There are three problems with electric cars. Range, weight and the ability to recharge quickly. Well there are lots more, like cost, resale value and the fact that the electricity is 97% likely to be from fossil fuelled power stations which rather makes a mockery of the whole idea. Even if powered by wind or solar. there is plenty of evidence that proves that there is no saving in CO² anyway. However if you are an urbanite and never travel more than twenty five miles from home or office, they do have a use. In many cities in the world, the volume of traffic is having a horrendous impact on the air quality. If such cities could divert fifty percent of car usage to electric the benefits would be substantial. But now we run into a problem as urbanites have serious issues with charging their cars. A cats cradle of high power wires snaking over the pavement is hardly a great idea. Now we have an alternative. The tooth brush scenario. More correctly known as induction, or magnetic resonance, charging. You have a loop built into the parking surface which wirelessly recharges the batteries in about ninety minutes. Being trialled by Toyota in Japan, the theory is great. Practical application is still a long way away and I suspect we will haver cars powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology or their own mini nuclear fusion reactor before the application of individual reactive coils in each parking bay becomes a reality. However one such format is presently in use in Milton Keynes for topping up their electric buses during the day. South Korea also has a rechargeable road. However, whilst cutting back on emissions in the city, the technology still relies on energy mostly derived from either nuclear or fossil fuelled power stations and the truth remains that Energy Density of this technology is in fact far worse than existing methods. (read the book Power Hungry by Robert Bryce) The fact remains that battery technology is still some way away from a replacement of the internal combustion engine and as many cars are now producing 75-84 mpg, the gap between electric and fossil fuel gets narrower. Cost benefits of electric are negated by the higher cost of the cars, supported by a £5k subsidy in the UK, and the cost of new batteries meaning resale values are very poor or non-existent. The idea of hiring batteries at some £65 per month is truthfully in excess of what a driver doing the equivalent mileage on a modern fuel efficient car would cost. This makes the cost per mile over the life of the cars an interesting equation. Many millions has been fed into electric and hybrid cars by the major manufacturers and yet the take up is still infinitesimal. How long do you keep flogging a dead horse? However before I am cast as a electric motivation denier, I would say that there are a number of interesting developments and those we should welcome as technology never stands still. See here the 250kph(156mph) Electric Bus. Question remains how can we scale up these technologies to everyday use?
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