Among the undeniable crisis that automobile companies face all over the World, including the formerly unbeatable Japanese champions, a solution that is looking as a winner is without a doubt the electric car.
As we know the internal combustion engines have been the common denominator for more than one Century, however their operation has many disadvantages: A great proportion of the energy generated by the gasoline and diesel fuels is transformed into heat that we don't need or use. If this was not enough, the vehicles running on gasoline or diesel require that their engines remain in operation even when the vehicle stops and this also forces the need for a system to disconnect the engine from the transmission of the vehicle. This process adds a great number of mechanical components that obviously are subject to wear and prone to fail. Still with today's advanced technologies which have made more efficient, reliable, and durable our automobiles, the combustion systems continue to represent serious problems. Contamination of our environment and global warming, are just some of them. The variable and uncertain cost of petroleum and of the refinement processes also causes anxiety in those of us who must use our vehicles daily.
Facing these serious problems, the automobile industry has begun to develop a new trend: the electric car. As this trend grows and is reinforced, other industries are also getting on board. Since the beginning of the past Century, when Henry Ford tried to put the electric car in the market, one of the big challenges was the energy storage. The lead-acid batteries have been traditionally quite heavy and even with big advances, they continue to require intense maintenance.
Many years later, the locomotive industry came up with a solution to that, implementing the portable generators that give power to the electric motors installed in each wheel of the engine. Though without storage of electric power, those were the first Hybrid Vehicles!
New Batteries and Components!
However, with the imminent demand, the inventors and batteries manufacturers are contributing with novel new solutions to this old problem. Other components of importance are the electric motors and their controls. Both of them are also seeing fast and drastic advances propelled by the necessity. From the simplest direct current motors with coal brushes up to modern and efficient AC motors with digital systems for the control of frequency and intensity, the electric car is advancing at great speed.
The Shelby Technology and their
Faster Charging System
A vanguard research company: Shelby (do you remember the Shelby Cobras?), has put great interest and effort into this and they already have a super electric sports car as we can see in their Internet page:
2009 Shelby Ultimate Aero
This group is developing high-power motors and systems of up to 1,000 HP that they will be able to apply to all types of vehicles. With the 1,000 HP and 800 lb-ft of torque they are enabling their Ultimate Aero to rocket to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 208 mph. They have not only achieved impressive power but their system allows to restore the energy in few charging minutes.
This is sensational 8 wheel electric ELIICA being developed in Japan CLICK below to see the Video
Existing Models Being Updated...
On the other hand: Toyota is modifying their hybrid Prius integrating an additional battery and an integrated charger that the users can now connect to the electric grid. This allows them to charge the vehicle at night and to enjoy a range of more than 100 miles before the small gasoline engine has to kick in. The cost of charging the battery is approximately 10% to 12% of what gasoline would cost to complete the same journey. Other hybrids as those of Nissan, Honda and Ford are already following the path of Toyota and by the end of 2009 most brands will have in their showrooms more than one electric car.
Additionally, several companies that manufacture exclusively electric cars and conversion materials are born by the week.
The industry of the electric car definitively will see an explosion in the next few years. There are already in the US several companies installing charging stations, most of them offering their service for free until now, in hundreds of business centers, hotels, public parking lots, etc. The municipal, state, and federal governments are giving the buyers and sponsors of charging stations tax credits and refunds.
Another related activity that is experiencing great growth is the gasoline to electric conversions. From the books and manuals for "Do It yourselfers" up to formal transformation shops we are seeing a lot of action and new competitors arise daily. More Companies are offering Conversion Kits all the time. Very possibly this whole movement will contribute a great deal to the economic recovery that is expected toward the end of 2010.
Mallory in the US has been intensely working in the same concept as Shelby, and their supercapacitors are closer to the end consumer all the time. SuperCapacitors are the most optimal alternative to batteries, since they do not have chemicals to deal with. Mallory is a company to follow in the stock market, no doubt.
China is another big leaguer:
Chinese Electric Car and Battery manufacturer BYD has received an important boost from Warren Buffet and will likely become in a short time The Car Mogul of the world.
It is the place your cellphone, digital camera, and laptop probably came from. Just across a river from Hong Kong, Shenzhen is the biggest and fastest-growing city in the world that most Americans cannot find on a map.
Electric Vehicles are the American solution, they are more energy efficient, reduce our dependency on fosil fuels and imports, and Prevent Pollution!