The 2013 automotive calendar year for electric vehicles is seeing leaps and bounds when it comes to innovations of this emerging technology. Before we get into the latest technological improvements of electric vehicles, we will go over the basics of what an electric vehicle is. Learning some background information on electric vehicles is essential to understanding what the 2013 model year features for electric car innovations.
As the name implies, an electric vehicle is powered with an electric motor An electric vehicle is sometimes referred to as an electric car or EV. An electric motor works by receiving energy via a controller, which modulates the amount of power available to the engine which is based on using the car’s gas pedal. It uses power found in the car’s battery bank. An electric car’s batteries are commonly recharged with normal household electricity.
Although electric cars have been around since the 1820s, they have not really taken off on any sort of mass scale production because of primitive and limited battery technology. However, with the advent of battery technology rapidly improving in the last ten years or so, electric vehicles have been able to be produced on a mass scale. Other technology, which has limited large scale production of electric vehicles, includes extremely low driving ranges, very long charging times for electric car batteries and auto makers not producing them because it wasn’t profitable. However, in the last few years, and especially with the 2013 models, things are changing for the better of the electric car market. With improvements in battery storage capabilities, shorter charging times and overall reduced costs, more and more auto makers are able to produce electric cars more efficiently and more reasonably priced.
There are some notable highlights about the advantages of electric vehicles compared to conventional gas powered engines. Electric cars utilize energy much more efficiently than gas power engines – 59 to 62% compared to 17 to 21%. When green energy is used to charge an electric vehicle and while the electric vehicle is operated, there is virtually no carbon foot-print on the environment. Electric cars require far less maintenance, have a fraction of the noise and have a smoother operation than conventional gas powered engines.
It only makes sense that for the 2013 model year, car makers are coming out with some really great and innovate electric cars. As Bob Lutz, the Vice Chairman of General Motors said, “The electrification of the automobile is inevitable.” As more and more emerging markets come online and build their industries, European, Asian and American Automakers are getting a run for the money. European carmaker BMW is coming out with its Megacity model. It is a futuristic-looking 3-door 4-seat hatchback coupe electric vehicle. Size-wise, it is tinier compared to the Honda Fit, and drives up to 100 miles on a single charge. It features a 150 horsepower all electric motor which tops out at 95 miles per hour.
In contrast, Chinese automakers — yes, we said Chinese – are getting into the electric car market to compete with their Asian, European and American automakers. Industry insiders believe the BYD E6 is packed full of promises, and if it delivers, the world-wide electric car market can be revolutionized by yet another manufacturing revolution from China. This car is a five-passenger wagon plenty capable of carrying five Americans, kids and adults. The predicted travel range from a single charge is anywhere from 200 to 250 miles. Going from zero to 60 is accomplished is less than 10 seconds and the maximum speed is a generous 100 miles. According to the manufacturer, you can charge this car to half its capacity in only 10 minutes and in five more minutes it is at 80 percent capacity.
Although there are automakers from the established luxury market and newcomer automakers from emerging markets, established American and Japanese carmakers are still leading the pack when it comes to the everyday person. The Ford Focus Electric Vehicle or simply EV has been around since 2011 and has seen improvements year after year. While this car cannot compete with other electric cars on looks, it certainly has an edge when it comes to price. The 2013 model is expected to be anywhere from the mid to upper $30,000’s; however, when you factor in the federal tax credit, it is very competitive with most conventional gas engine cars. Some notable attributes of this car are that is only takes three to four hours while charging at 240 volts, has a 100 mile driving range and can reach a top speed of 84 miles per hour.
Some notable Japanese Electric car innovations are illustrated by Mitubishi’s iMiEV all electric car. Designed and originally available only to Japanese customers with its 2009 models, it started off only being made a couple thousand per year. Model year after model year has seen increased production numbers and increased efficiency and power. Coming in at around $30,000 for the 2013 model, this iMiEV gets about 75 miles on a fully charge and reaches top speed of 80 miles per hour. The car has an extremely tiny hood, but its interior can easily hold four adults in an efficient and comfortable manner.
Although the 2012 electric vehicle models are varied among manufacturer, there is great promise for electric vehicles. There has been great innovation over the past 20 to 30 years and even greater innovation over the last 5 years or so. More and more people are seeing the potential of electrical vehicles, but there some things that must be addressed before they are adopted on a large scale. Some hurdles that need to be overcome include limited battery capacity, a lack of charging stations on a wide scale and some issues with car fires from electric cars. However, as technology and human innovation has proven in the past with space exploration and other previously unimaginable technologies, it seems like it is only a matter of time before electric vehicles are ubiquitous as gas engine powered vehicles.