Our environment is not what it used to be. The air is always smoky, the clouds always heavy with smog, the grass is a shade of brownish green and our survival security blanket aka the ozone layer is fast depleting into space. It might be too late even to detract from the path which has led us to this as a species too intelligent perhaps for its own good.
One of the most polluting evils of modernization is the gasoline-driven motor vehicle. Petroleum was discovered in the 19th century and has since changed the way we travel and live. Although gasoline has made commuting faster, cheaper and extremely convenient, there is no running away from the fact that the dangerous hydrocarbon emissions from burning petroleum or diesel (Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen oxides, etc) are all causing irreversible damage to the environment.
It would be unfair to say that we haven’t been trying though. There have been many ‘Go green’ drives where other alternatives have been tried and tested but nothing has successfully replaced the powerful petrol engine yet.
One of the better alternatives has been the Electric car. This electricity-driven vehicle is not a recent invention as many people might think. It is in fact even older than the diesel car. The first electric car was invented by Thomas Parker in London in the year 1884. In fact, America had more electric cars than gasoline vehicles at the beginning of the 20th century. If this trend had continued, then we would have been in a better position with respect to hydrocarbon emission by now. However, that was not to be.
With the discovery of new petroleum reserves in the Middle East, the world took to driving only petrol engines and diesel cars by the 1930’s and 40’s. Car manufacturing giants like Ford and Mercedes Benz further pushed petroleum vehicles to the popular market. There was no looking back after that. Petrol cars became the world’s favorite mode of commute.
Now, with the looming crisis of global warming and fast-dwindling petroleum reserves, electric cars have again emerged as a potential competitor to the gasoline vehicle. There are many advantages of using the electrically powered car. Electric cars are almost three times as efficient as diesel cars, not to mention the fact that they are much quieter and cleaner.
What still makes them lag behind is probably the range of the engine which cannot go up to the levels of the petrol engine. However, with the energy crisis being a far higher priority than the necessity of speed and power, electric cars will hopefully have the final edge over gasoline cars in the long run.
Two Electric Vehicles to Consider:
Tesla Model S
Tesla motor was one of the pioneers in electric car manufacturing and its innovative Tesla Roadster model has been a hot seller in more than 30 countries worldwide. The Tesla Model S is an out and out plug-in luxury liftback vehicle that is giving even top diesel cars a run for their money.
It is equipped with a powerful 85 kWh battery which has a running capacity up to 426 km. This model has an EPA rating of 237.5 Wh/ km energy consumption and is the very first electric car to be at the top of the ‘new car sales’ ranking in any country. The highest sales have been recorded in Norway, followed by California.
The Tesla Model S won several awards including the 2013 ‘Green car of the year’ award and the Time magazine’s ‘Best 25 inventions of the year’ award in 2012.
Another extremely popular electric car is the Mitsubishi MiEV, which has sold thousands of units so far. Mitsubishi MiEV stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle.
The engine is rear-mounted and the highest achievable speed that it can reach is 130 kmph or 80 mph. This smart little thing runs on a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery which gives a voltage of 330 V. The MiEV is a hatch back model and is fitted with five doors. It has high safety standards and has undergone severe testing conditions.
In 2009, the MiEV received the Japan ‘Automotive Hall of Fame Car Technology of the year’ award. It was also one of the finalists in the Green Car of the Year American awards in 2012.
Honda Fit EV
The MiEV was soon succeeded by Honda’s Fit EV, which was also powered by Lithium Ion battery in combination with an AC synchronous permanent magnet. The Fit EV had a range of 70 to 100 miles and the highest speed achieved by it so far has been 90 mph (higher than the MiEV). Honda’s Fit EV has three driving modes: econ, sport and normal. However, by 2014, the Fit EV was announced to be nearing the end of its mass-production. The Honda Fit EV has received several awards including the Japan Car of the Year in 2008. Most of Honda’s electric cars are now available only on lease.
Nissan Leaf has sold more than 180,000 units across the world and Tesla Model S is tailing at 75000 units sold so far. Nissan Leaf is short for ‘leading environment friendly affordable family car’ and true to its name, it is a spacious hatch back model which runs on a fuel-free 24 kWh lithium ion battery. The highest speed reached by this model is 150 kmph and the total life span of one battery is expected to be around ten years.
With a vast range of smart electric vehicles in the market, it is now up to you to choose a cleaner alternative to save the environment and also reduce our dependency on nonrenewable fuel sources. Now that we have known the inevitable and seen the worst that is possible, maybe it is time to make one last herculean effort to let the next generation live on a greener earth. If you are looking to buy a new car, consider going electric.