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The rise of electric cars

Image of an electric carThe exciting prospect of electric cars may have been around for longer than you would think. Some of the first innovations began far back as the 1880s. However, the technology was pushed to the side to make way for internal combustion engines. Their quicker development drew in more resources and soon mass production was available. As engineers refined the combustion engine, cars became more affordable and the interest in electric cars slowly dwindled away.

It wasnít until the energy crisis during the 1970ís that electric
cars were once again considered as an alternative. Concern grew as remaining fossil fuel supplies scares and negative effects on the environment were noticed, sparking electric technology back into life. Unfortunately this was only short lived, sadly these cars did not even have mass marketing or reach mass production.

Due to the global recession of the late 2000ís pressure began increasing for auto manufactures to re-think the cars they produced. Large, fuel guzzling SUVís had come to represent the kind of unsustainable living in excess that had caused the crash. Instead they began to focus more time and resources into developing small more economic cars, hybrid cars and full electric cars.

Over the last decade many factors have fuelled the further development of electric cars. The prices we pay at the pumps has skyrocketed and we are getting penalised for excessive green house gases we produce. The government has been even been actively promoting the use of greener cars, pushing for electric cars to be brought to the mass market. There have also even been a number of breakthroughs with battery capacity and recharging technology. As a result of all this, electric cars became ever more competitive with our tradition combustion cars.

During 2004, Tesla Motors in California began working on an all new electric car code named DarkStar. Their vision was to create a high performance supercar which would challenge the traditional thoughts about electric cars. Finally released in 2008, they had achieved just that. Being the first of its kind to fully utilise lithium-ion batteries, the sport model produced a powerful 288BHP and 400Nm of torque. At the time it even set the record for distance on a single charge with over 200 miles. With a base price of £86,950 it sold 2,500 units across 30 different countries.

By December 2010, Nissan put in their bid by releasing the Nissan Leaf. Aimed more towards the mass market, the car produced a respectable 107BHP and 280Nm of torque. It comes equipped with all the modern conventions you could want in a car, such as Sat Nav, air-conditioning and even a rear view camera. Receiving a full 5 Star NCAP rating, it is not only environmentally friendly, but very safe. To charge from completely empty to full could be done overnight in 8 hours. However using a fast charger in optimal conditions it was possible to charge from empty to 85% in a speedy 30 minutes flat.

During 2011 more and more electric models were being launched from the big car manufacturers. Some of these included the Smart electric drive, Ford Focus Electric, Volvo C30 Electric and Mitsubishi i MiEV. The Mitsubishi in particular set a record for the then current electric car production by selling a staggering 10,000 units. †Its wild success leads to the model being rebadged and sold all around Europe as the Peugeot iOn and CitroŽn C-Zero.

By Early 2013 the Nissan Leaf had smashed through 50,000 units, surpassing Mitsubishi. Better yet in 2014 this has jumped to 100,000 and still holding the title for best selling highway capable electric car. Without a doubt the electric cars are continuing to rise with a Nissan Leaf currently leading the way!


published: 01/07/2014 11:00:01

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