The most popular method of powering automobiles is and has been with gasoline-powered combustion engines, despite the many other potential power sources that could be used. Cars are a necessity in many locations throughout the world where public transportation is not viable, especially in the majority of the United States. However, there has been a great deal of concern raised about the dependence on oil, a nonrenewable natural resource that emits significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Combustion engines can still be utilized sustainably for some time into the future, but finding a long-term, cleaner source of energy for cars is ideal. An incredibly likely option for this is the electric car, which, despite being around for some time, has yet to gain immense popularity.
The onset of the electric car was back in the early 1830s, when Scottish inventor Robert Anderson invented the first crude electric carriage, which was powered by primary cells. The first practical electric car was created by American Thomas Davenport just after this time in 1835. Throughout the rest of the Nineteenth Century, different inventors and companies improved upon this type of vehicle, making 90 percent of the taxicabs in New York City in the year 1899 electric. However, in 1908, Henry Ford popularized the combustion engine automobile through the release of the first Model T. With gasoline-powered cars being more affordable and giving consumers the opportunity to travel long distances, the electric car ceased to be a viable product in the 1920s. Despite the fact that it is long estranged from mainstream inclusion into society, interest in the electric car has still been prevalent since this time, especially in the Twenty-First Century.
In terms of mileage, the majority of electric cars are incomparable with the current gasoline powered cars that are on the market. Several different car manufacturers have been producing electric cars for some time now, very few of which can exceed 90 miles of travel on a single charge. This gives them potential for city use, but for long trips on highways or out in the country, they are certainly not ideal. To assist with extended travel, a car such as the Chevy Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi can be operated with only an electric engine until the majority of the charge is used up, after which a combustible engine switches on and the automobile begins to drive as a hybrid. This style of automobile is more efficient than traditional combustion engines, but it still requires the use of gasoline to function. The 100 percent electric car with the greatest driving range is the Tesla Model S, which travels over 200 miles on a single charge.
The cost of electric cars has also delayed their widespread implementation. Most electric automobiles are priced slightly higher than their conventional counterparts are, so it can be difficult for a consumer to justify purchasing an electric car for the financial reason of saving money on gas. The Tesla, despite being able to travel considerable distances on single charge, ranges in price from $70,000-$105,000, which is far out of reach for the common person. For electric cars to become more popular, one of the greatest changes needed would be to lower the price.
Another issue is the aesthetics, since people will always want their cars to look nice and appealing to justify the significant sums of money that they are required to spend on them. This quality has been lacking in some hybrids and electric cars in the past several decades. However, newer electric cars have been modeled more after conventional cars, which allows them to bear the same qualities as automobiles that are admired for their looks. A significant aspect of the design of Tesla automobiles was the inspiration from Lotus Cars. Elon Musk, the mind behind Tesla, is so obsessed with Lotus that he paid almost $1 million for the James Bond Lotus Espirit submarine car from the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me and modeled the Tesla after the cars that he admires. By using a style that has already been popular for its aesthetics, Musk ensured that his electric car has physical appeal to his consumers.
Standards for electric vehicles, addressing terminology and specifications for vehicle design, are available on the ANSI Webstore.