While India seems to just have warmed up to electric and hybrid cars, elsewhere Hydrogen is the new fuel. It might only be a matter of time before we take the ‘Hy’ road. Until then, take a peek into the electric car marketSiddharth TSS and Osama Salman firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see this sign at petrol pumps — “Please don’t smoke here. Your life may be worthless but petrol certainly isn’t!” Well, that sure explains the worth of petrol, considering the ridiculous rise in its prices. Forget petrol, did you know there was a time when India had its own electric car run entirely on electricity? It was the Reva. It saved you thousands in petrol, and if you ever owned one, you’d never care about the rising cost of fuel.
Reva, this tiny toy-looking machine as it’s called, was launched to defy the rules of traditional driving, and perhaps aimed at changing the scape of the roads. In the initial stages, this electric car was criticised for its size and shape, but now people have understood the potential of using electricity as a fuel and its economical and environmental advantages.
The Reva can shell out a commendable 18 PS at 1300rpm and a torque of 68Nm. This two-door hatchback can charge itself up to 80% in 2.5 hours and consumes 9-10 units of electricity on a 100 per cent charge. This amount roughly translates to say Rs.24.5 in terms of electricity consumption.
So this makes us wonder, how advantageous electric cars are, or even how practical they are for everyday use.
Well, for starters, you need less frequent maintenance. Electric engines don’t need the oil changes and other regular maintenance that conventional engines need to stay running. That can add up to significant savings over time. Even the cleanliness is more. Leaving aside the environmental benefits, which are considerable, an all-electric car means freedom from a substance that can be really messy: oil.
However, there are disadvantages to an all-electric car as well. Current battery technology can’t yet match the energy stored in a regular old tank of unleaded petrol. That means in the near future, electric cars will have significantly less travel range when compared to fuel cars. And then there are the expenses. Unless you want to wait eight hours or more to “fill up your tank,” you’ll want a high- speed charger installed in your home, potentially adding thousands to your electric-car price tag.
Then there is the battery uncertainty. Just like the batteries in your iPod or laptop, the large, expensive batteries in an electric car will inevitably run down. The question is, how will they perform in the real world, under real-world weather and traffic conditions.
Hybrid vs Electric cars
Most hybrid cars still rely on combustion of fossil fuels for their motivation. But the implementation of regenerative braking technology in Hybrid Electric Vehicles is another plus point. Whereas, in electric cars a battery that can store enough electricity equalling a tank of fuel is big, heavy and prohibitively expensive. But electricity can be attained easier than Hydrogen fuel cells.
Famous electric car owners
- George Clooney
- Tango T-600
- Jay Leno
- Tesla Roadster and a Vintage Barker Electric
- Leonardo Di Caprio
- Tesla Roadster
- Alyssa Milano
- Nissan Leaf
International market for electric cars
Tesla Roadster: The first car in the world to power itself using a lithium ion battery. It is also one of the first cars to make it over 300 kilometres on a full charge. The coup de grace can go 0-100kmph in 3.9 seconds.
Chevy Volt: This plug-in hybrid vehicle combines the power of an internal combustion engine and two on board electric motors capable of going from 0-100kmph in 10 seconds.
Nissan Leaf: The design for this car is stylised by its characteristic V shape. The car can pull itself through for 117km on full charge. Anoth-er feature of this car is its headlights as they consume 50 per cent lesser power than regular halogen lamps.