According to one estimate, the US could cut its' oil imports by 20% if American citizens bought fuel efficient cars instead of gas-guzzling SUVs, trucks, and overweight overpowered saloons. The route to fuel efficiency doesn't lead from 3.6 litre 2.5 ton pickups to a Prius. A 1.6 litre, 100 hp, 1.4 ton saloon meets the automotive requirements of virtually every city dweller - just look to Europe - for a significant saving in purchasing and running costs, as well as environmental impact.
Where I live there is an ever increasing market segment for the super-mini style car - as in Kia Picanto, Honda Jazz, Toyota Jazz, etc, - simply because they make economic sense. You can always hire a Camry for a bi-annual out-of-state trip.
It is said that electric cars dont pollute at all this is not correct according to me because when the batteries are charged they emmit certain gases depending upon the type of batteries. They can be hydrogen, oxygen , suphur fumes or other however hydrogen and oxygen are not harmfull but there mixture can cause pollution.
Secondly we usually creat hype that cell phones emit electromagnetic radiations however electromagnetic radiations emmited by electric vehicles are far more than that.
Karen,before getting a new car you should do complete reky on different cars and different technologies. Yes Evs car are insufficient for few users whose daily milage is very high. Basically i myself is in the process of getting a new car but unable to decide because as we knw these days Hybrid cars are too in and logically they are very economical from feul point of view(PRIUS) but the mantainance of the battery is very expensive secondly there batteries are very costly as well.
If i will go to get a car i will try to check out the resale valua of that particular car as well. For me comfort, feul effeciency, resale value and definitely cost matters a lot .
Your stated criteria is safety, comfort, fuel efficiency, and style.
1) Tesla is the safest as money can buy. As tests have shown.
2) Comfort is subjective. Tesla is the most quiet, has the best acceleration, handling and trunk space. However you may find the big screen distracting and an annoyance. Not many people like technology and what is technology today may be absurdly primitive outdated reminder of the bygone foolishness.
3) Fuel efficiency. They say coal plants are twice as efficient as car engines. So if you buy into that and the possibility they may come up with even more environmentally power plants Tesla is clearly the best. Tesla also has eight year unlimited mileage warranties. And if you live near one of their superchargers your electricity for recharging will be free forever. However you might want to go with a standard vehicle you can take your family on vacations without range anxiety or planning. Efficiency is great but should you really be thinking about that with a family?
4) Style. That's all in the eye of the beholder. Your eyes.
They may make shock absorbers that convert movement into electricity. Seems as natural as making breaks that are regenerative. Surely this is an idea that is ready for implementation! MEMS for MEMS sake though don't make me want to buy a car. In fact just the opposite. To me they represent possible failure points... What might be more important is keeping that 12 year old part of the family for the next six years. Being able to buy love usually doesn't come so easily!
@Karen, really nice article. I do hope that the researchers find a way to make the car battery charging system totally green either by a better recharging system or by discovering some new powerfull battery source that has more engergy density to weight ratio. It will truly solve many problems relating to fuel efficiency and eco friendly environment.
PS I do hope that you decide the best car for yourself and for this environment as well. Best of luck!
When all of the dust settles on EVs and hybrids, I believe the winner will be a very efficient internal combustion engine. So far it seems clear (at least to me) that car makers will not make much of a dent in the looming CAFE standards by selling EVs and hybrids. The CAFE standards will be met with highly efficient ICEs. Just wait. In the next few short years, we'll see some real advances in the efficiency of ICEs.
Karen, the weight of the batteries, as you point out, is very problematic. We have debated this in Design News quite a bit. I was just looing some of the numbers up. For example, the Roadster weighs about 2,700 lbs. The Lotus Elise, after which it was modeled, weighs about 1,900 pounds. The Tesla S is a VERY heavy car. It weighs over 4,600 lbs. The BMW 5 series (the 550 model, which has similar power) is 4,300 lbs. Since the chasis cannot be lighter (similar requirements for safety, rigidity, etc.) there is not much scope for lightening. I think that fuel cells, or other technologies will be a better long term solution. The electric motors are much lighter than a ICE, and the transmissions, when they are used, are simpiler and lighter.
Another thing to consider is that the IEEE, in Spectrum Magazine, did an analysis of the environmental imact of the current electric car and concluded that it was worse than current ICE vehicles. That is a difficult analysis to do, but you put your finger on it when you mentioned the coal burning power plants. Now, the only thing about that is that the power sources can change to become more green without you doing anything. Refining gasoline is also a major source of CO2.
@Karen: thanks for this nice post. you have depcited the scenario in a wonderful way without losign the gravity of the situation. the fact that hte batteries for EVs (and for most consumer electronics) are still inefficient and that we go to wait for smarter battery technology that recharges an EV by green energy is the reality.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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