Electric Vehicles (EVs) run completely on rechargeable batteries and use no gasoline or other liquid fuels. The EV models being released between now and 2012 will replaced many of the gasoline vehicles on the road today. Even if the batteries are charged using fossil fuel generated electricity, they are still 40-60% more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles. And with major deployments of renewable energy power plants, EVs will become greener and cheaper to operate than obsolete gas powered vehicles. Here are some more reasons EVs make more sense than gas powered cars:
There are several models of electric vehicles available today, such as Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf. However, there are many more on the way. The limiting factors in reducing demand by end consumers for EVs has been battery cost and range. The battery pack typically costs $10,000 to $12,000 USD and has a range of about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers). These two problems have been solved by rethinking how cars are sold.
There is a company head-quartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, by the name of Better Place, that has a revolutionary idea to replace gasoline burning vehicles with clean green EVs.
Better Place provides the infrastructure, including a replaceable battery, to keep cars running beyond to 100 mile limitation. The electric vehicles will have removable batteries that can almost instantly be replaced by a fully charged battery by pulling into a switch station. A robot arm lowers the depleted battery from the bottom of the car and a second robot arm inserts a freshly charged battery into the car. Within three minutes the driver is on the road again.
The second way that Better Place infrastructure keeps EVs rolling is by having a charge station placed at the driver residence and workplace. The typical car generally sits for 22 hours per day and is only used two hours for commuting to and from work.
To make EVs more attractive than even buying a used gasoline vehicle, Better Place will give the option of selling miles like we contract for minutes on our cell phones.
Ford has just anounced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in las Vegas, that they have a new Ford Focus electric powered vehicle. The vehicle will have many new state of the art user interface features that will keep the owner connected and maximize performance of the vehicle. A full roll-out presentation is available on Ford' Facebook page.
A flex fuel vehicle can accept various mixtures of petroleum based and ethanol or methanol based fuel. This gives you the ability to choose fuels that are less polluting, but may also reduce your miles per gallon (MPG). To achieve the ability for a vehicle to choose different mixtures of fuel, additional parts and a specialized computer need to be added. This kit, whether added at the factory or after market, makes adjustments to the amount of fuel supplied to the engine based on ethanol concentration, car performance, and driver habits, to make the car think it is using regular gasoline.
In our opinion, flex fuel vehicles are a small "quick fix" to reduce emissions, until more environmentally friendly vehicles can be mass produced.
Fuel cells, whereby hydrogen is converted to electricity, with the bi-product of water, hasn't proven itself to be more efficient or cost effective than today's gasoline powered vehicles. Much research is being done with several fuel cell technologies to make it a competitive method of transportation in the future. However, stationary fuel cell technology for providing power to buildings is proving beneficial both to the environment and corporate income statements. Bloomenergy has just released fuel cell technology that is being used by some large corporations to power their buildings. Google, Ebay, Walmart, Cox Communications, and Fedex have all bought Bloomenergy fuel cell power modules. While currently selling large power systems to corporations, Bloomenergy intends to develop units small and cheap enough to power individual homes throughout the world.
Here's a neat video of K.R. Sridhar, founder of Bloomenergy, and inventor of the Fuel Cell technology.
Hybrid vehicles use a gasoline engine and an electric motor to propel the car. The gasoline engine is needed for range extension and to recharge the battery. A hybrid car typically starts and runs on the electric motor. The gasoline engine kicks in when extra power is needed or the battery needs charging. When you slow down, the gasoline engine turns off, and the friction from the brakes recharges the battery. This makes the hybrid vehicle independent of external battery charging.
It is an excellent alternative to the traditional gas powered vehicle, as it typically gets 30 to 50 miles per gallon, depending on the size of the vehicle. Toyota's Prius is the most popular and top selling hybrid car. However, there are others available from most of the major car makers.
Compressed air vehicles work very similar to gas cars, in that compressed air pushes a piston which turns a crank that moves the car. The difference is that the air is compressed before it enters the cylinder head. Whereas, with a gasoline engine, gas is combined with air, then ignited to achieve the compression. Compressed air technology has been around for many years and has been used in ignition systems for race cars. Compressed air vehicles are capable of speeds up to 65 miles per hour (110 km/h). The compressed air tanks underneath can be refilled using a specialized air pump. Fill up time takes about three minutes. These type of vehicles are very inexpensive, and of course emit zero emissions.
Currently only the Honda Civic is a available in a completely natural gas burning version. The advantages are much cleaner emissions, much lower fuels costs, and great tax advantages. The natural gas powered Honda Civic has been in production since 1997. Conversion kits for gasoline powered vehicles are available to enable the car to run completely on natural gas or hybrid with gasoline.
Bio fuels are a renewble energy source using recycled waste. This type of fuel has a double benefit of taking methane out of the air and burning a fuel that is not as polluting as gasoline. Many bio-fuel projects are taking place around the world these days. For example, a trash collecting company in California processes the garbage to create methane gas to power their refuge collection trucks. Since methane is a global warming gas, they are preventing it from entering the atmosphere, and they are replacing the use of diesel fuel.
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