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Electric Vehicles’ Potential

December 13, 2009

Why electricity:

O dear! Fuel Prices have risen! Yeeha! Fuel Prices have fallen!! Well this sort of stuff really makes me sick. Fuel prices are ever rising and the costs of operating your own vehicle are getting higher-and-higher. Why not look for a cheaper, less polluting alternative? The answer is electricity! Over the past few years, due to continuous fluctuations in fuel prices, people have been encouraged to develop better and more advanced electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have become hugely popular especially in countries where fuel prices are pretty high like the UK and Ireland.

Electric Cars:

Until recently, electric cars have been tiny, their batteries were limited and were poor performer. Recently several new manufacturers like NICE Car Company, Reva Cars etc have been developing good sized, electric cars:

The Reva or G-Wiz:

The Reva or G-Wiz(in UK) is an electric car first developed in India and is the first electric car to have made its debut in India.  Reva is a 2-seat mini-vehicle, available at around 400K-500K Rupees in India. It has a reasonable range of 80-100 kilometres (45-60 miles) and can attain a top speed of 60 km/hour. Reva’s major setback was its high price (at the same price one could get a decent 4 seat car with a good sized boot in India). However over the long run, Reva can save you a lot of money. A few month ago, a new model of the Reva called Reva-i was released. This new Reva uses technology similar to a hybrid, by converting the energy released by braking, into electric energy.

The  NICE Mega City:

The NICE Mega City is considerably larger than the Reva. It is available in either a 2 seater or 2+2 seater combination. The Mega City uses maintenance-free lead batteries which give it a range of 100 km (62 miles). Right now it is only sold in UK from £10K . The considerably larger e-City Pro offers an even larger boot space of almost 800 litres (200 gallons). It is exempted from tax, congestion charge and is VAT free. This is an excellent alternative to a Fiat 500 (which starts from £8K) or any other 2 seater car at this price range.

The Fiat e500:

This car is an electric conversion of the poplar Fiat 500. It has a very high top speed (as compared to Reva/Mega City) of 100 km/hour (62 miles an hour) and a good range of 120 km (75 miles). It’s interior is quite similar to that of the 500 and this car too has congestion charge and tax exempt. It’s only problem is: Price. this car is priced at over £25K and only a real savy person would be ready to buy it.

The Quiet Car 2:

This is the first full-sized, family car that runs on electricity. It has five doors and can seat upto five people. It can attain a top speed of 50 miles an hour (85 km/hour) and has a maximum range of 60 miles (100 km). The manufacturer claims that every 100 miles run on this car will add just £1 to your electricity bills. The car costs £12K and has good sized 13″ tyres.

Major car-companies debut into the electric vehicle’s market:

In 2010, several major companies, like Chevrolet and Hyundai debuted into the electric car market. Chevrolet introduced an electric version of their Spark(known as Matiz in some countries) which is expected to release sometime in 2010. Hyundai on the other hand launched an electric version of it’s i10. Both these cars are expected to have a $2000-$3000 premium over the standard models. Although not much is known of the specifications of these cars, some details of the i10-electric however, have been leaked.

i10-Electric (Unconfirmed) Specifications:

49 kW motor

16 kWh Battery

Max range of 160 km (100 miles)

5 hours to fully charge; 15 minutes to 85% charge.

i10 Electric

Electric Trucks:

This field is not as developed as the electric cars field but some manufacturers such as NICE have ventured into manufacturing trucks. I for on believe this field may have huge potential and may cut down transport costs greatly.

NICE Mega MultiTruck:

The NICE Mega MultiTruck is available in several configurations. The versions available are Pick-up, Van, Tipper, Drop-Side, Skip-Tipper etc. The truck is available from £11K. It has a range of 100 km (62 miles) and a top speed of 45 km/hour (30 miles an hour). I think this speed should suffice for most operations. A more powerful variant is also available called MegaWorker, which can carry more payload. The truck’s running cost is about 2pence/mile. The only significant setback this truck suffers from is its range(of only 100km). It’s range will limit long-haul operations. An answer to this would be carrying an extra battery while battery changing could take anything upto 10 minutes. This practise could double the range.

The van variant of MegaTruck

The Future of Electric Vehicles:

In my opinion, electric vehicles have a huge future market potential. As fossil fuels become more and more scarce and expensive, electricity is the only worthy alternative left. Batteries are also being developed to last longer and carry more power. Electric vehicles would also become the ultimate emission-cutters. Businesses could save colossal amount of money if electric transport is used. Well an electric future awaits us!!

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