Electric Cars


Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were among the earliest automobiles, and are more energy-efficient than all internal combustion vehicles. A petrol internal combustion engine is approx 25% energy efficient, a diesel approx 40% energy efficient while an AC Induction electric motor is approx 95% energy efficient (excluding electricity generation considerations).

They produce no exhaust fumes, and minimal pollution if charged from most forms of renewable energy. Many are capable of acceleration performance exceeding that of conventional gasoline powered vehicles.

BEVs reduce dependence on petroleum, may mitigate global warming by alleviating the greenhouse effect, are quieter than internal combustion vehicles, and do not produce noxious fumes.

Thomas Edison with a 1913 Detroit Electric car (~5000 sold; up to 340 km on a single charge!!!, 32km/h top speed)

High costs, limited travel distance between battery recharging, charging time, and battery lifespan are drawbacks traditionally attributed to the limited adoption of the BEV.

Emerging technological and battery advancements, however, are addressing these issues and enhancing the market competitiveness of the vehicle.

Though some models are still in limited production, most popular roadworthy BEVs have been withdrawn from the market and have been destroyed by their manufacturers. A handful of future production models have been announced, although many more have been prototyped. The major US automobile manufacturers have been accused of deliberately sabotaging their electric vehicle production efforts. Oil companies have used patent protection to keep modern battery technology from use in BEVs.



he improvement of the storage battery, by Frenchmen Gaston Plante in 1865 and by Camille Faure in 1881, paved the way for electric vehicles to flourish. France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles.

Bellis, M. (2006) "The History of Electric Vehicles: The Early Years" http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aacarselectrica.htm

The Phaeton (see picture) had a range of 18 miles and a top speed of 14 mph

The first car to break the 100km/h speed barrier was an electric car driven by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899. In his 'rocket-shaped' EV La Jamais Contente he reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h.

Another blow to BEVs was the loss of Edison's direct current electric power transmission system in the War of Currents. This deprived the BEV of the source of DC current necessary to recharge their batteries. As the technology of rectifiers was still in its infancy, producing DC current locally was unfeasible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/


Batteries for electric cars

As the following information shows, we already have all of the required battery technology. What is worthwhile noting is that Chevron Oil acquired the patent on high capacity NiMH batteries (which have the long life span), which runs out only in 2014. Chevron does not seem to use or allow anyone else to use that technology. (see also EV1 paper)


In 1995, some charging stations charged BEVs in one hour. In November 1997, Ford purchased a fast-charge system produced by AeroVironment called "PosiCharge" for testing its fleets of Ranger EVs, which charged their lead-acid batteries in between six and fifteen minutes. In February 1998, General Motors announced a version of its "Magne Charge" system which could recharge NiMH batteries in about ten minutes, providing a range of sixty to one hundred miles.


In 2005, handheld device battery designs by Toshiba were claimed to be able to accept an 80% charge in as little as 60 seconds. Anderson, C.D. and Anderson, J. (2005) "New Charging Systems" Electric and Hybrid Cars: a History (North Carolina: McFarland & Co., Inc.) ISBN 0-7864-1872-9, p. 121

However such charge rates could cause excessive heat until more efficient charging systems are developed.

Li-ion, Li-poly and zinc-air batteries have demonstrated energy densities high enough to deliver range and recharge times comparable to conventional vehicles.


In real world use, some fleet Toyota RAV4 EVs, using NiMH batteries, have exceeded 100,000 miles (160,000 km) with little degradation in their daily range.



New lithium-ion battery-equipped EVs provide 250-300 miles (400-500 km) of range per charge. http://www.acpropulsion.com/LiIon_tzero_release.pdf


Charging costs per kilometer driven are about one sixth the price of petrol or less.

Electric Car Performance

The Venturi Fetish (pictured) is capable of reaching 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, despite a relatively modest 250 horsepower, and a top speed of around 100 miles per hour. It has a range of 250km and recharges in one hour.



Some Electric Vehicle Production Announcements:

Following are some BEV models which have been announced as entering production:

The French Postal service will add 10,000 electric cars to their fleet over the next 5 years, replacing over 15% of their fleet. The changeover is expected to save 4000 tonnes of CO2 per year for each vehicle.
Testing since 2005 of Type Cleanova II electric vehicles (see above) in Paris und Bordeaux have shown them to be more reliable, cheaper to maintain, quieter and have sufficient range.

John Kopcheff, from Victoria Petroleum, says most people will drive electric cars within 30 or 40 years. "Petroleum, as actually the fuel, transport fuel, I think less and less of that we'll see being used." http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1911618.htm