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A Spark Of Ingenuity - Powering The Future On Batteries

Jun 11, 2008
The idea of electric cars has not been developed recently, and in fact successful electric vehicles were being developed and manufactured back in the 1830s, with projects in the Netherlands, and in Scotland, achieving great success, with vehicles reaching speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Mostly popular with ladies, the typical town vehicle was clean, quiet, needed no cranking to get started, and cruised at a comfortable 20 miles an hour. The gas powered cars were being outsold quite dramatically.

Perceptions of electric vehicles today tend to lurch from rickety old golf carts to the slightly absurd milk flats, but the truth is that electric cars today can easily out perform their gas powered counterparts. Not only can they outperform them, but they can do so at a fraction of the cost to both the consumer, and more importantly, the environment. For example, the new Tesla Roadster can leave the Ferrari Spider standing at the lights whilst gliding effortlessly past the Mercedes SL550, whilst costing about a cent per mile in the process. With a top speed of about 130 miles per hour and with a three hour charge sustaining a full 250 mile trip, this is anything but a milk float.

It isn't just the fact that these electric vehicles produce lower gas emissions, they also produce far less noise pollution too - an often forgotten element of our gas powered vehicles. Some people who have lid comfortably into the driving seat of a sport electric car are shocked by the lack of noise, vibration and raw growl - and it has jokingly been suggested that speakers be installed in some of these models to simulate the growl of a familiar engine. On the flip side of the coin, some people have expressed concern that with almost silent cars nipping around town, there may be an increase in the number of children and elderly people injured on the roads, since the familiar clues of oncoming traffic will no longer be available.

Besides the greener conscience that road users will have through purchasing an electric vehicle, there are many other benefits and incentives on offer which help to make the whole idea of ditching a gas powered car a much easier decision. For example, if you were to purchase the popular little G-Wiz at under 5,000, you will receive a number of benefits in the UK alone. There are now over two hundred fuelling stations across the UK - so maintaining it is much easier than before, and if you drive round London you'll benefit from free parking, itself worth 5,00 a year! There's also no road tax to pay, and the car sits happily in the lowest insurance category, so is a far cheaper option all round.

On a larger scale, Israel has launched a new initiative called Project Better Place, and this is a focus on electric vehicles in such a grand way that it is the ultimate intention to rid Israel of its need and reliance on oil by completely abandoning the gas powered vehicles within just ten years. With half a million charging points, the country is well equipped to support electric vehicles, and with most electric cars able to achieve a 200 kilometre journey on a single charge, Israel is an ideal place to launch the scheme since this distance allows you to travel from any part of the country to any other location in Israel. The model being suggested is similar to the one used by mobile phone companies, with cars being given away free, and consumers paying for the re-charging costs through a number of alternative schemes - either by buying into a scheme that allows unlimited mileage over a certain period of time, or by using a pay-as-you-charge alternative.

As with any new development, the ultimate success relies heavily on consumer demand, and companies piloting electric vehicle schemes are trying hard to win that consumer demand and interest. With electric vehicles being showcased in Hollywood, such as the Lexus driven by Tom Cruise in Minority Report, people are starting to realise that the future isn't a world full of milk floats, but of slick and powerful cars that anyone would be proud to drive. With the US home to nearly eight million electric vehicles, consumer demand is very much a voice loud enough to have caught the ears of politicians.

Many people are worried that, rather than saving fossil fuel from being burned, we are in danger of either using even more, or simply shifting emphasis and focus from the world outside our front doors to the distant and easily ignored world of the power plants. Electric cars still need to be re-charged, and this power needs to come from somewhere. With most of our electricity being generated from the burning of fossil fuels, there's no long term advantage. This argument is not true however, and with power plants increasingly trying to source energy from renewable means, and with electric cars using the energy produced in a much more efficient way, the overall consumption of fossil fuel will be dramatically reduced.

Perhaps it is becoming increasingly easy to picture a world in which we can glide around quietly and serenely, with no smog or fumes choking our streets, no noise roaring through our urban spaces, and no need for concern when stuck in traffic that fuel is being wasted. Although fears have been raised that when we all return home for work and plug our cars in for the night we'll overload the mains grid, these too have been quashed, with energy companies pointing out that only a fraction of capacity is reached at night, and with all of us switching to electric cars the overall need for energy will be massively reduced. Perhaps we can even envisage a day when our cars are recharged from the energy our own solar panel roofs collect through the day whilst we are at work - a recipe for a virtually clear conscience.
About the Author
With modern technology on everyones lips, more people are searching for the colour green. From electric cars to hybrid cars the world now has a conscience. The our lifestyle is in everybodies thoughts, the forests, wildlife and nature..green is the colour.
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