The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly about Electric Cars

Electric cars are the new fad over the last five years. But really, how many people do you know who own an Electric car.  It is likely that you either know no one or know a cool dozen. Electric car ownership seems to be a cluster of people.

Several reasons to own an Electric car include alternative energy source, rising gas prices, environmental concerns, and many others.  But are these real reasons or are they superficial. Depending on the person, I would say that many buy Electric Cars for real reasons and a smaller number buy them for superficial ones.

The government has largely approved this arena of car development. They have given millions of dollars for battery technology, car design, and car testing.

How is the Market for Electric Cars?

Crappy.  This single term adequately describes the overall perception and actual sales of electric cars.  The expectations of electric car were so high, that failure was almost the only option.  The expectation indicated that a large proportion of the population would consume the idea of an electric car and thousands and thousands of sales would surface.

Companies like General Motors, Nissan, BMW,  Mitsubishi, and several other companies have put forth decent efforts at Electric cars.

But many things like car price, battery price, consumer interest, and other issues has really dragged down the market for Electric Cars.

Price

On average, electric cars are significantly more expensive than cars the drive on gas.  This is due to the new technology that is being created and the overall number of cars put out into the market.   An additional cost is the lithium-ion battery pack.  Many indicate that the battery price is intending to decrease but this hasn’t been readily seen.

Almost seventy percent of America has indicated that they are not willing to pay more for the same electric car than they are willing to pay for a gasoline car.

It was also studied that the higher prices of the car, over the lifetime of gas savings, do not equal out. The gas prices were assumed to stay around the same as was the cost of the electrical car.  The real change that would indicate a cost saving venture, is if the price of the car decreased significantly and/or the cost of gas increased significantly.

Electric Car History

The first real idea of the Electric Car was in the 1980’s after the energy crisis of the 70’s and 80’s.   Crude attempts were envisioned but nothing really picked up at that time. Changes in Emission testing and such began in the early 90’s. This was trying to force consumers into considering electric cars.   Then in the early 2000’s another round of attempts were made. This again was done because of stricter emission testing as well as skyrocketing gas prices.

Alternative energy was pushed along the political landscape.  Governors, House Speakers, Congress, and other political counterparts pledged additional governmental support, money, as well as private money to help push electric cars into the forefront of the market.

Charging the Car

The batteries in Electric cars need to be charged consistently. Often this is from a power grid and is done at home.  But, this can also be done on the street or at a charging station.

The cars themselves use conductive coupling as the interface for charging.   This is the transfer of energy through a medium and is accomplished by a wire, common terminal, or a resistor.  Each car company tries a unique match to find the best charging potential.

The length of time that charging is required is dependent on the source of energy from the house, street, or charging station.  Usually in a house, the requirement is overnight for the energy to be sufficient to drive around 45 miles the next day.  If longer distances are required, streets and charging stations may be needed during the day.

Where to go from here?

This is the question of the day.  Where do electric cars go from here? It is conventional wisdom that says electric cars are here for good. The cost and battery concerns are the biggest things that need to be overcome. But the consumer needs, perception, and even expectations need to be addressed.

As technology improves, so may the cost decrease and the effectiveness of the electric car improve. This may improve the consumer’s desire to purchase the electric car.  It will be interesting what the next five years holds for the electric car.

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