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Electrical Mobility 2

Electro-mobiles require a whole new concept.

In the future, cars will have to be concieved and built especially for the installation of electric motors and, above all, for their batteries. An especially weight-sensitive approach will be of paramount importance because the 'tanks' are so heavy. Everything not needed will have to disappear, e.g., the gearbox. Perhaps the customary drive-chain technology will change, maybe even shafts will go directly to the wheels.

Different constructions and different traffic regulations.

Similar to the huge dangers in which the drivers in formula 1 racing were exposed at that time, the customary passenger compartment should also be put on the test bench. Perhaps, in this case, one can actually learn something from racing sport, a guarantee of safety despite being a light-weight construction. Possibly, even the traffic regulations must be adapted in favour of energy conservation. This would then mean, that when 50 kmh is allowed, the aim should be, to achieve this through freewheeling (or recuperation).

When will we get past the stage of only making announcements?

At the moment (2010), there is no standard car, suitable for everyday use, which can be freely purchased. At trade-fairs components are presented and projects are indicated. Vehicles from larger manufacturers are there, for private persons however, can generally only be had under leasing conditions, because one does not want to burden the customer with the a possible expensive battery replacement. Nonetheless, it's still costing the manufacturers a great deal of money.

A car generally only needs to have a very limited operational range.

If one has a look at the future users of electro-mobility, it turns out that only about 10% of them live more than 20 kms away from a larger town. A large majority of the population would be well served with a range of a good 40 kms, with sufficient charging possiblilties, even a range of 20 kms would suffice. The Toyota company thus, had the right idea by equipping their hybrid-drives with batteries which would allow a range of only 20 kms.

As far as the image is concerned, electro-mobiles have good marketing possibilities.

One can only hope that the advertising image of electric cars keeps on running so posively. Only about 10% of the population is sceptical, the remainder are looking at this type of vehicle positively. Patricularly encouraging is that the vast majority of motorists who have a garage, or at least a permanent place to park their vehicles, and where the batteries can be charged, are particularly taken with the idea.

The same range and the same purchase price -> impossible

One must be cautious however, the quality of information about electro-mobility is not very high. This could mean that people expect the same characteristics from an electric car as they do from their previous vehicles, this is, objectively seen, not quite the case. At least, even though the percentage is small, some people would be prepared to pay more for this type of car. Almost everyone would expect the purchase to be subsidised by the state. One could estimate the attitude of the population as being, 'let's wait and see what happens'.

Future urban traffic won't be possible without electro-mobiles

Thereby, the advantages are actually quite obvious. For the town centers, which are in the meantime, protecting themselves by introducing city-toll systems, electric cars are downright ideal. The vehicles are small, and at least in the city-centers, they don't cause any exhaust gas pollution. The electric motor with it's good acceleration, even though it's peak performance is low, seems to be dead right for this environment. Only the question of 'filling up' must become organised. Who has permission and for how long, there are still hurdles which have to be overcome.

The problems: Weight, aerodynamics, durability, price

Indeed, the drawbacks of the electric drive-technology really lie, at the moment, in the expenses and the lack of range. One can achieve a great deal through power management and aerodynamics (when driving on country roads), it is however not suitable, e.g., for going on hoiday or commuting to a distant place of work. Whereby, it is not only the weight of the new type of batteries, but also the buying- or replacement costs which are still prohibitive (still approx. € 500/kWh).

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