SPECIAL REPORT: Electric Cars (Part 1):
Changing Our Concept of Mobility & Saving Mother Earth (Par 1)
THOUGH electric cars are now considered a wave of the future, many believe that the technology still has to overcome a few hurdles.
Among them is the need to charge the car that only means higher utility costs, and the installation of special charging outlets on the road.
Two major concerns have been raised as well regarding electric cars — how long motorists can drive or how long the power will last before stopping for a charge, and how much the cars cost.
For motorists to understand the charging cost, they have to be aware of the cost of charging and using an electric car battery that is way different from household appliances.
Motorists have to understand, too how electric bills are computed. All power utilities charge by kilowatt-hour.
According to a US motoring site, the power industry standard for electric car batteries range from 110 and 140 watt-hours/kilogram, costing between $250 and $350 per kilowatt-hour to operate thus, raising some concerns whether the technology of the electric car is fully ready for mainstream use.
Setting aside technology and environment issues, it seems electric cars haven’t gained much popularity among Americans, who typically want the full features of powerful cars. The high cost of electric cars doesn’t sit well with the general public just yet.
Guardian.co.uk website said a “world-record” battery has been developed for cheaper, longer-range electric cars.
Envia, a lithium ion battery developer in UK , hopes to discard both concerns with its latest world-record 400 watt-hour/kilogram battery.
Envia’s chief executive Atul Kapadia, in a recent interview with Venture Beat news agency in UK, was quoted as saying that they have built 400 watt per kilogram batteries that have been considered as the holy grail of electric cars.
‘This is a milestone that many car companies have wanted to reach,” the article added.
Envia’s innovation means more energy stored per kilogram in the battery thus, making it more energy-efficient.
With the higher energy density of Envia’s battery, the electric vehicle can travel farther on a charge, boasting a 300-mile range. This is said to be higher than previous batteries that delivered 80-100 mile ranges. The website added that the new battery will cost $125 per kilowatt-hour.
There is no denying that electric cars did not sustain the hype in 2011. UK vehicle companies gave up amidst the unpopularity of electric cars. They had to push the much-trumpeted Year of the Electric Car out of the picture like Tesla Roadster that failed in its trial.
Sales were evidently slow attributed the availability of just a few models that were more expensive than petroleum counterparts, and the building of charging points infrastructure are yet to take off the ground.
Efforts to sweeten the deal through government grants of £5,000 for buyers of electric vehicles failed. Guardian.co.uk website said there were only 1,052 claims in 2011. There was little progress in meeting the target of 1.7 million electric cars on the roads by 2020 that the UK Committee on Climate Change set.
UK is being eyed for a boom in electric cars with the release of new plug-in hybrid models, battery leasing and more special charging points. (To be continued….)