- Hybrids, Electric & Alternate Energy Vehicles
The buzz behind - Electric cars
An electric car, an automobile that are propelled by an electric motor runs purely on stored battery power. It should not be mistaken with hybrid cars, which use electric and fossil fuel to propel the car. Over the past few years it has come obvious to, manufacturers and consumer that electric cars are the way forward.
The main limiting factors currently are the millage on a full recharge, the to speed of the vehicles and the shear weight of the batteries and their life expectancy and ultimate cost of replacement.
Currently theses issue are being polished out with new generations of batteries being developed which run longer, are lighter and charge much faster. There also cars that also use solar power to continuously charge the car as it moves and energy saving techniques like saving the kinetic energy of the car and using it to charge the batteries.
History of electric cars
Electric cars have been around almost as long as fossil fuel cars. The electric cars began gaining popularity in the early 1890s when electricity, became popular with the first cars being developed in Germany. With combustion technology developing at and the easy availability of fossil fuels and the poor battery lives of the car battery and poor availability of electricity, electric cars literally died out, until recently.
The German Flocken Elektrowagen produced in 1888, regarded as the first electric car of the world, with later models being produced
- Environmentally friendly. Exhaust fumes and pollutants, But one may argue power plant producing the electricity may emit them.
- Performance benefits. Electric cars are quiet, offer smooth driving and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance.
- Efficiency; Electric vehicles convert about 60% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional fossil fuel cars only convert about 20% of the energy stored in fossil fuel to power at the wheels.(This estimate is on a relatively new cars, it reduces with time and poor maintenance)
- Reduce energy dependence. Electricity is a domestic energy source in a clean green way (Solar,hydro to name just a few), which all countries can produce, reducing reliance on the few oil producing nations
Current limiting factors
- First and foremost is the price of the cars. Most cars are in the $30 - 40,000 range which is well above the normal fuel guzzlers range for similar sized cars. The better looking cars usually have super-car prices
- Battery life, most requiring full battery change every 3 to four years on average
- Charge time; some charge times are as long as 12 hours!!!, but the average being 6-8 hrs from full discharge. Newer models claim low charge times of 40 minutes, (High end models.)
- Charge ports. This will limit your travel destinations and how far you can go and where you can go, but most urban cities now have ports.
- Range per full charge, ranges form 35 miles to 250miles on a fully charged battery.
- Top speeds, ranging from 35mph - 130mph, but the higher the top speed the higher the price
Other factors that have limited the cars is the general look of the cars, with most being small and compact, which most people don-not find attractive. People want to be environmentally friendly but with style.
The electric car business is growing with companies such as Tesla making high-end cars such as the Model S, which will set you back a good buck, with approximately 200 miles to a full charge, and a charge time of about 40 minutes. (There is a supercharger that can half the charging time) The superchargers are solar powered and currently there are 17 stations in the United States . It also offers the option to change the battery within 30 seconds.
Other notables are the BMW i3 which has the shortest charge time of 30 minutes and the 2013 Nissan Leaf. The lower end cars have a short range on a full charge and generally take longer to charger some as long as 7 hours to charge with disappointing ranges of about 70 miles to the charge.
The global economic recession in the late 2000s led to increased calls for automakers to abandon fuel-inefficient car, which were seen as a symbol of the excess that caused the recession, in favor of small cars, and electric cars, the future of these cars seems very good.
The world also becoming more "Green" and environmentally aware and there is a yearning for a more efficient cleaner way of moving around.
Would you buy an electric car
There are still many alternatives currently available and in developments. These include natural fuels, bio-fuels and hydrogen power being alternatives currently coming up and will compete with their environmentally friendly electric cars.