Thursday, 15 September 2011

Leading expert about electric cars: "To me, this electric hype is inexplicable"

This Detroit Electric car appeared over 90 years before the much hyped "stimulus injection" Chevrolet Volt manufactured by Obama´s Government Motors hit the market.

The green lobby, assisted by its numerous supporters in the media, has been busy hyping electric cars for years now. But the there is a huge gap between hype and reality, reports German Der Spiegel:

The Frankfurt Motor Show is devoting an entire exhibition hall to electric mobility this year -- but truly marketable electric vehicles are conspicuous by their absence. The technology is being developed more slowly than expected. It will be a long time before the world can bid farewell to the combustion engine.
"To me, this electric hype is inexplicable," Fritz Indra, a doyen in vehicle development, recently told the trade magazine Automobil Industrie. The honorary professor at Vienna University of Technology and former head engine developer at Opel and General Motors still sees a good deal of "open questions" -- and no satisfying answers.
The first electric cars that aren't DIY projects and offer acceptable crash protection have arrived in the dealerships. Most of them are no-frills mini-vehicles that cost as much as a mid-sized sedans and can only take you a short distance and back on a single battery charge if you're lucky enough to avoid heavy traffic. Of course, that's not the case in the winter, when energy-sapping interior heating significantly diminishes its range. And if it runs out of juice on the road, no jerry can will help. Your only option is to call a tow truck.
With all the drawbacks of this type of car, you have to be a true believer in electric mobility to imagine that there really are one million people out there who want to have one.
Krebs believes an electric car will have to be able to reliably travel more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) even under unfavorable conditions, such as rain, cold weather or extreme heat. To do so, it would have to have at least 25 kilowatt hours of power. That would require a battery that weighs somewhere in the range of 250 kilograms and costs €10,000 -- in other words, almost as much as a complete small car with a conventional drive system.
Developers currently predict that, over the next decade, battery capacity will double while production costs will be halved. But, even so, the electric car would be nowhere near as inexpensive and flexible as a conventional car.
"In the foreseeable future," Krebs says, "you can forget about electric drives for long-distance use."
Indeed, everything seems to suggest that we should still give the electric drive system a few more decades to mature instead of proclaiming a breakthrough that can't come so quickly.

Read the entire article here


It is true that electric cars seem to be slow in coming. Already in 1905 there were 33 different models of electric cars on display at the 5th National Automobile show in New York. If we wait another 100 years, maybe ....

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