The History of Battery Electric Vehicles

Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs, predated the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. It was between 1832-1839 that Robert Anderson, a Scottish businessman, invented the first electric carriage and Professor Sibrandus Stratingh from the Netherlands designed the first small-scale electric car which was built by his assistant Christopher Becker in 1835.

The storage battery improved, firstly by Gaston Planté, a French physicist who invented the lead acid cell in 1859 and the first rechargeable battery. Then, in 1881, Camille Faure developed a more efficient and reliable battery which became so successful in the early electric cars. This discovery caused battery electric vehicles to flourish, with France and Great Britain being the first nations to support widespread development of electric vehicles.

Prior to 1900, battery electric vehicles held many speed and distance records, the most notable of which, was the breaking of the 100 km/h (60 mph) speed barrier. It was by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899 in a rocket-shaped vehicle named Jamais Contente (Never Happy) which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph).

During the early 20th Century, battery electric vehicles outsold gasoline powered vehicles and were successfully sold as town cars to upper-class customers. Because of technological limitations, these cars were limited to a top speed of about 32 km/h (20 mph). The cars were marketed as “suitable vehicles for women drivers”. Electric vehicles did not need hand-cranking to start.

One of the downfalls of the battery electric vehicle was the introduction of the electric starter in 1913. It simplified the task of starting an internal combustion engine which was previously difficult and dangerous to start with the crank handle. Another was the mass-produced and relatively cheap Ford Model-T. Finally, the loss of Edisons direct current electric power transmission system. He was battling with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla over their desire to introduce alternating current as the principal electricity distribution. Edison’s direct current was the load for electric motors.

Battery electric vehicles were limited to niche applications. Forklift trucks were battery electric vehicles when introduced in 1923. BEV golf carts which were used as neighborhood electric vehicles and were partially “street legal”. By the late 1930s, the electric automobile industry had disappeared until the invention of the point contact transistor in 1947 which started a new era of electric vehicle.

In 1959 the Henney Kilowatt was introduced and was the world’s first modern transistor-regulated electric car and the predecessor to the more recent battery electric vehicles such as General Motors EV1. Only 47 Henney Kilowatts were produced, 24 being sold as 1959 models and 8 as 1960 models. It is not clear what happened to the other 15 built but it could be possible that they were sold as 1961 or 1962 models. None of the 8 1960 models were sold to the public because of the high manufacturing costs, but were sold to the electric cooperatives who funded the project.

It is estimated that there are between four and eight Henney Kilowatt battery electric vehicles still in existence with at least two of the survivors still driven periodically.

Battery electric vehicles have had issues with high battery costs, with limited travel distances, with charging time and the lifespan of the battery, although advancements in battery technology has addressed many of those problems.

At the present time, controversy reigns over battery electric vehicles. Campaigners, (et al) for BEV’s are accusing three major US automobile manufacturers of deliberately sabotaging BEV efforts through several methods, for instance, failing to market, failing to produce appropriate vehicles, by failing to satisfy demand and using lease-only programs with prohibitions against end of lease purchase.

In their defense, the three major manufacturers they have responded that they only make what the public want and the current trend is that the public doesn’t want battery electric vehicles.

Although we have the technology to manufacture and provide BEVs, one of the biggest downfalls for the prolific production of BEVs is the extortionate cost of replacement batteries. In some cases the cost of replacement batteries can be more than the price of the whole vehicle, especially when buying used battery electric vehicles.

The Electric Cars DC Power Source Improvements

For many years the electric cars dc batteries have seen several design tests to check out different theories.

Back then prototypes were typically built to test the system designs and make adjustments before offering the final product up for sale.

Today we have costly gas and great battery technology which has actually piqued the interest in electric cars compared to the earlier years when gas was very cheap and batteries were ineffective.

With the gasoline prices what they are today and batteries being much lighter than years ago is making electric car technology a much more popular selection.

A main problem in these earlier vehicle models was the electric car dc power source. These older batteries supplied the power but were very heavy and ineffective due to this limited technology.

The issue with these vehicles was the weight of the batteries which needed motors that were more powerful, resulting in the demand for more batteries, or the length driven was very limited.

Making the power source lighter was a necessary concern over the course of the last few decades.

Finding some alternatives to electric car dc power sources meant researchers found some novel designs that decreased the demand for batteries.

One system was to put in a generator that uses gasoline and produces the electric cars dc requirements that the cars electric motor needed.

This plan proved quite easy thus keeping a band of batteries charged enough to operate the cars electric motor.

One other system tested was to have solar panels recharge the batteries hoping that this would be a functional electric car dc power generation.

This worked good on sunny days, however it was very limited for much of the year and evenings. Experimenting with this type of project helps to broaden the distance driven by the trial cars.

Curiosity in electric vehicles in the last few years is mainly due to the recent battery designs which are smaller, lighter, and the charge lasts much longer than the older types.

These modern batteries make the vehicles travel farther and faster from a single charge, plus it needs a lot less storage space.

Also these conventional batteries cost more than ordinary batteries, so electric vehicles that they are installed in will also be more expensive, and this cost must be passed on.

Prices will get lower as manufacturing improvements in building these batteries increase through time bringing them more in line with existing battery prices.

These electric vehicles are estimated by some major manufacturers to be introduced to the general public in the next two years and they will work on DC power alone.

It’s a very simple matter of plugging the car into an outlet when you get home to recharge it, plus you will also see that these vehicles drive just as good as gas vehicles.

A good number of these vehicles have a several hundred mile range and also have good enough power to keep up with traffic on highways.

Even though you will have to shell out more money for one of these cars, this expense will be offset significantly by not having to fill up with expensive gasoline when refueling.

This electric car dc technology will definitely become more popular as gasoline prices keep rising, which will increase production, as well as lower production costs to come more in line with regular car prices.

Electric Smart Cars – Rational Reasons and Results When Buying One

There are many reasons for buying any electric smart car, hybrid electric or plugin hybrid electric vehicle. The soaring costs of gas is likely the biggest and most pressing issue when considering buying an electric car. The environment and the planet is another concern. Whatever the reason, buying any BEV, PHEV or green planet-friendly automobile instead of that fossil-fuel burning internal combustion engine car, we’ll certainly have a positive effect on helping save the planet and save you money as well.

In order to make a smart electric car buying decisions, it is important to understand what the different types of electric-powered vehicles, and how smart electric cars work.

There are three types of electric assisted vehicle that utilize an electric motor of some kind. The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is as the name suggests-a battery powered vehicle. There is no other power source for the vehicle, no internal combustion engine (ICE) running on gasoline, and therefore the battery must be charged between uses, and will discharge during use until it runs out. At this point the vehicle can no longer run, so you’ll need to be near a charging point before you run out of gas, I mean electric juice.

Two types of hybrid electric vehicles offer the best of both the electric and the ICE vehicle worlds. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an electric motor to either propel the car or to increase the power. Generally the result of this is to extend the distance that it can travel on a tank of fuel, giving the hybrid electric car better fuel economy.

Lastly there is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). This runs in a largely similar way to the HEV but with one major difference-the battery can be plugged into a charging point, in order to completely charge the battery to its maximum capacity. The HEV by comparison can only charge its battery with the current generated by its ICE, or through regenerative breaking (a process in which energy is reclaimed during breaking rather than lost). By fully charging the battery the use of electrical power can be prolonged, and the use of gasoline reduced, making the PHEV the more economical of the hybrid electric vehicles.

The drive-train of a BEV is very simple-a battery powers the motor, which propels the electric vehicle. The hybrid electric vehicles will run an ICE and electric motor either in parallel or in series, with both the ICE and electric motor being able to move the electric or hybrid electric vehicle. A capacitor allows energy to be channeled back into the battery too, and in the case of the PHEV a separate charging circuit like that of the BEV is included to separately charge the hybrid electric vehicle.

There are two types of battery that are used in BEV, PHEV and HEV cars. Nickel metal hydride batteries are an older technology, and one that suffers from battery degradation more quickly than others. Newer, lithium-ion batteries are far more efficient, as well as longer lasting in both electric and hybrid electric vehicles. They don’t suffer from memory formation like nickel metal hydride batteries, and tend to be able to provide more power for the engine than the alternative.

Older hybrid electric vehicles may still use lead-acid batteries, but these are generally now considered bad for the environment, and are no longer used.

There are pros and cons to making the move to an electric or hybrid vehicle. They are cheaper to run than ICE cars and have good speed, and hybrid electric vehicles have good range too. But the BEV class can run generally for only up to 40-200 miles, leading to what is known as range anxiety. Hybrid electric vehicles overcome by using the ICE as well, giving vastly superior range.

Another downside is that the batteries wear out and need replacing. This is an expensive part on the car, and on a BEV the battery failure means that the car will completely fail to run. A hybrid at least has its ICE on which to fall back.

However, the overall running costs to the owner are far less than for a vehicle with an ICE. The electric or hybrid electric vehicle has less moving parts and so less chances of failure that needs repair. Fuel efficiency of a hybrid is hugely increased, saving money for every mile driven, and for a BEV is even less as electrical energy is cheaper than gas.

One of the biggest benefits to these vehicles is to the planet. Our oil reserves are finite and dwindling, and their continued use in this way further pollutes the environment. Moving to electric or hybrid electric vehicles will drastically reduce the pollutants emitted, and will slow the rate at which our planet’s natural resources are exhausted.

As far as the economy is concerned, electric and hybrid vehicles could be very positive development. The production of large numbers of these vehicles would require the building or converting manufacturing factories, and the hiring of workers to staff the factories. Claims are often made that our economy is heavily reliant on oil, and that moving away from it would destroy us, but the truth is quite different. By embracing these technologies, our economy can shift its dependence from oil onto alternatives, just as our motoring needs do.

An all-electric or hybrid vehicle may cost a little more to insure than a gas vehicle. Though a small saving is possible thanks to the improved risk profile of people who own electric vehicles, other costs are higher. However, repairing electric or hybrid vehicles currently costs more because there are fewer of these vehicles on the road, and because spare parts are less abundant. This increases repair costs, which insurance companies pass on to owners. Savings in running costs can help offset this.

Options are varied when considering purchasing one of these cars, giving potential owners a good range of choice when it comes to the power, size and range of their vehicle. The following are currently available or soon to be released, highway ready environmentally-friendly cars. Full details are not available for some of those cars that are not yet on sale.

The Nissan Leaf is an all electric car doing 100 miles per charge and up to 90 mph, and starting at $33,720. This is a modern looking car with a reasonable range, and a competitive pricing. The Tesla Roaster is also all-electric, with an incredible 245 miles per charge, 125 mph top speed, and costs starting at $101,500. This is a stunning looking car with an equally stunning performance-and a range like no other electric car.

The Smart-ED all-electric model has a 98 mile maximum range, and a top speed of 60 mph. This small car will be perfect for city driving. Starting at $599 a month for a four year lease.

Ford’s own all electric car-the Ford Focus has yet to be released but is expected to have a range in excess of 100 miles per charge. This car will be available from late 2011, and looks to provide all of the high-tech options that people may want, in a very stylish exterior. Final price and other details have yet to be released.

Chevrolet’s Volt is a PHEV that is capable of speeds of 100 mph. Fuel economy depends on how often you charge the battery, with official figures released at 60 mpg using gas and electric combined. Prices start at $32,780, giving this a reasonable price tag along with good performance.

Toyota’s Prius is a PHEV that has an incredible range of 475 miles on a single tank of gas, when using combined gas and the electric motor. Unfortunately, since it won’t be available till early 2012 there are no more details regarding performance and pricing.

A full hybrid version of the Toyota Prius is also available, with a base price of $23,520. With a combined mileage of 50mpg and a top speed of 112 mph, it has enough power and efficiency for anyone. This is a tried and trusted hybrid car with a good reputation.

Ford’s Fusion has a hybrid version as well, with a starting price of $19,820. With a 700 mile range per full tank of fuel, and 41 mpg, it is powerful and sleek, and has the range to take you wherever you want to go.

The Escalade hybrid from Cadillac is a luxury SUV, and so it’s price tag is a little larger, at $74,135. Fuel efficiency is good for an SUV at up to 23 mpg and a range of up to 575 miles per tank. This SUV balances the needs of a larger family with the desire to be a little more environmentally friendly, and does so with incredible style.