Clean Energy: Why do we seriously consider electric car?

Posted on January 19, 2010

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I am a fan of Top Gear UK. I like to see super cars running around with a jumping-horse-logo in front of it, or a golden bull showing off its horns. Most today cars run gasoline, drink gasoline, or… no, they don’t, they only convert the gasoline into something useful, which is called energy. They are the same as human bodies, taking in food, converting it into energy. And of course, the conversion produces something that are not-so-useful gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc.

These gases are where the Greenpeace activists start from. The activists realize that these gases are not only not-so-useful but also harming the environment. Cool cars, bad environment, sounds very sad. Nevertheless, we, humans, always want to do something better, making a slightly more environmentally friendly cars powered by electricity. We call those cars, the electric cars. They are invented not so long ago, in the 1800s. But of course, I am more interested in relevant data, from the 2000s electric cars. There are some electric cars that I can talk about right now but I will choose one as an example, in this case, Tesla Roadster.

Tesla Roadster was designed by Tesla Motors. It is a 2-door roadster equipped with 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor – not really sure what it is since I am a computer guy. But most importantly, it runs on electricity. So, I am trying to answer some of my own questions:

  • Does it have 4 wheels? Yes, it does. It is a car anyway.
  • Does it have doors? Yes, it does. The company generously packages the car with 2 doors.
  • What about lights? Yes, it has lights, at least four in the front of the car and another 6 at the back. Buyer also can find some lights on the dashboard.
  • What about coolness factor? Yes, it looks cool. So, for those who want a cool car, they can’t use coolness factor as a reason of buying a gasoline cars.
  • Is it fast? Yes, it is. In fact, it is electronically limited to 125 mph. What does that mean? If you are an electrical hacker, you can make it runs over 125 mph.
  • What else does it have? Well… side mirrors, seats, a steering wheel, and many other things.

From all questions above, I can conclude that an electric car really is a car; it looks and behaves like a gasoline or diesel one, after all, it is a car. So, why don’t people want to buy an electric car, which is recommended to battle the environmental problems (if there any)? I find some complaints of electric cars, which I am very interested to answer myself:

  1. First of all, I would like to comment about all these arguments: charging woes, traveling distance, overloaded batteries and they’re heavy from Top 7 Disadvantages of Electric Cars. Yes, it causes users a hassle to charge up the batteries but let me remind you all about the advantages that you gain… no, this is the Greenpeace activists answer template, I have my own answer. Why do you always think of charging up the batteries? Why don’t you swap them? In other words, you don’t own the batteries, the battery station owns it. The battery station company runs the business all over the countries and you are free to swap them anytime you find the battery station. What users have to do is just to go into the station, drop off their batteries, get a charged up one, and leave – with a good car design, or probably a smart robot arm, this can be done in less than 15 minutes. And still… you have the option to charge the car at home, at night. Additionally, if your battery can’t hold any electricity anymore, change it at the battery station, it is not yours anyway.
  2. Lack of power, this is a hilarious one. Tesla Roadster can do 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.
  3. Cause of pollution, oh no… I am trapped. The electricity that is loaded into the car is not renewable, well… mostly. I agree with this sentence, but… I would say that even though the electricity is not renewable, at least, you can put the power generator far… far away from my home, or my office, or my school, or my convenient supermarket. I can smell other thing, not burning carbon fuel. And… when the renewable energy kicks in, the company can easily replace the power plan with those renewable-energy-producing machines. Realize that it is more difficult to replace every car in the US than to replace power plans powering every single electric car in the US.

So, what about the super cars that we love, that I love? I would say that they are exotic cars. People can still buy them if they have money, niche market. In fact, even today, at this moment, only those people who have money can afford those super cars with supercharged, turbocharged, mid-engine cars. And… I am not one of them… yet, I wish I will.

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