Near-future cars

How far away is mass marketing of electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles are being taken more seriously than ever before. And not just by environmentalists and electrical engineers. Some of the world’s biggest car companies are finally seeing the writing on the wall.

Is this a positive evolution? In my opinion, it certainly is. Even if the electricity is produced with coal-fired power stations without carbon capture, a plug-in hybrid car will still emit about 25 per cent less CO2 over its life cycle than a standard gasoline car [1]. Moreover, electricity generation is evolving towards an increasing share of carbon free renewables in its energy mix.

Yet in spite of this, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is considering subsidizing the production of coal-to-liquid transport fuels. One has to wonder why, since that option results in approximately double the CO2 emissions compared to the coal-to-electricity option.

Does the current interest mean that mass production of electrical vehicles is on the horizon? Yes, but it is not likely to be tomorrow. First of all, the current hype is based more on promises and prospects than any hard facts and proven hardware. The inescapable truth is that there are still no true electrically powered standard cars available on the mass market. Secondly, what will be achieved in the market as a whole in the next few years depends largely on progress in battery technology, and more specifically, lithium-ion battery technology [2].Read full article

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