Necessity is the mother of invention and perhaps it is repeated
in different versions for electrically driven
vehicles. Now the supremacy of petrol run cars
is under threat with the scarcity of petroleum resources.
Electrical vehicles (EVs), while overcoming their
earlier drawbacks, are announcing their revival.
Origin and Growth of EVs
Electric cars (EVs) first appeared
in Europe during the 1880's followed by the
United States. But during the early 1900's, petrol-engine
cars became more powerful with better performance
and hence dominated the roads. The cost effectiveness
showed by the petrol engine cars ensured the disappearance
of EVs by 1920.
Increased concern about air pollution and falling
supplies of petroleum during the 1960's brought
back people's interest in EVs and resulted in
their limited production, but sales were never
high. Being expensive with limited travel range
and relatively poor performances, the car was
not a success. But manufacturers experimented
on making the EVs more efficient and economical.
One similar effort was reflected in cars known
as Hybrids, which had all the components
of an EV in addition to a type of fuel engine.
- Their operation produces no exhaust and that
prevents air pollution.
- They do not consume exhaustible petrol.
- The lack of engine noise is welcome in today's
ever-growing noise-polluting traffic.
- Their batteries can be charged at home or
at the work place and avoids the inconvenience
of refueling at the service station.
are limiting their usage?
- They usually cannot travel more than 160 kilometres
unless their batteries are recharged.
- In extreme weather conditions that may require
high use of electric power.
- Electric cars also have below-average acceleration.
- Most electric cars use expensive lead-acid
batteries that may have to be replaced several
times during the life of the vehicle.
Enhancing the power pack of EVs.
- The use of nickel metal-hydride batteries
can increase the range that can be driven on
a single charge.
- Fuel cells that are used in Hybrid cars are
also a better option. They produce electricity
from a fuel and an oxidizer, a substance that
combines with the fuel. The fuel and oxidizer
react chemically at two separate electrodes
to produce the direct electric current.
EV in the Indian
Bangalore based company Maini group plans
to launch their REVA electric car in January 2001.
The main focus will be on easy mobility in cities
along with economical and eco-friendly drives.
The company is expecting a greater response for
EVs from across India. The Managing Director of
the company, Chetan Maini, says that their
REVA is going to be unique with features like
safe and gearless car driving.
So, can we say 'Goodbye petrol cars, Hello EVs'?
Only time will tell.