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Home > City Resources > Automotive > Electric Cars

 Electric Cars

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.

The Advantages

  • 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.

General Motor's EV-HybridWhich factors 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.

The engine less  car REVA!EV in the Indian Context

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.

- Charan CS


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