Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Electric vehicles and US car industry

With unpredictable gasoline prices, oil limits, and negative effects standard gasoline powered cars have on environment, there is tendency for new solutions in transport sector, and one of those solutions are electric vehicles. One of the vehicles that got a lot of talk lately was Chevrolet's Volt extended-range electric vehicle that is permanently driven by electricity, but also uses a small petrol engine to charge its lithium-ion batteries as they become depleted. Without this boost from the petrol engine, its range is just over 64 km (about 40 miles).

The best thing about this electric vehicle is that this car can be plugged into a standard power outlet for a full recharge in less than three hours, and according to the General Motors the charging will cost less per year than running an average refrigerator. Talking about low budget vehicles.

2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Show Car.

This vehicle is only a bit larger than for instance Toyota Corolla, and the Chevrolet Volt's electric motor produces 111kW of power (150 HP) and 370Nm of torque, which should be enough to ensure satisfying performance to majority of customers. It is also interesting to mention that the first time that Chevrolet Volt was shown outside the United States is at the Australian National Motor Show in Sydney and is intended to be sold in markets in Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

This electric car should be American answer to popular Toyota's hybrid cars that are lately getting lots of attention finding home to many customers worldwide, so it is really no surprise that Toyota isn't holding back in its continuous development of hybrid cars in the future, that should be much more efficient than the Toyota's hugely successful Prius.

Toyota does not only have Prius at their disposal but also two new names, Supra HV-R, and Camry. Supra HV-R has already made its name in car history by becoming the first hybrid car to win a motor race, but what is even more important is its development process that tends to make hybrid systems significantly lighter, more powerful, and off course more efficient. Knowing the Japanese precision and quality we can expect only improvements in years to come.

2007 Toyota Supra HR-V.

Toyota plans are already big as the company plans to sell a million hybrids a year globally after 2010 and by the 2020s aims to have its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology across all vehicle series. Therefore it is really good to see American answer to this Japanese expansion in hybrid cars market, though Americans will have their hands full competing with the brand that is known for its quality like Toyota.

Generally it is very good thing to see development of these new technologies worldwide that aim to cut down our current dependence on gasoline, and fossil fuels in general. These technologies already have serious advantages over conventional technologies, especially from ecological point of view as the whole world intends to put more effort to curb down emissions in order to fight global warming.

And as these technologies are developing we should really expect more good news, especially once these technologies become cost-competitive with conventional technologies. Regarding cars, and generally entire transport sector this should happen very soon, not only because of serious steps forward to new technologies that make cars more effective, but especially because many experts believe that oil prices will again continue their rise once this financial crisis starts showing signs of recovery. Gasoline definitely doesn't look as the fuel of the future, and hybrid cars are only first step toward what future has in store for us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My interest is what would be the likely cost of operating; e.g.gals per hour vs kw per hour, an electric only vehicle's operation compared to a similar gasoline powered car