22 February 2010

The Problem With Electric


The idea of an electrically powered car appeals to me. No more smelly, polluting petrol. Instant torque from standstill would give even acceleration. Cheap fuel too. But...There is always a but and with cars powered by electric, many buts. Here are some of them.

Range. Unless you only do short trips, they are basically useless. As a second or third car that would be acceptable as you could take another car for longer trips. We are a one car family though.

Refueling. It takes a few minutes to fuel a petrol or diesel car at a conveniently located station. There are no refueling points for electric and it takes much longer for a short charge and ridiculous time to fully charge.

Pedestrians. They don't hear electric cars coming and so more pedestrians will get hit by them. Seriously.

Purchase price. They are expensive to buy, thanks to battery cost. Then disposing of batteries is pricey too.

There are ideas about to minimise some of the above problems, such as on longer journeys swapping batteries at centres set up to do so. A real nusance. Or how about a hybrid maybe. Unfortunately very expensive to have two power systems in one car and still very polluting when using the petrol motor lugging all that weight around.

If electric cars are going to become popular to the masses, vast improvements in the above mentioned issues must be found. We have been thoroughly spoiled by petroleum products. So going backwards to much less practical options such as electric is something people will not embrace readily unless solutions materialise or we simply have no option but to change.

The bottom line. A small engined petrol or diesel car, perhaps turbo boosted, offers more at present.

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