Electric Vehicle 2.0

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Electric Vehicle 2.0

Most people don’t realize that electric cars have been around for more than 150 years. There are at least seven obvious advantages to them:

  • They use energy produced from domestic coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy instead of imported oil.
  • The vehicles themselves produce zero emissions.
  • Electricity is four times as efficient as gasoline.
  • They can be refueled in the garage overnight.
  • There’s no motor oil, filter changes, radiator fluid, tune-ups, or emissions testing.
  • They’re theoretically fast enough for the highway.
  • They could have the range of an ordinary car.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has calculated that the existing idle capacity of our nation’s electrical generating equipment is sufficient to provide 84 percent of the energy requirements of the 220 million vehicles in the U.S, if they were hybrid-electric cars that could be recharged by plugging them in. Unfortunately, the hybrids being manufactured today cannot be plugged in; their batteries are charged strictly by a generator hooked up to the internal combustion engine.

If all of the nation’s motorists were to adopt electric cars, the collateral benefits would include these four advantages:

  • Increasing national security associated with reduced dependence on Mid-East oil.
  • Improving the trade balance due to not importing oil.
  • Reducing greenhouse gasses as nuclear, wind, and solar generated electricity replaces fossil fuels.
  • Driving down the cost of each kilowatt of electricity by providing for more complete utilization of resources around the clock.

With this new high-volume night-time market, electric utilities could afford to invest in cleaner and more efficient power plants, to replace small inefficient peak-capacity plants that use expensive fuels to meet peak demand a few hours a day; over the long term, this would further improve the environment.

And lastly, although it would cost more money initially to purchase electric cars, the savings in fuel would make them equivalent to gasoline-powered cars, or maybe even a little cheaper, over the normal life of the vehicle.

These benefits, coupled with government pressure, have motivated Honda, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, and others to develop and produce electric cars at various times over the past four decades. So why aren’t we all driving them?

The answer, in a word, is: batteries. Battery technology has been the thorn in the side of this industry since 1859, when the French physicist Gaston Planté invented the first rechargeable lead-acid battery...

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