Jumping on the electric bandwagon….
I love cars. I am a petrol head and love big gas guzzling motors and the sounds they give off…. but I also like the idea of greener vehicles. We are seeing some high performance green vehicles now, so I’m not worried about all new eco-cars being slow city-cars. I’ll miss the sound and look of a V8 engine – but at least the performance will still be available in “eco” cars, where as a while a go that was not an option.
Being a throbbing engine with great sounds isn’t all important in a car really – The performance that comes from it is the important thing – the rest is just window dressing.
For performance the electric motor is like an on switch – Internal combustion won’t stand up to what electricity offers. No matter how fast you are going, you can pretty much put your foot down and accelerate as quickly from 30mph to 60mph or 70mph to 100mph as you did 0mph to 30mph.
Electrical power is evenly distributed – there is no power band compared to a petrol or diesel engine. Sure… a chromed up V8 looks and sounds great and raw, but there are better performance options.
What gets me is the question of “Why are we trying to develop so many different alternate fuels for cars now?”
Too many choices – we’ll end up with so many different cars and a poor infrastructure to support them all. We should settle on one energy and then we can concentrate on.
With one common charge type the the only issue would be where the electricity is produced from. I don’t mean one common electric engine – I mean a common fuel and filling procedure – like we have so many petrol engines, but they all fill up the same way on the same fuel. Some motors may be faster, more economical, higher torque etc… but they are all fuelled and filled the same way. It would be easier to make supporting infrastructure of “petrol” stations that way.
Before anyone moans about the fact that the power stations to give us the electricity aren’t very green, then I’d point you at the fact that a petrol engine is only about 30% efficient – and diesel is only about 45%. Yeah, big deal if it can do 75mpg… it’s still only 30% efficient, and as such it is still wasting energy. Add to that the wastage and energy used to drill, transport and refine that oil and that is a real waste of resources.
Real “eco-friendliness” should be measured from cradle to grave. From the moment the oil is found to the moment it goes in the car – the production process of the car, the energy used to make the car and refine the components… etc…THAT’S how to measure it.
Due to the very nature of the electric motor they have less moving parts and have higher efficiency – and the more horsepower they put out, the more efficient they are! over 125bhp and a NEME electric motor is over 90% efficient! The electric motor can get more out of the energy provided – at least twice as much more.
The motors are available NOW – so we could switch over… and yes, the ways we produce the electricity still need to be improved, but that’s no big deal because however we produce the electricity, the cars will be able to take it and operate.
As power stations improve – natural energy, solar, wind, wave – whatever – then the already efficient electric cars will get even more efficient (cradle to grave). However the electricity is supplied or produced, the cars would already be on the road to take that electricity.
Changing the way the electricity is produced won’t effect the car – but having different “eco-fuels” in development is pretty much a waste of effort and future resources that would be better spent on figuring out better ways to produce the electricity at the root – at the power stations.
As the motors develop we can even replace the petrol engines in cars that are already on the road. That’s a pretty green option as it wouldn’t need a new car to be built! Brabus has added their touch to the Tesla by adding a sound track! Check it out here! If the Brabus sound track is any good you could have your ’67 Mustang with an electric motor that gives a higher performance than the petrol V8, but still sounds as good!
World travel might be an issue with the different voltage levels – but the cars could be built with adapters and changers to accept whatever is plugged into them. It’s no problem.
Batteries and power storage is the problem at the moment – but people like Tesla are getting around it, so even that isn’t such a problem anymore.
Motor racing is helping out now as well. In Formula 1 there is a kinetic braking system (KERS) that uses braking energy and turns it back into propulsive energy. We need motor sports and recreation to keep pushing and developing these things. Cutting down on motor activities will just take the pressure off of the industries to give us the greener ways!
Remember though, and this was pointed out to me by the great Robert Llewellyn – no car can be called “Eco Friendly“, simply because the act of building one and the infrastructure to support it will effect the environment – BUT we can build “Eco Less-Unfriendly” cars.
For a petrol head, I’m actually looking forward to an electric future.