HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE

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AN electric vehicle, also called an EV, is a car that runs on a battery, a plug-in electric automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors instead of gasoline motors, using energy typically stored in rechargeable batteries.

They are quiet, easy to drive, and do not emit pollution like other cars. They strive to protect the environment from gas emissions.

Electric cars have been around for many years and it is not a new invention. History is uncertain about who actually created the very first EV but the first practically successful electric car was introduced in 1890 by William Morrison.

It was a six-seater vehicle and only went 14 miles per hour and even though it was not too successful, it did promote the growth of electric vehicles and by 1900, electric cars accounted for approximately one third of all vehicles on the road.

In fact NASA used an electric-powered Lunar rover during their first landing on the moon.

These battery-powered vehicles were doing well due to a few factors. They were quiet on the road, easier to operate and did not release bad emissions.

On the other hand, gas-powered cars had gears that needed to be switched and needed to be started up with a hand-crank.

Electric cars were typically charged overnight from a charging station installed in the owner’s house, or from faster charging stations found in businesses and public areas.

An overnight charge of eight hours used to give about a 64km charge with a 120 volt outlet whereas a 240 volt outlet would give around 289km in the same amount of time. Today, you can charge your electric car for only about four hours to cover a 100 km distance.

Lithium-based batteries are often chosen for their high power and energy density, although may wear out over a long period of time. However, there are many emerging technologies trying to combat this issue. Power banks are also being considered to help charge the car while on the move.

Even though electric cars showed good pros, they still had a few flaws that made gasoline powered cars to take over the market.

By the year of 1912, the price of gas cars was reduced to less than half the cost of the electric cars on the market. By then, electricity was less available to citizens and only actually existed in major cities; there was a sharp decline in the prevalence of electric vehicles.  As more gas stations appeared, less electric cars would be seen on roads. By the time it was 1930, there were no electric cars to be seen.

According to lelandwest, Decades later during the 1970s, gasoline shortages began driving up the prices of oil. Shortly following the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, congress passed legislation that encouraged support of research and development in electric and hybrid vehicles. Although, electric vehicles were still limited to approximately 40 miles per charge, and a top speed of 45 miles per hour, which prohibited them from successfully re-entering the automotive market.

One of the most known electric vehicles is the GM’s EV1. This car didn’t sell well, but it did have a huge following later. The EV1 was able to hit 50 mph in seven seconds and have a range of 80 miles. The car was very expensive to build and never became commercially available and because of this. In 2001, the EV1 was discontinued.

The Tesla Roadster became available in 2008. While far from perfect, it was able to cover more than 200 miles on one charge of the battery.

It was followed fairly quickly by the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in Japan. The development and release of these two vehicles, but especially of the Tesla, marked the beginning of the modern EV period.

Interest in electric and other alternative fuel vehicles has increased due to growing concern over the problems associated with hydrocarbon-fuelled vehicles, including damage to the environment caused by their emissions, and the sustainability of the current hydrocarbon-based transportation infrastructure as well as improvements in electric vehicle technology.

It’s also interesting to note that a locally-based based company in Zambia. Amilak Investments also launched electric powered vehicles last year and they will be selling this February.

Amilak Investment Chief Executive Officer, Charles Kalima said Zambia will be the hub of the electric vehicles manufacturing in the SADC region.

“The simplicity of electric cars is that it has a simple charging process, you can simply charge it from your home or anywhere you find a power source using the normal household sockets.

Currently, the Electric vehicle is exempted from excise duty so you only pay customs and VAT. The company has four models with the cheapest car expected to cost around US$15, 000. This is about ZMW 179, 940.00.

 

Downsides

EVs are not for everyone especially if you love speed. EVs are also quite expensive; although currently Tesla is working on one that will be cheaper.  Another downside is that electric vehicle batteries can catch fire after a crash or mechanical failure. Plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have occurred, albeit less per mile than I.C.E vehicles.

The first modern crash-related fire was reported in China in May 2012, after a high-speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen. The second reported incident occurred in the United States on October 1, 2013, when a Tesla Model S caught fire over ten minutes after the electric car hit metal debris on a highway in Kent, Washington state, and the debris punctured one of 16 modules within the battery pack.

 

Conclusion

It’s obvious that EVs are now here to stay. But what does this mean for gas cars? If electric cars keep on coming then maybe it does have potential to kill out gas cars.

With batteries on the rise, it is possible that lithium could replace the struggle for oil. Statistics show that as of September 2018, there were over 4 million all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars in use around the world, of which, about 2.6 million were pure electric cars (65 percent).

Bob Lutz, former chairman of General Motors, predicts that “by 2039, almost all private transportation will be done by electric vehicles.”

For comments and contributions or if you have a question or topic you would like us to cover in this column, email me on slickmedia6@gmail.com. Text or WhatsApp +260977258265.

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