New Wave of E-Cars Better, But…


by Douglas Black, enerficiency on the road, April 29, 2013

Electric vehicles are getting better.  Mainstream automakers are investing big money into designs that are “not too weird”.  And reliability is improving.

Some  recently unveiled concept vehicles hint at what we may expect to see on the road, or plugged into charging stations, in the next 5 to 10 years.

Renault, a company known for utilitarian ruggedness (think military tanks) as well as high performance racing, introduced the Twizy, a single seater city car with a top speed of around 100 kph.  We see this as a great delivery vehicle for fast food joints.

(See the Popular Science story  “New Twizy Electric Car is Part Formula One, Part Mario Cart” )

Don’t know about the name, though.  perhaps something more “green” sounding would be better for an environmentally conscious offering like this.

Renault Twizy F1
Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy F1
Renault Twizy F1
Renault Twizy F1
Renault Twizy F1

And like Global Warming, the cost of gasoline goes up in a roller coaster fashion.  Sometimes down.  Sometimes up.  But in the long run, higher.

So these electric cars make sense in the long run because they cost nothing to drive, right?  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

While power use efficiencies of products from refrigerators to light;bulbs, and even the building we work and live in have improved dramatically over the past decade, use has increased.  Why?  More gadgets to plug in and charge.

Laptops, notebooks, cell phones, drill, flashlights, and so it goes.  As I sit here in a coffee shop writing this, all but one of my fellow coffee sippers is plugged into something, tapping or scrolling away.  The sole holdout is an older guy reading the racing newspaper (yes, paper) for Kentucky Derby tips.  But he is on the phone getting tips as well, so we can surmise that the phone must be plugged in somewhere, sometime to charge.

A recent report published by the Edison Foundation says at current rates the number of battery powered electric vehicles on the road could reach 30 million in the next 20 years.  The demand on our nations power grid as it stands now cannot handle that kind of load.

So either everyone will have a small power plant at their home or office of the solar variety, or we need to build more power plants.  The latter is more likely to happen, as industrial scale plants generate a base load, or 24-7 generation.  Distributed generation solar from your office rooftop offers its service as the environment dictates.

Nuclear power generation contributes no greenhouse gas emissions, no harmful particulates or mercury  as coal or natural gas plants will.  But Nuclear takes years to build.  Now is the time to begin.

More on this argument in future blogs.

Source – The Detroit Bureau


Douglas Black
Douglas Black

About Douglas Black

Douglas Black is a photojournalist and

green technologies analyst out of Chicago,

and is currently Managing Producer for

ENERSPEC/enerficiency and Hot Flying Rats!

Earlier Douglas promoted greentech in Detroit as

Senior Marketing Strategist and Architect.

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