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Go, Greased Lightning – the All Electric Car – by Frank Vanderlugt

0 Comments 24 August 2010

Ever since Mr Benz first put an internal combustion engine onto a piece of carriagework and thus invented the car, the internal combustion engine has been powered by gasoline or some other derivative of petroleum.

And we all know what’s happened ever since. Oil has become the world’s black gold and many people in Texas and in the Gulf States have become multimillionaires through owning an oil well.

But now things are about to change. We’ve been told time and again that the world’s fossil fuel supplies are running out and we need to look at other sources of energy. Pollution is also a big issue, with global warming being almost constantly in the news.

Electricity looks promising, as an all electric car wouldn’t give off any noxious fumes as a by-product. And with the right sort of battery, an all electric car wouldn’t have rechargeable batteries, so there wouldn’t be a waste disposal problem when it comes to the batteries. Could an all electric car be the perfect solution to the energy crisis and global warming?

Well, an all electric car would help. However, there are some hitches in designing an all electric car. The first one is the issue of speed and power. Modern drivers are used to having vehicles that have a good rate of acceleration and enough power to tow a trailer. Until recently, designs for an all electric car haven’t been particularly powerful (but not any more!)

And there may be a more sinister problem behind why an all electric car hasn’t been launched onto the mainstream market. Rumours abound about how designers who have managed to patent an all electric car have had the rights to produce the vehicle bought by big oil companies or big auto companies (the details vary depending on which version of the story you hear). And then the design for the all electric car is hidden away, never to see the light of day and threaten the foundation of the buyer’s wealth…

But the problems are starting to be overcome. Designs of all electric car have been seen at more than one motor show as concept cars, and the way international trends are going, it won’t be long until we can buy an all electric car at your regular car dealer’s yard. This happened with hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, and it will happen with the all electric car, too.

And we are already seeing new companies that specialise in making all electric cars. So far, we have ZENN (stands for Zero Emissions No Noise), Venturi (which makes a solar powered all electric car) and Tesla, which has used modern carbon fibre technology and combined with Lotus to produce an all electric car that has stats that read like those of a sports car.

To be more precise, the Tesla Roadster, which is an all electric car, not a hybrid (not even a plug-in hybrid), can go from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, a maximum torque of 185 kW and has a top speed of 130 mph (more than the legal limit in many countries). And this all electric car looks pretty good, too!

For the moment at least, an all electric car isn’t cheap. But given time, we’re sure to see the all electric car become more and more common on our roads, the same way as hybrid cars have.

Another drawback of the electric car is its size. The bigger the car, the more energy is needed to power the car. The electric car’s current capabilities are only enough to power relatively small cars. A modern family with a few groceries or packages would not find a small electric car convenient.

And what of the environmentally-friendly aspect of electric cars? Most people who are willing to spend the extra money and to live with the aforementioned inconveniences of having an electric car do so because they are tried of ever-climbing gas prices and of the world’s dependency on polluting oil. Electric cars are entirely clean and have no negative impact on the environment–while they’re running, at least.

Unless you’re one of the very few who live in a city with an alternate energy power plant or you’ve converted your residence to be powered by alternative energy such as solar power, hydroelectric power, or wind power and you only charge your electric car battery at those outlets, your electric car pollutes.

If you get your electrical energy from a coal-burning plant, the electric car’s battery is contributing to burning coal as it charges–at a rate which is not much less than burning gas in a car. If your city is powered by nuclear power, at least it’s a cleaner burning form of energy, but there is still the problem of the disposal of toxic waste. Plus, you’re spending just about if not more money on the extra charge on your utility bill as you would at the gas pump.

So the electric car has been put back on the drawing board, every so often resurfacing with a new innovation to counteract some of these problems. The most popular and successful twist on the electric car has been the hybrid car, which runs partially on gas and partially on the electric car battery.

The hybrid car cuts back on gas and electric battery charging pollution and the amount you spend on gas and utilities, but combined, they’re still not far from the pollution and cost of maintaining a gas-powered car. Still, hybrid cars allow for a bigger size vehicle and for top speeds on highways.

If you’re thinking about buying an electric car, make sure that all of these inconveniences are worth it and that the reason you’re buying an electric car–you want to cut back on pollution, for example–is actually worthwhile. If you want to send a message about oil and cut back on gas consumption, you might want to look into a hybrid car instead.

frank j vanderlugt owns and operates http://www.electric-car-2007.com Electric Car

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