There are several ways to charge an electric car. The current leading technology is lithium-ion batteries, but there are also some alternatives in the works. Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are cheaper and safer, and lithium-based technologies are on the horizon, too. Lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt, lithium-phosphate, and supercapacitors are just a few of the lithium-based alternatives available. One promising new alternative is a lithium-based supercapacitor, which works like a battery but has a higher energy density.
In 1976, the US Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act, allowing automobile manufacturers to convert some gasoline-powered models to run on electricity. While President Gerald Ford overturned the bill, EV technology continued to be heavily researched and developed, as the US began to phase out gasoline-powered cars. Toyota, meanwhile, launched the Prius, a plug-in hybrid, in Japan in 1997.
Companies are stepping up their efforts to develop battery-electric vehicles. One example of such a company is Zoox. Zoox is a ride-hailing company focused on building electric taxis. Its in-house design team develops all hardware, including the powertrains, and its 360-degree field of view. Other startups that have embraced the benefits of electric cars include Hyliion, a sustainability-focused transportation company. Hyliion is working to make electric vehicles more affordable and convenient for consumers, and to integrate them into existing fleets without replacing entire infrastructures.
Henry Ford’s idea of building a low-cost electric vehicle first became a reality with the development of the Lohner-Porsche. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison joined forces in 1914 to explore the possibilities of producing low-cost electric vehicles. The electric cars of the late 1800s were put on the backburner after the Model T was introduced. The Model T, however, was meant to be mass-produced. At $650 per car in 1912, the electric equivalent would have cost $1,750.
The development of EVs has been plagued by several challenges. In the 1990s, the GM EV1 team faced numerous difficulties in extracting usable range from its 26 lead-acid propulsion batteries. Ultimately, they had to redesign the entire car to meet their goals. This led to the creation of a long-range electric vehicle with two seats. And with more research and development, the car is already on its way to mass-marketability.
Lithium-ion batteries are an important element in electric cars. They are effective at storing energy and last for hundreds of charges. They can also perform fairly well in various temperatures, but aren’t as efficient at carrying energy than gasoline. As a result, lithium-ion batteries don’t carry as much energy as gas per unit of mass. However, this means that they have to be a bit more expensive than gasoline.
Another benefit of electric cars is their simplicity. In comparison to a gasoline car, an electric vehicle requires less parts and is simpler to maintain. The Institute of Automobile Economics says that electric cars are one third cheaper to maintain than their gasoline counterparts. There are also fewer moving parts in electric cars than in a gasoline car, such as a transmission and gearbox. A few other benefits of electric cars include lower costs and fewer emissions.