Yes, supercapacitors might be the key to electronic vehicles that’s true. They are used now in different capacities as backup power for different electronic equipment and in some industrial uses as backup to distribution equipment. I think a company pursuing this should also consider the products and work done by American Superconductor in Massachussetts (NYSE: AMSC). Superconducting wire paired up with a electric motors wound with the same wire and a bank of Supercapacitors could potentially be a killer app of these combined technologies. Doesn’t matter what the power source is (Fuel Cell vs. plug-in), but the whole drive train could be electric and be high performance as well.
A couple years ago Tesla CEO Elon Musk offhandedly said that he thought it could be capacitors — rather than batteries — that might be the energy storage tech to deliver an important breakthrough for electric transportation. Tesla cars, of course, use lithium ion batteries for storing energy and providing power for their vehicles, but Musk is an engineer by nature, and he likes what ultracaps offer for electric cars: short bursts of high energy and very long lasting life cycles.
Capacitors are energy storage device like batteries, but they store energy in an electric field, instead of through a chemical reaction the way a battery does. A basic capacitor consists of two metal plates, or conductors, separated by an insulator, such as air or a film made of plastic, or ceramic. During charging, electrons accumulate on one conductor, and depart from the other.
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