Volume 2 Issue 6, June 2017

Volume 2 Issue 6

Time to change charging habits

When electric vehicles are charged has a significant impact on their carbon footprint, but electric vehicle charging is a repetitive behavior that can be difficult to change. Nicolson et al. find that people are more likely to engage with time-of-use energy tariff information in a tailored email emphasizing reductions in home-charging costs within the first three months of electric vehicle purchase, before habits are formed.

See Nicolson et al. 2, 17073 (2017) and News & Views by Deborah Roy, article 17077.

Cover design: Alex Wing.


  • Editorial |

    It is easy to conflate what is known based on the scientific literature and what feels known because it is intuitive. However, empirical validation and precision are particularly critical for policy-relevant behavioural research, regardless of whether the results are surprising.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    Technological innovation, often induced by national and subnational policies, can be a key driver of global climate and energy policy ambition and action. A better understanding of the technology–politics feedback link can help to further increase ambitions.

    • Tobias S. Schmidt
    •  & Sebastian Sewerin

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The presence of polysulfides in Li–S batteries significantly affects battery operation, but their presence and reaction mechanisms are not well understood. Now, an operando X-ray diffraction approach is used to directly observe these polysulfides, offering insights on their formation and evolution.

    • Patrik Johansson
  • News & Views |

    The environmental impact of electric vehicles depends on the kind of energy used to charge them. They are typically charged at peak times, when extra fossil fuels are needed to meet energy demands. A study shows that e-mails targeting electric vehicle charging for new owners can be effective for promoting greener charging behaviours.

    • Deborah Roy
  • News & Views |

    As storage technology progresses it offers a range of solutions and services to users and the electricity industry. A new study explores whether or not this will eventually lead to self-sufficient consumers and spell the end of the networks as we know them.

    • Tooraj Jamasb
  • News & Views |

    Methane is an abundant energy source that is used for power generation in thermal power plants via combustion, but direct conversion to electricity in fuel cells remains challenging. Now, a microbial fuel cell is demonstrated to efficiently convert methane directly to current by careful selection of a consortium of microorganisms.

    • Zhiyong Jason Ren


  • Article |

    Nanostructured black silicon can be used as a photoelectrode for solar-driven water splitting, but its high surface area can increase charge recombination and accelerate corrosion. Here the authors show that a thin, conformal film of TiO2 can increase both the photocurrent and the stability of black silicon.

    • Yanhao Yu
    • , Zheng Zhang
    • , Xin Yin
    • , Alexander Kvit
    • , Qingliang Liao
    • , Zhuo Kang
    • , Xiaoqin Yan
    • , Yue Zhang
    •  & Xudong Wang
  • Article |

    The conversion efficiency of organic solar cells suffers from their low open-circuit voltages. Here, the authors expose a link between electron-vibrations coupling and non-radiative recombinations, derive a new limit for the efficiency of organic solar cells, and redefine their optimal optical gap.

    • Johannes Benduhn
    • , Kristofer Tvingstedt
    • , Fortunato Piersimoni
    • , Sascha Ullbrich
    • , Yeli Fan
    • , Manuel Tropiano
    • , Kathryn A. McGarry
    • , Olaf Zeika
    • , Moritz K. Riede
    • , Christopher J. Douglas
    • , Stephen Barlow
    • , Seth R. Marder
    • , Dieter Neher
    • , Donato Spoltore
    •  & Koen Vandewal
  • Article |

    The presence of polysulfides in Li–S batteries is highly relevant to the battery performance, but their formation and evolution during battery operation are not well understood. Here the authors design an operando X-ray diffraction experiment to reveal their reaction mechanisms.

    • Joanna Conder
    • , Renaud Bouchet
    • , Sigita Trabesinger
    • , Cyril Marino
    • , Lorenz Gubler
    •  & Claire Villevieille
  • Article |

    Development of electrocatalysts with high stability and activity is a critical challenge. Here, the authors combine simulations with in situ experiments to identify principles underlying simultaneously enhanced stability and activity of ultrathin (hydroxy)oxide films on transition metal substrates.

    • Zhenhua Zeng
    • , Kee-Chul Chang
    • , Joseph Kubal
    • , Nenad M. Markovic
    •  & Jeffrey Greeley
  • Article |

    Electric vehicles are only as green as the electricity used to charge them, but owners tend to charge vehicles at times of peak use. This study shows that tailored emails increase engagement with information about time-of-use tariffs, with maximal effects within the first three months of ownership.

    • Moira Nicolson
    • , Gesche M. Huebner
    • , David Shipworth
    •  & Simon Elam

Amendments & Corrections