• How Electric Car Technology has Evolved Throughout the Years

    Electric car technology does not use gasoline but is considered a type of alternative energy. An electric car uses an electric motor and electric car battery in place of the internal combustion engine. Early electric cars were interesting as they do not have any tail pipe emission and do not expel any greenhouse gases.

    Brief History

    The earliest electric cars occurred during the mid 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. At the time the electric car was easy to use and very comfortable. This had yet to be achieved by the gasoline cars. Once gas cars became less expensive the electric cars began to decline. These early cars held many speed and distance records. Some of the first commercial applications of the electric car were as New York taxis.

    In the 1990s a revival of the electric car occurred as the concern for the environment increases. In particular California began to push for lower emission and fuel efficient cars. Some of the first all electric cars are being released as Nissan has produced the Leaf and BMW is developing the Mini E.

    Main Problem

    One of the current main issues with the electric car is that the electric car mileage cannot handle long distances. These cars take a long time to recharge and for long car trips a gasoline car is still the best option. There also are not enough charging stations in the US to make the electric car sustainable for more than just city driving.

    Engine Design

    There are several different types of acceleration and engine designs as these motors work by having high power to weight ratios.  While some cars have small engines many have large engines that can really accelerate. These electric motors also have constant torque which means that they can easily accelerate even at low speeds.

    Power and Energy

    Electric cars also get more power as they have a direct motor to wheel configuration. In this way there are multiple motors connected to each of the wheels which increases the traction. Many times the engines can be housed in the wheels, one example being the Whisper Wheel design.

    When looking at the efficiency of an electric vehicle you also have to include the source of energy for charging the car. It is not overly energy efficient if you charge it from a gas powered generator. However if it is charged form a type of renewable energy then it is very energy efficient. Much of the cars efficiency is due to the battery charging and discharging.

    Different Batteries

    The main types of batteries used are rechargeable nickel metal hydride, lead acid, NiCd, LI-ion polymer, lithium-ion, molten salt or zinc-air. The most commonly used and most promising is the Lithium iron phosphate battery as it has high energy density and is very light weight. Much of the research of electric cars deals with developing new battery technology.

    Range of the Electric Car

    The range of the electric car will depend on the type of battery that is being used as well as the type of vehicle. Lead acid batteries are popular though manufacturers are leaning away for them. To increase your range all you need to do is add more batteries. NiMH batteries can provide 120 miles and lithium-ion batteries provide between 200 to 300 miles.