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Picture a ride in the countryside, with the gentle purr of the engine in the background – made by the pulsating air extracted from the exhaust pipe.

Only an internal combustion engine can achieve that. Lifting up the bonnet and imagine the vision of a little boy’s excitement, bordering on happiness to see the neat, awesome and compact design of an engine that has been improved little by little over 100 years. If he had lived a hundred years he would have seen new devices added over time, the turbocharger, pressurized cooling system, disappearance of others like the carburetor, replaced by electronics and more electronics.

The Internal combustion engine is a 100 year old mousetrap but the electric motor is even older. Turning back the clock, gasoline cars were competing neck to neck with electric cars in 1900. Some attributed the runaway success of the gasoline car to the mass production of the Ford Model T in 1908 but in reality there was one major flaw facing electric cars then and now – lack of range, lack of electrical juice. Lead-acid and Nickel cadmium batteries have been around since 1859 and 1901. What has changed is the arrival of Lithium-ion, but that too is into its middle age. Lack of range is still the bogey when it comes to buying an electric car. If NASA can send an expensive toy 4 billion miles to Pluto, is it conceivable that no one could produce a reliable battery with enough energy potential for an electric car design that is 150 year old? It was not a lack of technology; just economic sense. Why introduce competition to the winning product – the star of the show, the internal combustion engine; why back a losing horse?

 

Two events threatened to change the course of history that could possibly lead to the demise of the gasoline engine. The first was the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, when 186 countries agreed to a reduction in CO2 emissions and use of fossil fuel. The second was the revolution of laptops, smartphones and tablets in the last 20 years since 1990. The revolution evolved the battery to lithium ion and the hope that it could keep up with Moore’s Law that states that capacity doubles every 18 months, in line with the progressive power of IT. The car industry continued from there with enormous investments to produce a battery that could propel a car for 500 miles (800 km), a doubling of range in 5 years; not quite Moore’s Law but desperate times call for desperate half measures –  before Lithium-ion move one step closer to old age.

Electric cars have taken off. Total electric car sales increased globally from 200,000 in 2012 to 450,000 in 2013 and 740,000 in 2014. Numbers are still small, representing less than 1% of all car sales in all countries including US, UK, Germany, France and Italy, except for 6 North Western countries and Japan. Nonetheless, electric cars have established a beachhead. There is no turning back. It is time to squeeze the living daylights out of battery technology and its brightest aging star – Lithium-Ion

Should we give up the sound of the engine’s purr for a completely silent car? How about feeling the electric car’s raw power, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 secs, with all the G-force playing tricks on your body? Although just an illusion, it was a great trick. It was not the power generating the G force, it was just the torque of the electric motor. The beauty of the electric motor is that it has maximum torque at 0 mph while the gasoline engine has 0 torque at 0 mph.

I am sold on the electric car and I want to buy one.

I am in a city of 5.5 million, 85% of whom live in blocks taller than 10 stories. Charging the cars at home is not possible as they are all parked in basements or out in parking lots exposed to the sun, rain, leaves, droppings and vagrants.

What I need are supercharged, super-spread-out super-cafes throughout the city with supercharger plugs, that sell coffee at half price, a  coffee “waiting” discount for waiting more than 5 minutes to charge the battery and if it is is not supercharged in 20 minutes flat, the coffee is free.  Who needs plugs at home? I am part of a decadent culture that if I buy something, everything subsequent should be cheap, good, more, and ultimately free. The free coffee would sell cars – loads of it, I am sure. Was it the Genghis Khan DNA or because our mothers did not give us enough pocket money that we ended up craving for freebies? But such traits are excellent to exploit when selling electric cars.

Government tax rebates are in place; hybrid electric cars (HEV) are more than inching into the market; the city only needs the right excuse to welcome plugged ins.

If anyone can sell loads of electric cars in this city, it would be Elon Musk Who else could dream of words like Gigafactory, Ridiculous Mode, Supercharger?.  These cool terms are enough to sell some cars, the rest from the free coffee.

Elon, I want to buy an electric car. Shall we talk it over a cup of coffee? Coffee is free, right?

BTW, I like your idea of a  battery swap in 90 sec. Does that mean no free coffee?


Wilson


Wilson Chin is a businessman with a vision to be the first to help a country to achieve zero carbon emission. The topping on the cake is when that country is in the third world to be transported into the first world by an aggressive take no prisoner approach to implement an all electric transportation system. Wilson is also a Mechanical Engineer with a passion for automobiles and automobile manufacturing.

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http://pluginfuture.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/electric-cars.jpghttp://pluginfuture.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/electric-cars-150x150.jpgWilson ChinVIP StoriesPicture a ride in the countryside, with the gentle purr of the engine in the background - made by the pulsating air extracted from the exhaust pipe. Only an internal combustion engine can achieve that. Lifting up the bonnet and imagine the vision of a little boy's excitement, bordering on...Electric & Hybrid Vehicles Magazine