How long have we been "using" electric cars?


wiseGEEK Writing Contest

The electric car was introduced, and has been in existence since 1832-1839, invented by a man in Scotland, named Robert Anderson. The exact year if its conception is still unknown. In 1899, a Belgian-built electric race car set a world land speed record of 68 mph. Electric? Yes! The average cost of an electric vehicle was still considerably higher than one with a combustion engine. They cost anywhere from just under $1000, to $3000, and sales peaked in 1912. They were fancy vehicles only the wealthy could afford. The discovery of oil, and Henry Ford's mass production of the gasoline version made vehicles very affordable, and the electric vehicle has been second to the gas guzzler ever since.

The future of the electric car is looking very promising. Currently, we spend anywhere from $2.50-$3.50 a gallon, which translates to 12-35 miles per gallon on average. Electric vehicles have been produced and cost one cent per mile to operate. I'll say it again...ONE CENT PER MILE! We'll soon have the ability to drive nearly 350 miles on one charge, and recharge in under ten minutes. Well developed batteries can be recharged up to 9000 times, and still retain 85% original capacity. This means an electric vehicle can go roughly 3,000,000 miles with one battery.

The Japanese have recently developed an electric vehicle with a motor on each of eight wheels. The head of the project is Professor Hiroshi Shimizu at Keio University. It's called the ELIICA (Electric Lithium-Ion Battery Car), and takes luxury-performance to another level. It has 600kw of power, and accelerates faster than a Lancer Evo, and even a Porche 911 Turbo. With a top recorded speed of 230 mph, it's by no means a turtle, but a hare not even some of the most powerful gasoline sports cars can compete with. Other impressive electric vehicles to look up are the Mullen L1X-75 GT, and the Tesla Roadster.

Electric vehicles utilize power more efficiently than gasoline vehicles because they do not lose energy in the transmission, or the differential. The power goes straight from the motor to the wheels. Using energy intelligently allows us to go much furrther with zero emissions.

Retirement communities have paved the way for NEV lanes (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle). Similar to bike lanes, they are intended for electric vehicles such as golf carts. Vehicles traveling in these designated NEV lanes must be capable of a minimum of 20 mph, and not exceed 25 mph. Some restrictions do apply, such as requiring operators to have a valid driver's license in specified areas. People who use their electric vehicles, and NEV lanes to run around the neighborhood, or to the grocery store find them invaluable. Some have even sold their second car.

submitted by JB