Electric cars are actually nothing new !! They date back to 1832, well before the first gasoline-powered car. In fact, the first car to go faster than a hundred kilometres per hour was in 1899, an electric one, called the Jamais Contente, meaning “never satisfied”.
But people were apparently satisfied with electric cars. By 1910, they were almost twice as common on American roads as internal combustion engines. But then came the Model T, which at $650 was significantly cheaper than comparable electric cars and as gas stations popped up around the country, they could be quickly refuelled,allowing you to travel farther, faster, and cheaper than electric cars, which took a long time to recharge.
So by 1935, the electric vehicle had been commercially obliterated. But electric cars were still useful for some things: in the vacuum of space, an electric vehicle was the obvious choice for the Apollo lunar roving vehicle.
This demonstrated the benefits of electric vehicles: they can run quietly with no emissions.
But it also illustrated their limitations: with the battery technology available at the time, electric cars were expensive and short-range, impractical for everyday use. So why are electric cars the future? In 2020, BMW is launching the IX3 all-electric sport utility vehicle, and they plan to have 25 electrified vehicles in its fleet by 2023.
A lot of their concept cars, like the Vision M Next, are electric vehicles
and they have a Formula-E car which can now run a whole race on a single battery pack.
This is all made possible by developments in battery technology. Batteries have gotten a lot better, particularly with the introduction of lithium-ion batteries. First used in mobile phones about 30 years ago,lithium-ion batteries have almost two times more energy in the same volume than the next-best battery chemistry. Because of their use in many consumer products like phones and laptops, their manufacturing costs continue to decline, driven by manufacturing and supply chain optimization. Over the last three decades, the energy density has increased both per unit mass and per unit volume, while the price has plummeted.
This is unlike internal combustion engines which, after a century of development,
have few areas left for improvement. And the reality is, you don’t really travel that far in a car. The batteries available today are good enough for all but the longest road trips.
In the US, 99% of trips are under 160 kilometers or 100 miles. And electric cars are just better vehicles.
Here are the top 10 reasons why:
- More torque from a standstill.
- Batteries under the floorhave a low center of mass and so better handling.
- Since you can drive electric motors independently, you can have precise control over each wheel for maximum traction.
- Electric cars are quieter.
- Electric cars are cheaper to run than gas cars because gas is more expensive than electricity for the same distance travelled.
- Electric cars are more efficient than gas cars.
- You never have to visit a gas station, because you can recharge at home.
- There’s less maintenance: fewer moving parts, no oil changes, and the brakes wear out less often thanks to regenerative braking.
- And depending on the source of electricity, in my case, solar panels, electric cars don’t produce any CO2 at all, so they don’t contribute to climate change.
Plus, as cars become computers on wheels; essentially,electric vehicles are leading the way towards the self-driving car.