There was a time when Electric Cars were an oddity, something only “crazy tree huggers” would embrace. But that was when Americans wanted their cars big. That was when Americans didn’t care how much gas it burned or how much it polluted our air. Electric cars were small and slow. They were oddly shaped, they didn’t go that fast, and they certainly could not house a family of five for a road trip –limitations in space and battery life would have prevented that.
Today, car manufacturers are approaching the electric car equation a bit differently. The popularity of gas-electric Hybrid cars is off the charts. No longer are alternative fuel aficionados considered “crazy tree huggers.” In the 21st century, we care more about our combustion engine emissions and we realize that our dependency on foreign oil and its escalating price are no longer acceptable. And like phone communications that have evolved to Smart phones that carry more technology than a NASA project from 40 years ago; so too has the idea and implementation of electric cars been evolving.
Gas-electric hybrid cars have enjoyed enormous popularity. In many areas, you cannot throw a stick without hitting a hybrid. So far, as of April 2011, Hybrids have gained more market share than pure electric cars, however these hybrids still burn gas. Currently Hybrids also have the edge on pure electric vehicles in price point. While they are slightly more expensive than regular gas combustion engine automobiles, they are less expensive than the current electric only versions. However, pure electric automobiles are closing the gap in every way.
All-electric vehicles (EVs) have been making amazing strides in range, charge time, performance, comfort and affordability and benefit consumers in a long-term way. While combustion engine automobiles require much more maintenance, EVs are almost maintenance free. It’s not surprising that the combustion engine industry has hesitated to embrace the growth of the EV market when considering the service revenue it stands to lose.
As with combustion engine automobile manufacturers, EV manufacturers will vary. For example, while Nissan has launched their Leaf EV in the United States and Japan in December 2010, this EV has very limited battery performance. It’s small, but it’s not tiny. Similar in size to a VW Golf, the car can seat four fairly comfortably. It claims to travel up to 100 miles on a single charge (more like 40) and can attain speeds up to 90mph. In March 2011, Rolls Royce revealed an all-electric prototype of its legendary Phantom model. The trick with the Rolls, of course, is the price. The all-electric Phantom is expected to cost nearly $1 million.
The one EV company that has proven to deliver the most successful combination of power, performance, distance and charge time, is TESLA Motors. Tesla has the greatest market share of an on-the-road all-electric vehicle. Tesla is the REAL DEAL and is positioned to deliver top-end EVs to a mass market. Tesla started by introducing their extremely fast all-electric Roadster sports car. This car demonstrates that an EV does NOT need to be goofy looking or boring. Tesla Roadsters are off-the-charts with “cool factors”. 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, top end over 125mph, 250 miles on a single charge, fully charged in 3.5 hours and an extremely sexy sports car body style that never fails to attract attention. These cars have to be driven to be appreciated. Drive one and you won’t be able to fight the “Tesla smile”. Yes, this super-car is expensive (over $100,000.00) but when compared to most combustion engine sports car, it’s much less expensive to buy, to drive and to maintain! Tesla started with this high-end sports car to demonstrate that an EV can be a high-performance and reliable automobile. Daimler, Toyota, Panasonic, among others quickly partnered with Tesla because of their advanced technology. Now that Tesla has the world’s attention, they’re introducing their family car (the “Model S”), which will hit the roads in 2012. Tesla’s Model S seats 5 (7 if you use the children seats), will go 300 miles on one charge, charge in 45-minutes, have battery swapping abilities, go 0-60 in about 5.6 seconds and is another beautiful automobile. These cars start at around $50,000. That’s more than a cheaper EV like the Nissan Leaf, but you’ll be driving a real car.. When compared to a combustion car, you’ll save the difference back in gas, lower maintenance bills, and the peace of mind that you’re rolling with ZERO emissions. Everyone is looking at Tesla, including Toyota as they introduce their RAV4 SUV EV with help from Tesla technology, among others. And if the name Tesla sounds familiar, it’s because Tesla Motors is named after Nikola Tesla, who was the inventory of electricity, the electric motor, and wireless communications, just to name a few. Like I said, Tesla has many “cool factors”. Tesla is a technology masterpiece.
All electric cars are soon to be a viable mass market produced reality. The rise and enormous popularity of gas-electric Hybrid vehicles has paved the way as the first step. No longer are Americans so attached to their gas guzzling vehicles. Owning an environmentally friendly car has become fashionable, if not just for the selfish reason of PASSING THE GAS STATION. With reliable EV manufacturers, the U.S. Government supporting battery technology and the infrastructure to support EVs underway, it’s just a matter of time before EVs fully capture the hearts and minds of drivers and become a sustainable reality in the automotive industry. Can you imagine the quiet hum, zero emissions, and no gas stations? I can!