Science News in Brief: Top-of-the-range Danish-designed electric car on the horizon

January 11th, 2018

This article is more than 6 years old.

In other stories, gut bacteria and asthma are connected, some Greenlanders may have obesity gene, Denmark tops wind power league and minister wants more research on microplastics

A new luxury electric car that can go 640 km without recharging, has a top speed of 257 km per hour, and can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds – that is the tantalising prospect when a project from entrepreneur and designer Henrik Fisker comes to fruition.

READ ALSO: Danish auto innovator has Tesla in his sights

Although he is a US citizen, Fisker was born in Denmark and has been a chief designer for BMW and Aston Martin, reports Ingineøren. His company is based in Los Angeles.

Miracle battery
The project has been designed around the battery, which he says will at some point “be chargeable in one minute”.

The solid-state battery that the car requires is only expected to be ready by 2020. This type of battery can contain 2.5 times the amount of energy of a lithium ion battery and can be charged up very quickly. The car firm has set up a subsidiary that has patented the battery technology that ultimately can also be used in telephones and portable computers.

The snag for most people might be the price-tag. The estimated cost of the EMotion is 811,000 kroner – which is double the price of a Tesla S.

Fewer electric cars in Denmark
Back in January 2016, Denmark introduced a registration tax on electric cars – which had hitherto been free – and sales plummeted. Sales reached a peak in the pre-registration days of 2015 with 4,329 cars registered, which was around 2 percent of all new cars sold that year.

Despite a new government deal to lower registration tax, there were only 698 sales in 2017, although the final figures are not yet known.

Gut bacteria development connected with asthma risk
New Danish research from the Dansk BørneAstma Center shows that the development of bacteria in a child’s gut during the first year can have an enormous influence on whether they develop asthma later in life, reports Videnskab.dk. “Among those predisposed to the disease by having an asthmatic mother, a healthy development of the gut microbiota [the microbes in the intestine] can protect the child,” said doctor and senior researcher Jakob Stokholm. “If the gut microbiota does not develop as it should, then the risk of contracting the disease is massively increased.” The doctors found that a whopping 87 percent of subjects with asthmatic mothers and underdeveloped gut microbiota had developed asthma by the time they were five. Out of the 20 most common gut bacteria, the researchers found that seven of them were usually missing among children who developed the disease.

Obesity gene discovered in some Greenlanders
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, Greenland University and the Steno Diabetes Centre have discovered a specific gene, which if not active predisposes some Greenlanders to obesity and diabetes. The researchers looked at the genes of 5,000 Greenlanders – which is about 9 percent of the population. The specific gene was inactive among 4.4 percent of those examined. On average, the subjects’ weight was increased by 2 kilos, their waist measurement by 2 cm and their BMI by 1 unit relative to the rest of the population. Forty-three percent of the people with the inactive gene had diabetes – compared to 7 percent of the population without the gene.

World-record breaking year for Danish wind power
For the ninth time in ten years, Danish wind turbines have set a record. In 2017, 43.4 percent of Denmark’s electricity consumption was covered by wind power – up from 42 percent in 2015. Denmark is streets ahead of the competition. Figures from the International Energy Agency for 2016 show that Portugal was number two with 24 percent, followed by Ireland and Spain. Denmark’s lead could increase further over the next few years as new offshore wind turbine parks come on stream at Horns Reef 3 off Esbjerg, Kriegers Flak in the Baltic and two parks off Ringkøbing and Harboøre.

More knowledge about microplastics, please
As a result of a new report, the Danish minister for food and the environment, Esben Lunde Larsen feels that the available information about microplastics and their environmental effects is inadequate to make informed decisions. “Lack of information leads to fear and speculation,” he said. In line with previous investigations, the report also indicates that Danish water filtration plants are already able to collect most of the microplastics in wastewater before it is pumped out into the system again.


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