external image electric-car-logo.jpgElectric Cars



Overview

The Elettrica (above) has a top speed 40mph with a range of up to 65 miles (from a 5 hour charge), making it ideal for getting around town.
The Elettrica (above) has a top speed 40mph with a range of up to 65 miles (from a 5 hour charge), making it ideal for getting around town.

Electric cars are vehicles that run using electricity as opposed to a gasoline engine with the help of an electric motor. This motor obtains all of its energy from fuel cells, which are charged using an AC plug, which can be found just about anywhere. An electric car is not to be confused with a hybrid car, which uses gasoline and electricity in tandem with one another. A true electric car uses electricity only.

The idea of a car that uses electricity instead of gasoline is not a new one but has become a huge media topic these past ten years. Increasing gas prices has prompted the government to start researching cleaner and more cost effective forms of energy, and the electric car is a product of that research.

Research shows that electric cars, or EV (Electronic Vehicles) are vastly superior to gasoline powered cars due to the fact that they cost less to refuel and they are pollution free, much quieter and have better acceleration however they also have shortcomings of their own. Many car companies are creating electrical cars. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are some of the car manufactures that are creating electrical cars. The average distance an electric car can go before needing to be recharged is about 100 miles tops. They are also slow to charge it takes any where from 4-8 hours, so they are not practical vehicles to use if one needs to travel long distances. On top of this, they are relatively expensive, with models capable of timely long distance travel, costing upwards of $60,000. Low end models for inter-city use run anywhere from $10,000 - $30,000. "A report by JD Power and Associate's claims that about 50 percent of U.S. car buyers are not even willing to spend more than US$5,000 on a green vehicle.

The above picture shows the pros and cons of having both vehicles.
The above picture shows the pros and cons of having both vehicles.

Applications:

Though electric cars show vast superiority in technology and emissions compared to traditional gasoline vehicles, they have yet to significantly impact the world. While they have been evolving into more efficient, quieter, and less expensive sources of transportation, the electric car has merely set a standard that auto manufacturers are in the process of perfecting and refining. As far as current impact, electric cars are 97 percent cleaner than standard gasoline vehicles. Tailpipe emissions put pollution and particulate matter in the air, causing irritation of respiratory conditions and asthma. Electric vehicles not only have zero emissions, but they significantly reduce noise pollution. Even when a traditional gasoline-burning vehicle is idle in traffic, it is emitting pollutants into the air. Electric engines are not running during idle, thereby saving power and maintaining efficiency.

It is hard to say what impact electric cars will have in the future. As a nation that is striving to be green conscious, electric cars seem promising in the future for pollution and the consumption of less natural resources. However, there are several problems that could be foreseen with electric cars. Mainly, the loss of horsepower, availability of public power source, and mile range. In order for electric vehicles to obtain a significant place in the market in the future, these problems must be addressed by automobile manufactures.


Terminology:

Fuel Cell: A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent.

Combustion Energy: Combustion energy is the energy released as heat when a compound undergoes complete combustion with oxygen under standard conditions. The chemical reaction is typically a hydrocarbon reacting with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, water, and heat.

Electric Motor: An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force.

Hybrid: A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.

Citations/References:

http://www.zapworld.com/
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml
http://electriccars.com/intro.cfm?FUNC=MAIN
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-car1.htm
http://www.electriccarprices.net/page2.html
http://www.howstuffworks.com/electric-car.htm
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/new-electric-cars-460210