The Rise of the Electric Car

The Rise of the Electric CarSpeak what you will of global warming but whether you’re a believer or not the appeal of an all-electric car is as high as ever. The ability to never visit a petrol forecourt again and miss-out on potential costly engine break downs are just two of the main reasons that the electric car is becoming increasingly more desired by British motorists. Yet to see just why they’re so appealing, you have to dig a little deeper and think outside of the motoring convenience box.

Electric motors offer instant throttle response and instant torque at any speed, making them a more relaxing – although less involving – drive. The Government currently offers a £5000 grant on electric cars and so whatever the cost of your vehicle, you get a contribution towards it (so long it’s brand new).

There are currently a few all electric cars that British motorists may find appealing; the super cheap Aixam Ecity and Reva G-Wiz are popular, and the mid-range Renault Twizy is an intriguing choice. The trouble is these are all obviously electric cars; motorists like cars as they are, but would enjoy the benefits of emission free travel and a Bristol Street Motors Northampton car service. For that reason, the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and petrol generator powered Vauxhall Ampera are more desirable.

It isn’t just consumers who are embracing electric tech, either. John E. Waters, the developer of the first battery in General Motor’s first electric car, believes there is a place for electricity in motorsport:

“Experimental electric cars already have achieved sustained speeds of more than 180 miles per hour, and established world speed records above 300 mph,” Waters said in a press release. “Electric cars have inherent advantages in efficiency and torque over gasoline-powered vehicles. Energy storage-to-torque on an EV platform is above 90 percent efficient, compared to less than 35 percent for internal combustion engines. I have no doubt that battery-powered race cars will be attracting race fans in the immediate future.”

The Ampera is our favourite electric car at the moment; with a £5000 government grant it rolls in at £29,995 brand new off the forecourt and the 16kwh electric motor develops 148 bhp and 273 lb /ft of torque. This car is unique in that the lithium-ion battery pack powers the car for 25 – 30 miles before a 1.4-litre petrol generator develops the electricity to power the car for a further 310 miles. This frees up any range issues associated with electric cars as pointed out below.

Current issues

The biggest issue currently facing electric cars is range. Some electric car batteries when fully charged will deplete their power source within just 100 miles. Of course, a car battery has a lot to deal with; it has to power the front wheels, handle all electronics, handle all safety equipment and as is often the case, light up several screens so you can see what your car is doing. This, combined with a lack of charging points or a universal charging standard, means that electric motorists have to plan any journey outside of their town carefully.

Some things aim to combat this; break regeneration charging is a good technology, and small motors which power some electronics through kinetic energy are another good technology. But for the electric car to replace fuel guzzling motors, battery technology is going to have to evolve and the Government is going to have to get serious about charging points.

Editorial Team
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One Comment

  1. TrevorJL says:

    This is a strange article – has the author even driven the latest electric cars? The most popular currently in the UK are the Nissan Leaf and the Renault ZOE and they are great to drive – silent, smooth, non-smelly, relaxing – and very fast off the line. And yet the ZOE is cheaper to buy and run than the equivalent Clio. And you can power it from your roof. Fantastic – I love mine!


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