Have you heard of battery only full size and small cars that dont’ use any gas at all and are essentially a series of large batteris with a transmission?
If you have an interest in battery electric vehicles, (BEV) you can find all sorts of battery vehicle societies, clubs, know how, and even technical articles about research being done now. There are even solar only car “races” that even do without the battery.
Although you seem new to this discussion there are several issues you will see represented again and again.
On the Pro side is that electric vehicles tend to be clean, quiet, relatively maintenance free, and are cheaper to operate. This is because although electricity is more expensive than oil the electric vehicle uses it’s power more than 4 times more efficiently than a vehicle with an internal combustion engine that wastes 85% of the fuel you put into it. As an electric motor gives full torque from the start electric vehicles can be good haulers or very quick from the start.
On the negative side is the secure feeling that some get by having a vehicle that can go 300 miles on a tankful of gas even it they never travel more than 30 miles to and from work. Electric vehicles can be unexpectedly quiet for the blind. Some have humorously suggested we only need to get rid of all the internal combustion engines to make the sound that does come from air movement and tires to be the only expected sound.
Some with a social conscience would like to have an electric vehicle because it is cleaner. Critics counter that in the US 50% of the power is produced by coal. Proponents will point out that coal is at least a domestic source of energy and an electric vehicle is adaptable depending upon it’s power source. Rooftop solar cells will be cleaner than the current grid. But even our current grid electricity seems to be on the way to finding cleaner sources of power. And in the end it is still less polluting to burn coal centrally than a lot of gasoline individually.
There are naysayers who suggest that our current grid cannot handle a nation full of electric cars. Others point out that there is a great deal of unused capacity at night when some power plants cannot back off or shut down (they don’t work that way.)
The holy grail for an electric vehicle will be a good battery, that lasts reasonably long and associated with this will be an increased range at an affordable price. The current technology limits range to around 100 miles or less on a charge unless you are paying very high prices like the Tesla Roadster that advertises 200+ miles on a charge at a total price of over 0,000. Edison suggested nickel-iron batteries and there are utilities that have had operational nickel-iron batteries lasting for over 30 years and more. The Rav4 EV used a nickel metal hydride battery that seems to have given good service but this technology was bought out by Chevron and has not been licensed for use in an EV since that time. There is a lot of experimentation with a lithium-phosphate battery and nano technology for increased surface area. And then there is an entirely different path of using ultra-capacitors or battery-capacitors. There is a company called EEstor that has received some press for this approach which seems also to offer a great deal of promise.
While some have complained that is takes many hours to charge an electric vehicle. Proponents say that they like not having to go to a “gas station” for fuel and that it only takes a few seconds to connect and disconnect the vehicle. The rest of the time they are occupied elsewhere.
A hybrid vehicle is partially electric. In a parallel hybrid like the Prius there is an attempt to use the range and cruising power of an internal combustion engine with the starting torque and efficiency of an ev. In a series hybrid (like the proposed chev volt) the vehicle operates as an electric vehicle but uses the internal combustion engine on board to supply electricity or charge batteries as needed. A sometimes series hybrid would be an electric vehicle that only for long trips attached an internal combustion engine gen-set trailer. This last eliminates the wasteful weight of the internal combustion engine when it is not needed.
Subways, trams, and electric trains solve the power problem of battery technology by not using batteries and having the electricity transmitted to them through an overhead line or a third rail. An electric vehicle like the EV1 was charged through the use of inductive paddles. There were never any exposed wires. If we had stayed with electric vehicles when they were first introduced in the late 1800′s we might have streets with this kind of electric inductive technology embedded today.
Your electric vehicle may even be able to power your home in an electric outage.
by: Breath on the Wind
on: 25th May 09