions on how we can prepare and change humanity into a sustainable society. We have collected some ideas that need to be discussed. Will Liquid Democracy free humanity from the claws of corruption or will it ultimately destroy us as we depend on technology that might be incomplete? Does Basic Income improve or reduce technological progress? Will robotic automation and increased productivity lead to technological unemployment or will Jevon’s Paradox occur once more?

With your help we want to evaluate such ideas and create a possible plan we can aim for, rather than to let non transparent governments and organizations decide in secrecy on the future of us all. Once the group has worked out what is needed, the Futurist Foundation’s real work will start and as an organization we have to consider possibilities to implement the plans we worked out.

How can I support the Futurist Foundation?

Contribute. Sign up to our discord, post content within our website for the community to see. Tell your friends. Support projects that interest you. Doing any of these things helps.

Have inquiries? Contact us.