What Electric Cars Are All About

An electric car is an automobile propelled by one or more electric motors that use electrical energy that is stored in batteries, that then projects the power through electric motors towards the drive train of the vehicle.

The first electric cars appeared in the 1880s, electric cars were popular in the 20th century and earlier in the 19th century until the common combustion engines were made for mass production and petrol was cheaper to use than electric.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s the energy crisis hit which stopped the electric vehicle in its tracks.

Fast forward to 2008 when a renaissance in electric vehicle manufacturing occurred due to advances in battery technology power, technology management and also concerns about increasing oil prices and not to mention the need of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2008 many governments, local authorities and countries have given tax breaks, tax benefits and government grants to help the electric vehicle market grow and to reduce the aforementioned in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions.

Benefits Of Electric Cars

There are many benefits for electric cars, a significant drop in air pollution due to no tailpipe pollutants, is of significant importance. Greenhouse gases and other such emissions are greatly reduced like in the case of BMW’s I range where BMW build these cars with as much eco-friendly components as they can and their factory units are solar powered reducing fossil power and their carbon footprint by half from the very start of the production stage.

The other benefits of electric cars in 2014 is that we now have a new kid on the block in Tesla motors, these pure electric cars have a range of up to 300 miles per charge. Tesla are licensing patents on its technology to the other motor industry giants to try and push and achieve an increased range for all new electric cars.

Other benefits are FREE Road Tax and a £5000 grant from the Government towards a new electric car. Also if you live in the UK and travel of an average of 720 miles a week this will only cost you, as of November 2014, £27, now that’s got to be a benefit.

Plug-In Electric (Hybrid) Cars

During the 21st century the biggest demand is in the plug-in electric car as these vehicles have a better range and are more practical for the average business person who has to travel more than 100 miles per day. Furthermore, due to the better known range anxiety the production of plug-in electric cars has been fuelled from the beginning of 2008.

However, from 2010 a new dawn had appeared with the cars such as the Chevrolet Volt, Vauxhall Ampera, Mitsubishi Outlander in 2014, and the BMW i3 range extender in 2013. These cars have taken the electric car format and generally had an engine of small capacity working as a generator to keep the batteries recharged, which then ultimately gives you a bigger range scope.

Another benefit to plug-in electric cars is that you can now achieve 290 mpg, which as we know from the prices at the pumps, as of November 2014, a gallon of petrol would cost £6.00 on average. So as we can see this is a massive reason to go and purchase a plug-in hybrid car.

Charging Plug-In and Pure Electric Cars

This is very easy nowadays with the capability to charge from your own home also with superchargers across the UK and other charging facilities across the UK. By 2020 the European Union has said that the UK must have a minimum of 60,000 electric car charging points, bearing in mind that this is only six years away we feel that you will be in safe hands to charge your car at any time no matter where you live in the UK by 2014.

So the locations can be;

A home charger which is discreetly placed on one of your outside walls, on a shed or in your garage.

From a charging station across the network of UK roads, in supermarkets, at supercharging stations from Tesla, from fire stations,from other government locations to park-and-ride’s, airports and anywhere else that can fit one.

These chargers are dependent on the power unit, a charge can take anything from 30 minutes to 8 hours to fully charge your car, however, the average time to charge a Pure Electric Car nowadays is down to 4 hours in many cases. If you travel less than 100 miles a day and you sleep for four to eight hours a night you can have a fully charged car without ever having to go to a petrol station again and waste time at the pump.

With a plug-in hybrid it is much the same, however, you can obviously travel a lot more than 100 miles a day, in fact you could travel up to 1000 as these vehicles are not dependent on being plugged in to a power unit.

Advanced Vehicle Technologies and Insurance Costs

With the advent of increasingly expensive new vehicle technologies, collision repair shops are asking what kind of repairs might be considered good enough. For insurance companies, the question is when a vehicle should be written off because of cost consideration. With the advent of Advanced Vehicle Technologies (AVT), some vehicles that are still roadworthy may instead become writeoffs because of their high AVT content. Examples of AVT include using of high strength steels in vehicle structures, aluminum chassis, carbon fibre cells and body parts, advanced welding and bonding techniques, electric vehicles and hybrids and electronic safety features and driver aids.

The impetus for using AVTs is pretty simple – reduce fuel consumption and increase combustion efficiency, which in turn reduces exhaust emissions. To this end, manufacturers have sought to improve vehicle efficiency by using materials substitution, downsizing existing vehicle designs, systems or components as well as using new structural, systems or component designs. They have also adopted alternate materials in conjunction with these new designs. Other manufacturers have also improved efficiency of engine accessories by converting some systems like the water pumps and power steering systems to electricity-driven designs. All these add up to additional costs for the consumer, the collision repair shop and the car insurance company. This is when the question of what car insurance companies should pay for in terms of repair crops up. As the repair costs add up across the board, it will only be natural for insurance companies to increase premiums. While increased insurance premiums may not affect owners of expensive luxury or sports cars too much, imagine the impact this will have on lower-income car owners who struggle to make monthly payments. Bolstering this statement is the fact that technologies that only BMW or Mercedes employed half a decade ago have now found their way in entry-level cars like the Ford Focus. As an insurance industry expert has put it, “Advances in technology drive costs. We’re talking about the increasing complexity, the equipment required to make the collision repair and the training that’s necessary to make the repair successfully and correctly.”

This can change how commuters use their cars, such as reducing car use or giving up on certain kinds of trips altogether. With less use of cars, even collision repair shops will feel the pinch when less accidents result on average. One only has to look into collision repair data in mild winters to see what we’re talking about.

Alternative Fuel And Vehicle Technologies

INTRODUCTION

In today’s world, scientists, analysts, and researcher are continuously looking to find effective fuel optimum solution to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Though, there are considerable research going on to mitigate CO2 from existing fuel. Currently, Ethanol has great potential to minimize CO2 from air as it’s blend with agricultural products and most of the existing vehicles support ethanol. On the contrary, LPG is directly derived from natural gas and increases sustainable balance within the environment. However, on recent invention i.e. hybrid technology, known as electric vehicles have more wider benefit to the environment as well as ensuring ‘0’ carbon emission on air.

In most of the developing countries like, USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, electric vehicles are becoming more popular because of environmental concern and cost of energy.

This hybrid technology also increases battery storage capacity as a result this become viable solution for modern transportation. Battery better known as lithium composite phosphate (LCP) is rechargeable which uses LiFePO4 as cathode material and mostly used in portable items like cell phone, camera and laptops. Thus, most of the auto maker companies now a days becoming more environmental conscious and according to demand they now more focus on introducing new model of electric vehicle.

ALTERNATIVE FUEL FOR VEHICLES

Ethanol

In Australia, most of the vehicles run by ethanol but yet nobody knows how ethanol can affect their vehicles. A recent figure shows, 30 percent of Australian vehicles will be affected by 10 percent of ethanol. Though, the main agriculture products used to produce ethanol in Australia are wheat, wheat starch, sugarcane and sorghum. However, the main advantage of using ethanol is, organic and reduces air pollution but major disadvantage is it burns quickly. Currently, there are four types of ethanol available worldwide, such as E10, E85, E22 and E100 where in Australia E10 and E85 are available and others are still on consideration.

E10 in Australia

After 1st of July 2003, 10 percent ethanol was allowed to mix with normal petrol and blending higher than 10 percent require engine modification as it was identified that using E20 with 20 percent mix often makes trouble on unmodified engines.

Problems of E10 (E-10 Ethanol Fuel Problems, n.d)

1. Ethanol 10 damages vehicle engine and carburetor.

2. Water above 5 percent cause serious damage on the vehicle’s performance.

3. Water freezing in winter causes serious effect on performance.

E85 in Australia

E85 is suitable for flex fuel vehicles and currently only Caltex is selling on 40 retail stores (Monitoring of the Australian petroleum industry, 2011). Though E85 is very environmentally suitable but not suitable for all engines especially, trucks, busses as it damages the fuel system.

Problems of E85

1. Burns quickly compared to other petrol.

2. Decrease vehicle’s millage per gallon up to 15 to 25 percent compare to other gasoline

3. Prices of E85 are more convenient compare to performance and per km.

CURRENT POLICY OF ETHANOL IN NSW

According to NSW government, 2 percent mandate policy for ethanol, wholesalers require to make up to the minimum 2 percent of total volume of NSW sales (Graham, Reedman, Poldy, 2008).

POTENTIAL ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE FOR ETHANOL

The main advantage of this new policy will be benefitted on new vehicles. However, considering the sustainability issue on environment, ethanol could be future fuel for all vehicles. On the other hand, though ethanol is an environmentally friendly fuel but yet in Australia, availability of ethanol are insufficient in different places. The reason behind is, as ethanol mainly based on agriculture products, farmers are reluctant to produce crops in higher price for fuel besides inadequate government subsidy also a major factor on ethanol price.

COMPARISON OF COST AND CARBON EMISSION BETWEEN E10 AND E85

Cost of E10

The prices of E10 are very sensitive in different petrol stations in Australia. Most of the petrol companies in Australia have freedom to fix the price in accordance with standard fuel quality.

Site Name and Price of E10 ($)

Budget Strathfield $1.34

Caltex/Woolworths Taren Point $1.35

7 Eleven Sans Souci $1.35

Caltex/Woolworths Strathfield $1.36

Caltex/Woolworths Miranda $1.37

Caltex/Woolworths Carnes Hill $1.37

Source: My price search, MotorMouth Pty Ltd, 2012 (Updated, 10/04/2012)

Carbon emission rate E10

Though there are not huge differences on regular petrol; E10 only saves 5 percent of gas emissions and the full cycle emission (t CO2-e/kL) is 2.44 compared to 2.56 to regular petrol.

Cost of E85

Currently, only in few petrol stations are have E85 fuels which is difficult for consumers to switch to E85. Generally, the price ranges in different petrol stations approximately $124 to $135.

Carbon emission rate E85

Compare to other fuels, E85 has lower rate of emission on greenhouse. Generally, on an average 15,000 miles per year, 372 grams/mile (approx) CO2 can be reduced only using E85.

LPG IN AUSTRALIA

LPG is the combination of 50 percent propane and 50 percent butane and western Australia has the largest reserve of this natural gas (What is LPG? 2011). Generally, LPG powered vehicles produce less CO2 to the environment i.e. 203 gm CO2 0e/km. According to the RARE consulting; using LPG might reduce 13 to14 percents carbon dioxide from air (Wong, 2011). In Australia, due the huge demand of energy requirements, LPG could be an alternative solution for vehicles, industrial or household use in coming years.

CURRENT POLICY OF LPG IN NSW

According to LPG Australia, current policy, “LPG industry will support government to ensure sustainability as well as future energy sources to reduce carbon and ensuring LPG achieve a level of capability to support government’s alternative fuel requirement; LPG market will require transitional support to achieve 10 percent of transport energy requirements”(LPG Australia policy, 2010).

POTENTIAL ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE FOR LPG

Using LPG in vehicle not only matches with current policy but also ensure affordable environmental solutions. The main advantage of LPG is, it burns clearly on air and it’s 60 percent cheaper than other petrol. It should be noted, LPG also increases engine life for vehicles. On the contrary, the potential disadvantages are LPG convertastion cost i.e. approximately between AUD 2000 to 2500 as well as maintenance cost of engine. One more drawback is performance compare to fuel driven vehicle, is way too low and high risk involved while installing LPG cylinder in all vehicles.

COST AND CARBON EMISSION COMPARISON OF LPG

Cost of LPG

Australia has vast reserves of LPG for next 30-50 years. This means, price of LPG will be lower due to high availability. The annual average price of LPG is 54.5c.

Site name and Price ($)

Caltex Crossroads Truckstop $0.72

BP Kemps Creek $0.78

Caltex/Woolworths St Marys $0.79

Caltex/Woolworths Surry Hills (Redfern) $0.79

Caltex/Woolworths Kingswood $0.79

Caltex/Woolworths Werrington $0.79

Source: My price search, MotorMouth Pty Ltd, 2012 (Updated, 11/04/2012)

Carbon emission rate of LPG

In Australia, the rate of carbon emissions compare to other types of fuels are relatively higher than LPG. According to the department of sustainability, environment, water, population and communities in Australia, in every litre of petrol used in the vehicle, 2.3 kg CO2 are released into the air (Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 2008).

CO2 Tailpipe Emissions/Liter of Fuel Consumed

Fuel Type CO2- Emissions

Petrol -2.3 kg

LPG -1.6 kg

Diesel -2.7 kg

Source: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 2008

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The invention of technology Electric Vehicle is the ultimate way for zero carbon emission on environment without any doubt. This has been proven, EVs are twice more efficient than normal petrol driven vehicles. This is mainly because of, the battery inside EV is more productive as it uses renewable energy i.e. solar sources. In 2006, Australia greenhouse gas emission rate was 576 million tones where 89 percent tons was generated only from road transport.

CURRENT POLICY FOR BATTERY EVs IN NSW

Carbon emission Policy: NSW government is currently introducing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) which restrict air pollution capacity on industry which currently defined as ‘Carbon Tax’. Though, this policy create controversy on media people and business entities. As a result, currently, many companies, industry are protesting against this policy and as a matter of fact, this policy now on under consideration.

POTENTIAL ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE

The main potential advantage of this policy is to eliminate harmful pollution from the environment and reduce dependency on oil. On the contrary, since electric vehicle in new on market and there is no sufficient infrastructure, plant, station available for people, this will create huge problems for people while travelling long distance. More precisely, fully battery powered vehicle can travel up to 160 km and after that if there is no service station to recharge the battery then this will become a serious matter for travelers. A part form this, price of purchase electric vehicles are higher than normal vehicles such as start from $20,000 which is beyond of thinking for common people.

COST AND CARBON EMISSION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE

Cost of electric vehicle

To charge the battery of an electric vehicle, costs only 1 to 3c per kilometre depending on location and demand.

Carbon emission rate of electric vehicle

Electric vehicle can produce 27 percent (i.e. 164 g/km) less CO2 than petrol vehicle (Better place, 2011).

CONCLUSION

This is very clear from above analysis, ethanol, LPG and electric vehicle can provide sufficient benefit to environment but comparing various factors and investigate different current issues; we can say, purchasing LPG or converting into LPG could be ultimate solution on price and environment. The main reason is, LPG has lower emission rate, cheap cost and availability of natural resources in Australia. Though, ethanol and electric vehicle requires government support, which require large amount of investment. In recent news shows, carbon reduction through electric vehicle is a mere ‘fantasy and also stated electric vehicle produce higher emission than petrol because of the energy consumption while manufacturing batteries. On the other hand, switching to EVs requires 16 percent extra electric capacity which is equivalent to 10GW or six nuclear stations (Jha, 2010). Therefore, considering the above facts, purchasing an LPG vehicle will be most beneficial.