Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Economist: "Government and the electric car"

Link to The Economist

"To paraphrase a frequent judgment on Brazil, electric cars are the technology of the future, and they always will be. In the past, the development of electric-vehicle technology has been stymied by unfortunately-timed drops in the price of petrol. Now, as a post at Babbage explains, EVs are facing intense competition from rapidly improving petrol vehicles.

"Batteries remain very expensive to produce, and carmakers are actually quite good at squeezing ever more miles from conventional engines and hybrids, when market conditions demand it. It seems quite possible, in fact, that enormous efficiency improvements in more traditional engines will keep full EVs a niche product, until more fundamental changes occur in car markets.

"There might never be a day in which most, or even a meaningful minority, of the personal cars sitting in garages are fully electric.

Link to web site
Detroit Electric: "So you think electric cars are something new?" 

"Most people think that electric cars are a recent phenomenon. The truth is that in the early 1900's the electric car was a common site on the American road. Electric cars were used in a large part by women and doctors. Doctors needed a car that they could get in and go, and gasoline engines were not that easy to start or reliable. Because hand cranking a car was difficult to say the least and could be downright dangerous, the electric cars were very popular with women. In fact, one of the downfalls of early electric cars was that they were thought of as a women's car, and men did not want to be seen driving them. Another downfall was the invention of the electric starter in 1911.

"There were other factors in the demise of the electric car. The price of a Detroit Electric in 1914 was about $2,650, and if you wanted to upgrade to the Edison Nickel Iron batteries that went up about $600. At the same time you could buy a new model T for that same $600."

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