Introduction to Electric Cars
With a growing network of charging points and a push from many governments around the world to increase production of more environmentally friendly and efficient transport, electric cars are gaining a firm foot hold as the number one alternative fuel for our cars.
Electric cars use batteries or fuel cells to store the electric charge, which is used to power an electric motor. Most family sized electric vehicles are hybrid and run both an electric motor and petrol engine. Battery reliability/life, weight, size, charge time and charge life, along with various development issues at present are the main factors in the hold up of these vehicles being manufactured.
Note: It’s a good thing to remember that electricity is mostly produced at a power station that is in turn powered by fossil fuels (and lots of it). Also to build any car and all of it’s components uses a lot of energy, again oil based. Once (if) we can improve solar, wind or wave power to produce electricity more efficiently, then it will become much more emissions friendly.
Sinclair C5, wow how things have progressed!
Toyota – Electric Hybrid Car
Electric Car Point
This is a hybrid car with a 445bhp 5.0 V8 engine. Weighing in at 2270kg, it still manages 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph with it’s 8 speed semi-auto box. Of course with a CO2 of only 219g/km and 31 mpg, it’s not bad for a car this size and weight. But at around £100,000, does the person buying it care that you get 31 mpg?
Lexus LS 600h
The Zap (Zero Air Pollution) Alias is manufactured by a Californian electric car company.
Put together along with Lotus, it will have a top speed of 156mph, 0-60 of 5.7 seconds and the 2 electric motors will put out around 321hp. With 3 wheels it will have a range of about 150 miles per charge and at approximately £15,000, isn’t bad.
Zap Alias All-Electric Vehicle
Tesla, also along with Lotus (as if you couldn’t tell?) have put this electric car together. The batteries produce around 248hp and 276ftlbs of torque. 0-60 in just 4.2 seconds and an electronically set 130mph top speed. The Tesla can do 250 miles per charge.
Tesla Electric Supercar
SSC Ultimate Aero EV
Using twin electric motors producing 1000bhp and 800lbft of torque, the Aero EV can get to 60 in an amazing 2.5 secs and has an equally amazing top speed of 208mph. It has a range of between 150-200 miles on a single charge.
Made by the Lightning Car Company (British), it can get to 60mph in 4 seconds and has a top speed over 130mph. 250 miles per charge, with electric motors putting out 700hp.
Velozzi is based in Beverly Hills. With a top speed of 200mph, 0-60 under 3 seconds, it’s fast. It has a gas tank that can be run on almost any fuel (gas, biodiesel, methanol etc) which in turn charges lithium-ion battery packs, which can also be just plugged into a regular electrical outlet. Capable of doing an estimated 100-200mpg. It also has a carbon fibre body and chassis, racing transmission, brakes and suspension.
A hybrid car by Chevrolet. The batteries only allow for a 40-mile range, then use a 3 cylinder engine that can be configured for gas, ethanol or biodiesel, giving around 50mpg.
Chevrolet Volt Concept
Uses 2 electric motors, each putting out around 200bhp. Can run on electric only for 50 miles, then an engine turns a generator to charge the lithium ion battery. Once the 50-mile electric range has been exceeded, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle. A solar roof panel can be fitted to add extra charge. If you only cover 50 miles a day, you could in theory just charge it over night and use very little if any fuel. Has a top speed of 125mph and gets to 60 in around 5.8 secs.
With a 200kW (268bhp) and 480lbft of torque using an electric motor run by a lithium-ion battery, the Chrysler/Dodge Circuit can get to 60 in under 5 seconds, do over 120mph and has a range of between 150-200 miles per charge.
2009 Chrysler Circuit
Powered by 2 electric motors giving 300bhp and said to last upto 124 miles on a single charge, the Survolt can get to 60 in under 5 seconds and has a top speed in excess of 160mph.
This is fast, 0-60 in 3.07 seconds, 0-100mph in 6.87 seconds, 1/4 mile in 11.5 seconds, top speed electronically limited to 112mph, 236bhp, 182 ftlbs torque, 170mpg.
Manufactured by LiFeBATT Ltd and Mills Extreme Vehicles. Although I’m not too sure if this is still going ahead, the car was featured at Stoneleigh and boasted 500ftlbs of torque from the start and a possible 0-60 of around 4.5 seconds.
Some innovative people are already converting their cars.
Unknown Electric Sports Car