Talk what you will about global warming but whether you believe it or not, the appeal of all-electric cars is as high as ever. The ability to never visit the petrol front again and miss out on potential costly engine breakdowns are just two of the main reasons why electric cars have become increasingly desirable to British motorists. But to see why they’re so appealing, you have to dig deep and think outside the automotive comfort box.
The electric motor offers instant throttle response and instant torque at any speed, making for a more relaxing – though less involving – ride. The government is currently offering a £5,000 grant for electric cars and whatever your vehicle costs, you get a contribution towards that (provided it’s new).
There are currently several electric cars that may appeal to British motorists; The super-cheap Aixam Ecity and Reva G-Wiz are hugely popular, and the mid-range Renault Twizy is an attractive option. The problem is that these are all electric cars; motorists like the car as is, but will enjoy the emissions benefits free travel and Bristol Street Motors Northampton car service. Therefore, the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera gasoline generator are more in demand.
It’s not just consumers who are embracing electric technology. John E. Waters, developer of the first battery in General Motors’ first electric car, believes there is a place for electricity in motorsport:
“The experimental electric car has achieved a sustained speed of over 180 miles per hour, and set a world speed record above 300 mph,” Waters said in a press release. “Electric cars have inherent advantages in efficiency and torque over gasoline-powered vehicles. Energy storage to torque on EV platforms has efficiencies above 90 percent, compared to less than 35 percent for internal combustion engines. I’m sure battery powered race cars will appeal to racing fans in the near future.”
The Ampera is our favorite electric car right now; With a £5,000 government grant, the car generates £29,995 new from the front yard and the 16kwh electric motor makes 148 bhp and 273 lb/ft of torque. This car is unique in that a lithium-ion battery pack propels the car for 25 – 30 miles before a 1.4-liter petrol generator develops electricity to propel the car for a further 310 miles. This frees any range issues associated with electric cars as shown below.
The biggest problem facing electric cars today is range. Some electric car batteries when fully charged will drain their power source within just 100 miles. Of course, a car battery has a lot to deal with; it has to power the front wheels, handle all the electronics, handle all the safety equipment and as is often the case, turn on multiple screens so you can see what your car is up to. This, combined with a lack of charging points or universal charging standards, means electric motorists must plan out-of-town trips with care.
Several things aim to counter this; drop-out regeneration charging is good technology, and small motors that power some electronics through kinetic energy are other good technologies. But for electric cars to replace fuel-guzzling motors, battery technology must evolve and Governments must get serious about charging.