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Electric cars: the future?

As the world looks for alternative car propulsion which which will provide performance and be environmentally friendly, designers are returning to their motor car roots and taking another look at electricity as a way of fuelling cars.

Electricity was used as a means of propulsion as far back as the nineteenth century and in fact, into the early part of the twentieth century was the preferred choice for powering a vehicle. Early petrol driven cars were extremely noisy and smelly. They had a higher level of comfort and were the preferred choice of those with money. As recently as 1912, thirty eight per cent of cars in the United States were powered by electricity, with steam being the main power source. As technology and the infrastructure for petrol improved and petrol car running costs became much cheaper, then the competition provided by petrol cars was too much and by the early 1930s, electricity as a means of powering a car effectively became a thing of the past. Price also played a large part as many petrol cars were at least fifty per cent less expensive than electric, which was a major factor in the USA.

Fast forward to today and the world has a whole new set of priorities. Despite the fact that the majority fop petrol driven cars far out perform that of electric cars, there has been renewed interest in electric cars, mainly due to the environmental factors, which are dominating the policies of many countries. This has spurred many car manufacturers to begin to look at electricity, both as a means of powering a car completely, but also in the form of hybrid cars, which use petrol and electricity. The perception that electric cars have at the moment is that they are expensive to buy and still lag some way behind petrol cars in terms of range and performance.

In recent years there has been much work directed in the area of battery performance. As with early electric vehicles, the problem of how to achieve a decent range before the car needed to be recharged has been an ongoing battle. New technology has been dedicated to finding a way of improving infrastructure for electric cars and also there has been a major attempt by some manufacturers to standardise battery packs. At present the perception is that batteries for electric cars may still cost thousands of pounds, however, there may over time be an option to lease batteries.

Nissan have set out their stall and demonstrated their belief in electric cars as a future mode of transport by unveiling what they claim is the first mass market electric car, a five door hatchback called the Leaf. With a range of a hundred miles and a top speed of ninety miles per hour, the car is set to reach the world`s showrooms by the latter part of the year. The cost of the vehicle is on a par with a comparable petrol car; however the cost of the battery needs to be factored into the total cost of the car. Trying to keep petrol vehicle cost down is still an ongoing battle. You may be interested to take a look at motoring discount codes to try and reduce your motoring costs. There may still be some persuasion needed to try and encourage people to accept the twenty minute charging time, which means a change of approach to how we structure our car use, but this may be only part of an overall lifestyle change that we all need to make to play our part in saving the environment.

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