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Electric Vehicles: Charging a Way to the Future

Plug-in electric vehicles are here to stay, and {complink 7526|Semico Research Corp.} believes that these vehicles will be in high demand by consumers. There are many advantages that electric vehicles provide. A lower gas bill is just the start. They also have fewer moving parts, resulting in higher reliability, a quieter motor than internal combustion vehicles, lower maintenance costs, and significantly lower operational costs.

Here at Semico, we already have two employees with plug-in electric vehicles. (We only have 10 employees.) I just recently acquired a Chevrolet Volt, and our CTO, Tony Massimini, purchased a Nissan Leaf. Both cars have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

The Chevy Volt is nicely designed and well put together, with a solid feel and good, crisp handling. From a performance standpoint, the Volt's electric motor is comparable to a 250HP internal combustion engine with 273 pound-feet of torque. This rating is benchmarked at all RPMs. The single-speed electric motor eliminates the transmission, which contributes to a simpler design.

The Chevy Volt has a 16kW battery of which 10kW is dedicated to the all-electric propulsion. The remaining 6kW is a buffer for use during the extended range mode and for redundancy to ensure long battery life. The battery life is rated for 100,000 miles.

One of the features that I found especially efficient is the car's regenerative breaking system. It takes some of the energy from the moving vehicle and turns it back into electrical energy. This energy is then stored back into the high-voltage battery, contributing to increased energy efficiency. The braking system is computer controlled and blends the regenerative braking with the conventional hydraulic disk brakes. The controller interrupts the braking request and uses regenerative braking, conventional hydraulic, or a combination of both to ensure effective braking while saving energy.

The Chevy Volt can also boast an industry first. It is the only electric vehicle with a liquid cooled battery. The unique feature is a lithium ion battery that is immersed in a liquid coolant, which maintains the battery’s temperature between 60ºF and 80ºF during charging as well as discharging. The Nissan Leaf has an air cooled battery, which does not have the capability of maintaining the battery temperatures at optimal levels.

So far, I have been able to drive 38 to 50 miles on one charge in the Volt using the 10kW from the battery. After that is consumed, the electric generator kicks on to operate the vehicle. During deceleration, the battery will recharge. Depending on driving conditions, the car will switch back and forth from battery to the generator as needed. I've been driving the car for about one month, and so far I've gotten 42 miles per gallon after the first 40 electric miles. That means the total range for the vehicle could be as high as 400 miles. I haven't tested the full range yet. Since I've only had the car for less than a month, most trips have been well under 40 miles, and I've rarely used the gasoline generator.

Another great feature of the Chevy Volt is the on-the-fly switchable driving mode, including normal, sport, and mountain. The normal mode provides the most efficient use of energy and the longest range for the battery. The sport mode provides quicker acceleration and consumes the stored energy quicker. The mountain mode provides additional electricity to the motor when driving through mountainous terrain. It is recommended that drivers should utilize this option 30 minutes prior to entering mountainous terrain.

The Nissan Leaf has a 32kW battery with a less powerful electric motor and no onboard generator, with a 98-mile electric range. Like the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf is well put together, quiet, and stylish.

I have read several articles warning people not to buy plug-in electric vehicles, citing the large initial cost and the potential for a much higher electric bill. I always wonder who's behind those articles. Could they be shills for the oil companies? The increase in a monthly electric bill doesn't even come close to the monthly cost of gas, even compared to the most efficient combustion engine vehicle.

So let's talk dollars and cents.

The current standard electric rate in Arizona is $0.105 per kilowatt hour. If a homeowner opts for a time-of-day rate, the off-peak rate is $0.06 per kilowatt hour, and there is a super-saver rate for electric vehicles of $0.035 per kilowatt hour. For this analysis, let's use the standard per kilowatt hour and the super-saver rate, which applies from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

My last 110 miles in the Chevy Volt consumed 24.7kW. Multiply that by the $0.105 per kilowatt rate, and the result is a total cost of only $2.59, or an electric cost of $0.0235 per mile. Compare that to an internal combustion vehicle that gets 40 miles to the gallon. One would consume 2.75 gallons to drive the same 110 miles. The cost for that gasoline ($4.00/gal) would be $11, which is $0.10 a mile. So after 50,000 miles, the gasoline powered vehicle would consume $5,000.00 in gas, while the electric cost would equal $1,178.86 on the standard rate and $392.95 on the super-saver night rate.

While the initial price of electric vehicles is higher than a standard gasoline powered vehicle, there are savings in the operational costs and most likely in the maintenance. And of course, there's the added benefit of knowing I'm reducing our dependence on foreign oil and making my small contribution to the environment. It's definitely a good feeling. I can say that I am happy that this technology remained in the US and did not end up in China.

After driving the Chevy Volt for a month, I believe the federal government made the right decision to give {complink 12709|General Motors} a loan, which it is paying back with interest. GM has reinvented itself and is producing state-of-the-art technology vehicles like the Volt and the best-selling compact car, the Cruze.

58 comments on “Electric Vehicles: Charging a Way to the Future

  1. prabhakar_deosthali
    November 23, 2011

    No doubt Electric vehicles are The Thing as far as environment friendliness is concerned – Zero emission and very low acoustic noise.  Also the advantage of very low running cost !

     

    So what is stopping all those gasolene car owners from switching to these EVs?

    In my opinion it is because of the following

    a. The initial high cost of EVs

    b. Long recharge time ( typically 8 hours) for the batteries compared to the gas refill which happens in minutes

    c. The high cost of battery replacement after the end of life of initial batteries

    d. Explosion risks associated with high charge density batteries

     

    Until these issues are tackled, Evs will be only a choice of select few , not masses.

     

     

     

  2. Houngbo_Hospice
    November 23, 2011

    ” there's the added benefit of knowing I'm reducing our dependence on foreign oil and making my small contribution to the environment.”

    This is an important factor that people use to overlook, because they don't feel responsible for the deterioration of the environment. But I do agree that each of us has a role to play to preserve our common inheritage. Having said that, I also reckon that electric vehicles are still expensive for the average consumer and we can expect a mainstream adoption in a few years when they become more affordable.

  3. Houngbo_Hospice
    November 23, 2011

    @prabhakar_deosthali

    “. The high cost of battery replacement after the end of life of initial batteries”

    What is the lifespan of those batteries and how much do they actually cost?  My opinion is that future electric cars batteries will be more efficient. 

  4. Himanshugupta
    November 23, 2011

    i agree that the environmental friendliness is one important factor that we missed in the article. But EV is not the only technology providing this advantage, i guess the fuel cell based technology would have the same benefit. 

    Sometime ago, Bolaji had also written about the Volt and his impression about the Volt, which was positive overall. The initial high cost puts Volt to a discouraging spot. What about other comparisons such as the power, pickup, space(luggage) as compare to the conventional car?

  5. Anna Young
    November 23, 2011

    @Prahabkar_Deosthali, I ask myself the same questions and I have to agree with you that it is likely adoption has not been as strong because people want these issues resolved first. The battery replacement issue is a major concern. Many people own vehicles that are more than 10 years old and if they have to spend thousands just to replace the battery that's a major future cost they have to consider and weigh carefully before buying.

    With gas combustion engine, you know the technology is well tested, adoption rate is high and you can resell the vehicle without experiencing any problems. You can't say the same about hybrid or electric vehicles.

  6. AnalyzeThis
    November 23, 2011

    @prabhakar_deosthali, you mostly list valid issues… but these are all things that will improve and become cheaper once the technology gets better and production scales up. There are so many examples of electronics which started out as “too expensive” only to become super cheap years later. MicroSD's used to cost $100 a gig or so just a handful of years ago and now they're a couple bucks.

    But yes, you are correct at first the market will be small. EV's probably won't be common until another generation from now at the earliest.

    Just one thing I really didn't agree with though: “Explosion risks associated with high charge density batteries.” First of all, if this were really a giant concern somebody would have been injured by this during testing. Secondly, how are regular cars any safer when you're sitting on gallons of highly combustible liquid? You could make that same argument with regular cars; there are explosion risks with them too, obviously.

  7. Daniel
    November 24, 2011

    Jim, coming out of gas engine is a good move towards renewable energy. I think we have to give more emphasis on developments of solar charged vehicles rather than electrically charged vehicles. Natural resources are abundant and by effective using of it, we can move towards more green and ecco friendly.

  8. Daniel
    November 24, 2011

    Jim, coming out of gas engine is a good move towards renewable energy. I think we have to give more emphasis on developments of solar charged vehicles rather than electrically charged vehicles. Natural resources are abundant and by effective using of it, we can move towards more green and ecco friendly.

  9. FLYINGSCOT
    November 24, 2011

    I own a Prius.   I don't think of it as an electric car (hybrid) as I still fill it up with gasoline like a regular car.  As such I don't need to fret over how to get it recharged etc. Compared to other cars that get 60 mpg (Imp gallons) its drive is much smoother and more powerful because of the technology in there.  It is 6 years old, has done 120k miles and never missed a beat once.  If the Chevy proves to be as good as that it will do well.  As for the Leaf the range is too small to be practical for general consumption.  Might do well for city only use but it is very expensive.

  10. SunitaT
    November 24, 2011

    So what is stopping all those gasolene car owners from switching to these EVs?

    @prabhakar_deosthali, to add to your list, one more major reason why people don't prefer electric vehicles in India is because of irregular power supply. During summer some parts of India get electricity  only 12 hours per day. So its pretty difficult to own such vehicles when you know you can't charge those vehicles regularly.

  11. SunitaT
    November 24, 2011

    I think we have to give more emphasis on developments of solar charged vehicles rather than electrically charged vehicles.

    @Jacob, I totally agree with you on this. This would definitely solve our dependency on electricy to charge our vehicles. I am not sure if currently any company is doing research on that ?

  12. prabhakar_deosthali
    November 24, 2011

    Here in India a couple of years back all the two wheeler manufacturers were quite eager to introduce Electric Scooters, by seeing that such vehicles have become very popular in Chinese metros. I my self was part of the EV two wheeler project for one of the company.

    About 10 companies announced their product introductions and opened showrooms across India.

    The rising gasolene prices was supposed to be the pull factor in favour of these EVs

    Now today we see most these showrooms have shut their shop and the manufacturing companies have quietly disconituned EV manufactruing.

    Unless EVs are available at comparable prices and unless we have a kind of Battery swapping ( exchange the discharged battery with a freshly recharged battery in minutes) , EVs are unlikely to be the vehicles of masses.

     

  13. Kunmi
    November 24, 2011

    The solar charged vehicle will be the best way to go. Electric charged vehicles are good innovations but you still have to pay electric bills. Natural energy to charge vehicles will be accepted world-wide

     

  14. Taimoor Zubar
    November 24, 2011

    I think hybrid cars with combined electrical and solar technology would ultimately lead the way in energy savings as well as be environmentally friendly. Solar or electric cars alone will continue to have their shortcomings.

  15. Kunmi
    November 24, 2011

    Do you have the idea of how much it can cost to charge the electric car on monthly basis if you choose to charge it everyday? I will like to know if anyone has the idea. It is then that we can determine which one is cost effective.

  16. Houngbo_Hospice
    November 24, 2011

    @kunmi:

    Solar powered electric cars can be more efficient in sunshine regions. (see http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/). Batteries are charged on the go, but the technology is still in its infancy. “With the SEV solar system, the Toyota Prius can operate up to 30 miles per day in electric mode”. There is still room for improvement.

  17. Houngbo_Hospice
    November 24, 2011

    “Do you have the idea of how much it can cost to charge the electric car on monthly basis if you choose to charge it everyday?”

    You may not need to charge your car everyday unless you use it. According to the article, 110 miles in the Chevy Volt consumed 24.7kW. Multiply that by the $0.105 per kilowatt rate, and the result is a total cost of only $2.59, or an electric cost of $0.0235 per mile.   ”   The average one-way   commute  time for americans is a drive-time of 25 minutes per day ( (over an  average distance  of 16 miles ).  This means you don't have to charge your car every night.

  18. Brian Keez
    November 24, 2011

    I purchased an electric vehicle (EV) to get off of gasoline and it saves money. I switched from a 37 MPG Toyota Echo, which I own, to the LEAF, which I lease. I have saved over $200 after two months of ownership, including insurance. EV's far exceed internal combustion engine cars in performance, comfort and cost. Oh, our environment benefits as well. I have used lithium ion batteries for years in my mobile electronics, so I do know that technology and don't expect any surprises. The battery will last at least 8 years and at that point, only failing modules need replacing, not the entire battery. Which is, even at the current price point, is less expensive than the eight year cost of owning an ICE. Lack of DC quick charging installations are the major drawback, not range. I have access to just one quick charger right now and it is what enables me to drive the 150+ miles a day to various locations. After more of those are installed, the charge time will not be an issue.

  19. Nemos
    November 24, 2011

    I liked your article very much because it is full of details and has a spirit of “hope.” I want also to focus on this part I found especially efficient is the car's regenerative breaking system.” And saying that now it is time to have a new model of producing-consuming energy. As we have learned from the school when you transform energy from one form to another you lose a part of it. However, today technology is in the position to “take” the lost energy back (at least a part of it) one great example is the regenerative breaking system.

  20. Daniel
    November 24, 2011

    Renewable energies are the future of energy sources. We cannot rely to the traditional ways of electricity production because; such resources are not reliable always. So I think some R &D has to happens about using renewable energies in vehicles.

  21. FLYINGSCOT
    November 25, 2011

    @gotmyleaf……..Glad to hear from a real Nissan Leaf driver.  If you forget costs what are the pros and cons of owning the Leaf versus your previous conventional car.

  22. Damilare
    November 25, 2011

    I definitely agree that electric vehicles are the cars of the near future, giving both savings on costs and the additional environmnental gains from almost zero carbon emissions. However, I am choosing to comment on statement about the how it saves the reliance on foreign oil companies.

    The fact is that the electricity generated which is then used to charge an electrical is to a large extent derived from fosssil fuels combustion, which means that eventhough you do not go to the gas station to fill up your car with gasoline, you still use electricity made from petroleum. Until, world electricity is fully decarbonised and derived from renewable energy then we cannot get the maximum gains from electric vehicles…

  23. t.alex
    November 25, 2011

    This is a very enjoying article. In fact one of the most down-to-earth review of electric vehicles so far i have ever read.

  24. Damilare
    November 25, 2011

    I absolutely agree with you, making the charging points' infrastructure widely available will increase confidence in electric cars.

    The UK government through the department of transport has recently approved funds to the tune of £30 million pounds to run a pilot programme that would see the installation of up to 8500 charging points for electric cars. This might seem small when looking at a big country like the USA, but for a compact country like the UK it is a big leap by the government and a laudable one at that.

  25. stochastic excursion
    November 25, 2011

    Widely available electric vehicles in the United States is long overdue.  Was this a mandate that came out of the GM bailout?  Maybe this is one thing we can credit the Obama administration for.

  26. _hm
    November 25, 2011

    Very nice article. Kudos to you.

    You mentioned about disavantages, but you have not highlighted them. Will you please please list them in your next article?

     

  27. Brian Keez
    November 25, 2011

    FLYINGSCOT – here are the quick pros and cons that come to mind;

    LEAF pros: Quieter, smoother (no shifting, no fumes), less stressful to drive, less expensive, re-fueling is clean and odorless and done at home, I don't HAVE to go to petro/gas stations, no petroleum-based liquids required, no belts, no emissions testing, a tremendous amount of maintenance is not attached to ownership.

    LEAF cons: Battery capacity limits range by 75% compared to my old car.  Refueling points are scarce, making long-range trips difficult.

      

  28. Damilare
    November 26, 2011

    Nice and conscise.

    I wonder if carrying a spare battery that will be easily changeable by the owner might give electric cars like the leaf some extra range. I guess that depends on the size and cost of the battery.

    You use a leaf, does it come with a massive battery?

  29. JADEN
    November 26, 2011

    The features of Electric Vehicles hold great promise.  While it has simpler mechanics than fuel injection engine, when things go wrong as they are inevitably will, hope the repair is as easy available as fuel injection.

  30. JADEN
    November 26, 2011

    Given the importance of the battery to an electric car, you might wonder what will happen as that battery grows older. How long will it be able to power the car? And when it finally dies, can it be replaced or is it simply more economical to buy a new car?

  31. Anne
    November 26, 2011

    The solar source of power is a good idea, but does it mean the car must be in the sun at nearly all times to be effective, if you're driving in a tunnel, a covered parking garage or even if it's cloudy? I dont see solar-powered being very practical.

  32. Anne
    November 26, 2011

    Good to know of great features of Electric Vehicles, what about the charging disadvantage, assuming the owner lives in an apartment with no garage or park on the street.  The car need to be charged at night and if there is no area to plug it in then will either simply not work or be too cumbersome to do, for instance, dragging an extension cord across the sidewalk and having your neighbor trip over it, this could be a limitation.

  33. Kunmi
    November 26, 2011

    How I wish that solar cars are designed for continuous charging of the vehicle not only when we park the car. It does not neccessarily mean that it has to be sunshine before we can get solar energy. It is always there but when we have sunshine, we get more of the solar energy. As some people preferred electric cars which I will consider not cost effective. Developing countries where electricity is not stable will not find it fascinating whereas solar type may be the best tool for them. Our world is full of varieties: isn't it?

  34. Anna Young
    November 27, 2011

    The battery is the main Achilles heel of the electric vehicle. It's so massive it can't be easily replaced and a replacement can't just be stocked at home by a buyer. It's also the most expensive part in the vehicle, which means the idea of a consumer simply walking into a store and purchasing one is hardly a good option.

  35. Brian Keez
    November 27, 2011

    A spare battery isn't a viable option. Here's a picture of the LEAF's battery; http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/nissan_leaf_battery_a.jpg it's large and heavy. There is a company called Better Place that has a system to swap batteries in EV's. It's being used in some places but the LEAF doesn't work with that system. Range is not that big of an issue for me. I go beyond the range often but there are charging stations available. It is a lifestyle change but the trade-off is worth it to me. There is a lot of talk about what EV's cannot do but the only real issue is infrastructure. If every petro-station had a DC quick charger, the conversation would shift to the limitations and high cost of ICE vehicles.

  36. Damilare
    November 27, 2011

    Thanks for the link. You are right, a spare battery is not an option. I hope improvement in technology down the line can yield smaller sized powerful batteries

  37. FLYINGSCOT
    November 27, 2011

    I like the concept of a new electric “gas” station where you roll in and a robotic system built into the ground quickly removes your drained battery from below your car and replaces it with a fully charged one.  In theory this could be done if the cars were designed this way and the infrastructure put in place.  What does everyone else think?

  38. Damilare
    November 27, 2011

    A spare battery is not manageable, infrastructure seems to be the key, lets hope the pressure on the Governments to cut down emissions will lead to increased investments in charging points.

  39. Damilare
    November 27, 2011

    Its a cool idea worthy of  a Scifi movie…

    But wouldn't that require a lot of space to store a large number of big sized batteries? It might save some space and effort if the technology produces robots that can charge up a battery within minutes instead..

  40. prabhakar_deosthali
    November 28, 2011

    This idea of a Battery Station is worth exploring from the commercial angle as it can boost the viability of using EVs on highways .

    In fact I had once worked out the economics behind setting up such a charging station and it can be a profitable business. BY having a centralised battery charging staion , it will be more economical to charge the batteries by a centralised charging system than  doing it at every home by the individual by using the personal chargers. 

     

    It will be convenient, cost effective and if the batter replacement happens in a matter of minutes who will care for using the gasolene cars?

    With intelliigent battery monitoring system installed in every battery pack , it will be possible to keep track of remaining battery life, no of charge cycles applied, and all that information.

     

    This concept is worth exploring and the future EVs should be designed with this concept in mind.

     

  41. Adeniji Kayode
    November 28, 2011

    Solar cars will soon be the next main project and this electric cars are the clue to it.

  42. Adeniji Kayode
    November 28, 2011

    That is not likely going to be a problem, the buyer will definately carry out his or her own research before buying.What is the point buying what you dont have enough resources for.

  43. Adeniji Kayode
    November 28, 2011

    That was a good point which may not seem to be a problem now because the manufacturers will promise making spare battery available but how often do i have to change this battery in a year or within six months because the best of battery is still battery.

  44. Adeniji Kayode
    November 28, 2011

    @Anne, The fact that a car is a solar recharged does not make it independent of using battery. It just means that the battery that stores the energy used by the car is being charges by solar energy. The battery thing is still an essential part of the car. But instead of having to park for some time to charge , you cann do that while still driving because the source or means of charging is just above you- the sun

  45. Barbara Jorgensen
    November 28, 2011

    Until now, I hadn't seen the costs for EVs broken down to dollars and cents. That is a fantastic data point and a good argument in favor of EVs. They are still a little pricey upfront, as you mentioned, but look like a great long-term investment. Thanks for the analysis!

  46. Anne
    November 28, 2011

    @Adeniji Kayode

    I understand your point, but have you heard about the Stanford University Solar Car in October 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia.  The car electrical system only depends on solar source with no battery, that's the area I'm looking at.

  47. JADEN
    November 28, 2011

    @Kunmi,

    You are right that solar source of energy is available, but not at night time hours. It's only derived only from light and heat of the sun, it's necessary to have sunlight and you have to have the proper storage system in order to utilize solar energy resources after sundown.

  48. Adeniji Kayode
    November 28, 2011

    @Anne, Thanks, I feel that may not be too good if to say you want to eradicate the battery. what of if you have to go out at night and you don,t have a reserve any where.

  49. Tim Votapka
    November 28, 2011

    How fitting this post on EVs comes out this week. Just today I pulled in an interesting piece of historical trivia from NPR's “The Writer's Almanac.”

    The first American automobile race took place on this date in 1895. It was put on by the Chicago Times-Herald , and it was open to cars with at least three wheels that could carry two or more people (the driver and a judge). The race, 54 miles in all, ran from Chicago's Jackson Park out to Evanston, Illinois, and back.

    It was Thanksgiving Day, and it had snowed the night before. None of the automobiles had roofs, and none of the roads were paved, so conditions for a race weren't optimal. Out of the original 89 entrants, only six were at the starting line on race day. Two of them were American-made electric cars; the other four — one of them American and three built by German manufacturer Karl Benz — were gasoline-powered. Four of the cars eventually dropped out due to the poor conditions, and it came down to American Frank Duryea and one of the Benz machines. Duryea prevailed, reaching a top speed of 7.5 miles per hour, and crossing the finish line after several breakdowns and a little over 10 hours. The German car limped home two hours later, driven by the referee; its driver had collapsed, exhausted. Duryea used his $2,000 winnings to start the Duryea Motor Wagon Company.

    The Benz name we know well. Duryea, on the other hand, may not be as famous though there is a Long Island street named after him just off a the main drag where many distributors once hung their hats.

  50. bolaji ojo
    November 28, 2011

    Tvotapka, A bit of history that demonstrates we've known about the possibility of electric vehicles for a long time yet they don't seem to have reached their potentials. I have a suspicion electric vehicles would have spread worldwide today had we not discovered so much oil. Once the easily recoverable oil is all gone, we will be putting more efforts into making electric vehicles work even better but that day could be a long time coming.

  51. Susan Fourtané
    November 28, 2011

    Yes, Bolaji, the history of the electric car began in the mid-19th century. It was the high cost and low speed compared to internal combustion vehicles that led to a worldwide decline in their practical use.

    Recently, the new advancements in technology have gone back to the roots of the electric car, giving birth to a new hope. The environmental issues have also taken a more predominant role this time. I believe this time electric cars are here to stay. 

    -Susan 

     

     

  52. Tim Votapka
    November 28, 2011

    I hope so! Certainly this PBS special gives us hope:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june11/electriccar_01-31.html

     

  53. Kevin Jackson
    November 28, 2011

    I've wanted an electric car for some time. I have 90 mile daily commute and want something better than my current 45 MPG with zero net CO2 emissions. Your article gave me some answers and some questions.

    Efficiency:

    “My last 110 miles in the Chevy Volt consumed 24.7kW”.

    If you consumed 24.7kW you would have had to have added a lot more electricity than that to the battery because the battery is very inefficient at converting its energy into electricity to power your car. That inefficiency occurs when you charge and again when you discharge.

    Please put a data logging power meter on that charger and tell us how much electricity it really takes to go 110 miles (or calculate it if you can).

    Environmental:

    Scientific American has shown us that electric cars and plug-in hybrids cause more CO2 emissions than hybrids in many parts of the United States. And are only slightly better than hybrids in the rest of the country.

    Solar Cells (for some fellow posters):

    Solar cells that would power your car while you drive would be the size of a parking lot, not the size of the roof on your car – check the math.

    Here's a solar panel, on sale, from a retail discounter:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-90599.html

    Lets assume no losses, 110 miles with 24.7 kW is about 13.5 kWH at 60 mph. So you'll need 13.5 kW of solar panels. Each of the panel kits above is 45 Watts with full sun. So you will need about 300 kits or an array that's three feet wide and 11,106 feet long. I think you'll have trouble making turns with a panel that long on your car! 

     

  54. electronics862
    November 28, 2011

    To reduce the electric bills and to have more efficient way to have an edge than gasoline vechicles is to charge the EVs using solar energy in the day time. We can not say this is a promising idea as there are few states can use of day time sun light energy and it is also a cost effective to set up solar panels. As per the information provided by charging EV with electric power still profitable than gasoline vechicles. 

  55. Eldredge
    November 29, 2011

    The IEEE Spectrum magazine had a good overview of the charging aspects for electric vehicles – see  http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/advanced-cars/speed-bumps-ahead-for-electricvehicle-charging 

    If the requirements for infrastucture upgrades and electric demand are acurate, I would guess that electricity costs would go up significantly as electric car technology is adopted (based on increased operating costs coupled with increased demands).

  56. Eldredge
    November 29, 2011

    Also in recent news was an article about Volts catching fire, although it sounds like this problem occurs during storage of damaged vehicles after an accident, and could be avoided by proper drainage of the battery fluids prior to storage/repair. I assume this is an issue that will be resolved pretty quickly.

  57. jweir43
    November 29, 2011

    Susan, the electric car outsold the gasoline car until about 1900.  The sales curves could cross again just about 2025.

    Jim

  58. michaelsmith
    August 24, 2012

    The hype for electric cars is overwhelming! It seems that in the near future most cars would run on plugin cord instead of going to the nearest gasoline station. In the end News for Catalytic Converter will be heard that no cars is using it coz every vehicle in the road will run on electricity.

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