ELECTRIC VEHICLE GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND MANUFACTURERS
THIS ARTICLE WILL BE UPDATED SOON
No one has ever built any car conventional ICE (ICE internal combustion engine) or not anywhere as good as the Tesla model S, so why do auto-industry scribes keep on speculating ‘it won’t be long before the established opposition catches up with a similar or better all electric car; they are far bigger and have far more resources’. What! Even if some of the big car manufacturers could do it, it would take at least 2 years to even bring out a prototype, by which time Tesla would be 2 years further on. Further on in technology, in production capacity and with the best and most extensive super-charging network, and with another model out, the model X. They will also have by far the cheapest and best batteries in the world from their very own giga-factory. Besides, since as I said no manufacturer can even match it (see list of reasons below) with a conventional ICE engine car, why should they suddenly be able to do it with an all-electric car?
Why has the competition not responded already? The big manufacturers have definitely more than toyed with electric cars in the past, look at GMs very popular early electric car. Could it be these manufacturers have other plans and other motives? Well, yes, look at Toyota and Honda’s fuel cell cars (see below), which run on hydrogen which charges a battery. They are very good for long range, but no other advantage over electric cars. Why are they so keen to promote this than simpler far more powerful and efficient electric cars? The reason is because the fossil fuel industry is keen to promote fuel cell cars and has put huge funding into them. But why? Because the major source of easy to obtain hydrogen is not from splitting water, because that requires a lot of power, no the major source of cheap hydrogen that can make a vast profit and still be cheaper than petroleum is natural gas. Even better fuel cell cars will have to be fuelled at public station, as for petroleum cars, not at your home because of the inherent dangers of hydrogen storage. This means the fossil fuel industry can keep its monopoly on fuel prices. With electric cars which can be fuelled from any source of electric at home or anywhere, they lose their monopoly on energy/fuel supply.
Now lets consider which points puts Tesla cars ahead.
R1: Tesla build the best cars in the world, this is confirmed by at least 3 consumer surveys. For example CONSUMER REPORTS said it was the best car they have ever tested, electric or not, giving it their highest ever score of 99/100.
MOTOR TREND voted the model S car of the year 2013.
AUTOMOBILE voted the model S car of the year 2013.
YAHOO! AUTOS CAR voted the model S car of the year 2013.
R2: Tesla build the safest cars in the world, this is confirmed by government testing agencies in the USA an EU. The test vehicle in the US actually broke the rig designed to test roof crush. Out of the millions of miles driven and hundreds of serious accidents worldwide in Tesla model S there have only been 3 fires (about 90% less than same miles and accidents for Internal Combustion Engines or ICE) no serious injuries and only 1 death. The death was of a man in a stolen vehicle not wearing his seatbelt and hitting a lamppost at 100+ mph and bursting into flames. Not a typical crash.
R3: Tesla build the quickest saloon four door cars in the world (with the S85D four wheel drive model) acceleration of 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, this is confirmed by German testers.
R4: Tesla build the best handling saloon cars in the world with the lowest centre of gravity of any saloon car.
R5: Tesla build the most aero-dynamic saloon cars in the world which would be further improved if they could ditch the wing mirrors as originally intended.
R6: Tesla build the roomiest saloon cars in the world, with capacity for 4 adults and 3 children and boot space and frunk space.
R7: Tesla build the cheapest luxury saloon in the world, when you take into consideration tax breaks and car road tax breaks, free charging and excellent price holding.
R8: Tesla have the best supercharger system in the world, with 80% recharge in 20 minutes or a battery swap in 5 minutes.
R9: Tesla have the best reliability in the world, there are so few moving parts compared to an ICE engine.
R10: Tesla have the least maintenance of any car in the world, even brake pads last twice as long as most ICE cars as on an electric vehicles braking is done simply by easing off the power.
R11: Tesla cars go up in value second-hand due to people wanting to move up the waiting list, they will not rust as they are aluminium and the batteries are fully guaranteed for 80% charge for 100,000 miles.
R12: Tesla have the most desirability in the world, they will not meet demand for orders even for 3 years ahead and this is with no promotion or advertising and with the model X not even a working prototype.
R13: Tesla has no serious competition in the world, they have the world’s best batteries (Panasonic) which Panasonic could not meet demand for another auto-manufacturer even if requested as Tesla use all their supply. Tesla has the world’s most efficient gearless electric motor.
R14: Tesla will soon have the largest lithium ion battery making plant in the world, producing the cheapest and best batteries of their kind. Any competitor electric car maker hoping to match Tesla in any way will have to buy batteries from Tesla to start with.
R15: Tesla has all the above 14 advantages now, its competitors have none. Even if its competitors were able to match Tesla on paper now, it would still take at least 2 years for any to bring out a working model. Tesla would be 2 years further on by then and not worried as the vehicle market is so huge anyway.
R16: Tesla will launch the cheaper mid-price model 3 within 5 years which will deliver similar advantages in the lower class of cars for the masses. No other manufacturer, besides perhaps Nissan could even match this models specification.
R17: No matter how low oil prices drop it will always be cheaper to run a Tesla as you can recharge for free (or even get money back if you have your own solar panels).
R18: Tesla may not be the greenest car on the planet but it sure beats every ICE or hybrid car ever made in this section.
OTHER GREEN PERSONAL TRANSPORT
My prediction (as of February 2014) is that within 5 years electric only cars will be common place everywhere, and probably be outselling conventional ICE powered cars. If you want to invest and be part of this green revolution I suggest buying Tesla Motor shares, as I have done.
Fossil fuel vehicles have had their day, none but the cleanest and greenest of their ilk or the top end luxury sports car market will survive the next decade. The reasons are not just because they are so polluting, but also because fossil fuels are finite and the internal combustion engine is inherently very inefficient and noisy and need a lot of maintenance.
The Mercedes Smart Car and similar may survive, and the luxury sports cars that are relatively few in number will be heavily taxed for pollution but likewise will probably continue.
What though will replace them? As always there are several contenders and as previously with technology not always the best triumphs (beta max though superior lost out to VHS, Concorde lost out to slower aircraft). The issues are complex and further confused by the media, who either don’t fully understand the issues or are simply behind the times.
The main options fall into the following categories: • Hybrid or Dual fuel vehicle • Hydrogen vehicle • Electric vehicle
HYBRID means a vehicle which runs either on fossil fuels or electric depending on which is most economical for the given journey. The vehicles switches between either automatically, so around town it would be nearly always in electric mode and on motorways switch to fossil fuel. An example is the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt.
ADVANTAGES WITH HYBRIDS are that they effectively cut out range anxiety that may come about from small batteries, as they can use existing technology of refuelling for ICE (internal combustion engine) from a fuel station. The ICE can help towards automatically recharging the electric batteries too. The other main advantage is good savings on costs of transport as the electric motor is typically used in towns and on shorter journeys (usually around 100 mile range) where the ICE (internal combustion engine) would be at its most inefficient.
DRAWBACKS WITH HYBRIDS is you do not get the best of either world, you get an ok compromise of both. The electric motor and/or the ICE are smaller than normal so they can both be fitted in, this can lead to short battery life on the electric motor and under-power from the ICE. They still are using fossil fuels so still pollute and still produce noise through the ICE operation. The use of biofuel can make ICE engines greener. Ethanol such as from sugar cane or corn has to be blended with standard fuel and is not a good way to go. Biodiesel however can completely replace fossil fuels without any modification to standard existing ICE engines. The most efficient biodiesel producing plant on the planet right now is hemp (though algae have the potential to beat this).
BIOFUEL FROM HEMP Biofuel from hemp is called hemp biodiesel. It gives the same miles per gallon (or slightly more) as diesel from petro-chemical oil, it gives the same power (or slightly more) as diesel from petro-chemical diesel and it burns cleaner, produces less pollutants and makes engines run smother than petro-chemical diesel. It can be used neat without any alterations to the internal combustion engine (ICE) settings and it is widely used as an additive to petro-chemical diesel to improve all round performance.
Hemp can produce an effective high yield biofuel, either just burnt or by a trans-esterification process can produce a fuel with properties almost identical to diesel. In temperate climates Hemp may not overall have quite the highest yield of biofuel compared to Miscanthus Miscanthus sinensis, if measured over 3 years or more. But hemp is an excellent soil conditioner with deep roots and once the biofuel has been extracted the leftover pulp can be made into high protein animal feed pellets (as only carbohydrate is removed to make biofuel). Also Hemp has a huge range of other uses that Miscanthus does not. “Industrial hemp is the number one biomass producer on earth. Planting only 6 per cent of the continental United States (34 million hectares) with biomass crops such as hemp would supply all current domestic demands for oil and gas.” Source: Global Hemp Website. It produces four times as much biomass as sugarcane. This can be achieved with no loss of food production land as currently 30 million hectares of cereals (mainly corn) are sown every year and left to rot, they are not fertilized or sprayed for weeds and pests but have to be sown so the farmer can claim money from the government. The other 4 million hectares can be areas where hemp will grow but other crops won’t. Hemp grown on this scale could replace 750 large nuclear power plants or to put it another way 2000x all the energy currently produced by all US renewable energy sources. More than enough for domestic and transport needs.
The growing of hemp in the USA is still banned in most states (despite it growing rampantly in the wild there) even though non-THC varieties are grown in Canada and it can produce 8 times more bio-ethanol than corn (at 1000 gallons per acre) and 20 times more bio-diesel. The energy input to output ratio for hemp is 16:1 better than any other crop. Just 6% of the USA arable land would free them from fossil oil forever (but this is an old figure from 1985). Why the US pursues the idiotic idea of using Corn to produce biofuel, is beyond belief, when such a massive increase in yields of fuel can be made from hemp, and it can be grown on even marginal land not used for food production.
Henry Ford was a big fan of the plant and besides building a car completely of hemp and running on it he said. BEST ARGUMENT EVER FOR WHY WE SHOULD USE HEMP FOR BIOFUEL
"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" Henry Ford.
HYDROGEN powered cars work by the production of hydrogen, either within the car or from an external source, usually produced by splitting water by electrolysis. The hydrogen is then used to produce electricity that drives an electric motor in the car. There are few production models available at the moment the Honda’s Clarity being one.
ADVANTAGES WITH HYDROGEN is increased power, as pure hydrogen produces more power than hydrocarbons. This means increased range with the same quantity of fuel. Hydrogen when used produces only pure water as a waste product so there is no pollution. Though fossil fuels may have been used to split the water in the first place to produce the hydrogen, ideally renewable energy such as from solar panels can be used. Hydrogen can be mass produced cheaply using surplus energy from any source such as the national grid. This uses power that would otherwise simply be wasted by earthing to ground between stepping up and down power supply, which also therefore alleviates fluctuations in power supply. The amount of energy generally wasted by earthing to ground is enormous and this could save many billions of dollars annually. This is an alternative to storing surplus power in battery systems, with the hydrogen fuel acting as the energy storage system.
DRAWBACKS WITH HYDROGEN currently include difficulties with splitting water, which requires a lot of energy making it rather inefficient. However there have been many claims of very efficient techniques being invented which have been suppressed by the fossil fuel industry and governments either by buying the patents for huge money or ruining or having killed the inventor. There is ample evidence of this by the NSA (National Security Agency) of the US government in the list of suppressed inventions uncovered by a Freedom of Information Request. Also many inventors have died in unusual and mysterious ways such as most recently Stan Meyers.
There are perceived problems with pressurised hydrogen storage by some people, but these have actually been overcome and now hydrogen is as safe if not safer than petrol or diesel in a vehicle accident situation.
ELECTRIC vehicles take energy to charge a battery and this battery is then used to drive an electric motor which powers through a gearbox turning the wheels. In some types of EV (electric vehicle) such as Tesla there is no gearbox and the motor drives the wheels directly. Besides Tesla there is the American Smith Electric Vehicle Company (and others see below).
ADVANTAGES WITH ELECTRIC are that they are very green, whether or not electricity is supplied from fossil fuels or from renewable but most people do not realise this. This is because electric motors are at least three times more efficient at converting energy to motive power compared to an average modern internal combustion engine. This means they save at least two-thirds of the potential power that would be wasted by an internal combustion engine through the transport and processing from oil to loss of power through engine noise and heat. Electricity can come from any source, preferably renewable energy.
Not only are EVs far more efficient than ICE engines, they are quiet and clean. They also produce all their power immediately and produce it throughout the speed range. EVs are therefore very efficient at acceleration and fast acceleration does not necessarily mean a shorter range with electric vehicles (because the power is produced at low rpm). EVs have a smaller powertrain taking up less room in the car meaning more space for people and luggage. They are also lighter for the same performance than ICEs therefore saving power. They are much simpler mechanically than ICEs and so need very infrequent and very little maintenance therefore saving on service bills. Electricity is so cheap and easy to produce and the cars so efficient that a couple of solar panels and a battery at home can produce all the power for your car easily. Tesla in fact at their solar powered supercharger charging stations give the power away to Tesla owners (with supercharging capable cars) because the solar panels on the roof of the charging stations produce so much power they actually produce an excess of power which they then sell to the utility companies that run the national grid and this actually pays for the charging stations.
The purchase price is often cited as a big disincentive to buying an EV, however they are so efficient and electricity is so cheap compared to petrol or diesel that they very quickly save a considerable amount of money. If you own a supercharging capable Tesla, and you get your electric free from a Tesla supercharging station then you are effectively getting a $20,000 discount on your car over 5 years of average distance driving.
DRAWBACKS WITH ELECTRIC they generally have a maximum range of 300 miles or less and then usually need 5 to 8 hours to fully recharge on a standard house socket charger. But the charging time can be brought down dramatically depending on the type of charger with some types able to nearly fully recharge a 300 mile range battery in half an hour (Tesla) in operation even now. Charging stations are at the moment infrequent, so without an overnight stop to charge your longer routes needs to be altered and extended to include a fast charging station, but this will alter as more and more charging stations are quickly becoming operational. The purchase price is often cited as a big disincentive to buying an EV but see above.
Lithium-ion batteries are now the preferred choice for EVs but advances are also being made with other types of batteries. New advances with recharging electric batteries means nickel-cadmium batteries for cars can now be recharged in a few minutes and conventional lead-acid batteries in around 3 hours (3 phase socket). These batteries can be recharged from a conventional 3 pin European plug to the mains socket in your home, they do not need and never have needed industrial 3 phase sockets, though they would recharge faster from one. Recharging stations are to be built around Europe, in line with the G20 economic stimulus package (which offers car manufacturers cash for developing electric/green vehicles) where drivers can park and recharge on super-fast chargers. These stations will double as entertainment centres where occupants can pass an hour or two until their cars are recharged. The American Smith Electric Cars company is the world’s biggest and sells thousands of vehicles (cars, vans and lorries) here in the UK.
TESLA MOTOR COMPANY This is an undisguised plug (‘t!) for Tesla Motors, why, because they are one of few mass market electric car manufacturers and the most advanced in the world and electric is the direction we should be heading to cut CO2 emissions, energy use and noise pollution. Other types of cars will play a role in the switch over, such as mentioned above, but ultimately nearly all cars will be all EVs and the sooner the better.
Tesla is not just unique in being the only mass market electric car manufacturer in the world, they also designs and build the models from scratch themselves mostly in-house, instead of using existing internal combustion engine models and replacing the engine with an electric motor. This means they get the maximum out of the electric motors. Their first car was a high performance sports car convertible, called the Roadster. It was based on a Lotus chassis, similar to but a little larger than the Lotus Elise. The Roadster was quick, better than all but a few petrol cars on 0-60, and had a decent range of over 200 miles.
Their second car was the Model S Sedan, again very fast and aimed at the upper end of the German car market buyers. It seats 5 (with two kids seats in the boot making 7 if needed, the only saloon on the road that can) and has a 300 mile range. The Model S meets the highest crash safety tests in the world and is in fact the only car in the world of any type to meet all aspects of crash testing to the highest standard (5) at 2012 levels. There are 75 & 85 KWh motor models available the latter has supercharging capabilities built in and so can take advantage of the free recharging at Tesla supercharging stations, which recharge half the battery in half-an-hour. There are now six of these supercharging stations (October 2012) all in California but they are being rolled out nationwide in the next couple of years. Some people fear supercharging shortens battery life but this is not so if the system is designed properly and together. All Tesla batteries in any case have a guaranteed life of 100,000 miles. The Model S has won three prestigious Car of the Year Award 2012/2013 (Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Yahoo!Autos) already in the USA.
Their third model is the Model X, a people carrier (7 people) or crossover, due for sale in 2014. It is based on the model S chassis but is longer in wheelbase and other components are shared, but features unique ‘falcon’ wing rear doors which open as gull wing doors except they are hinged horizontally in the middle and can therefore be opened in very tight spaces. This arrangement gives unparalleled access to the rear two rows of seats. Following a production example model unveiling of the Model X in late 2012, it became the fastest selling car of any kind this year even though it has had no advertising and is not due for production until 2014.
The engineering standards on all models are extremely high. They have mainly aluminium frames and bodywork, unique high quality suspension, and 18 inch computer interface screen for most of the controls. Important developments have been that the thousands of lithium laptop batteries which were hand assembled into the block for the Roadster are now pre-joined in one special unit at Panasonic’s battery factory in Japan.
This is the company’s main website. TESLA MOTOR COMPANY The only UK branch at the moment is outside and West of London at Maidenhead. All models are available now in right hand drive. TESLA MOTOR COMPANY; MAIDENHEAD
They have branches all over the USA and Europe and a few in Asia (including India and China) and also in Australia. The CEO, Elon Musk is from South Africa, now living and making the cars in California. He started out with making PayPal with a friend, before selling it to eBay, his share being around $200 million. He used this to found SpaceX the only private space company to have successfully docked with the International Space Center. He also founded Tesla Motors with some enthusiasts who had built a one off sports car, which was the basis of the Roadster. Elon is also Chairman of Solarcity the most successful solar panel installer in the USA. In 2007 Tesla Motors hit hard times financially and looked like going bust, this is when Elon stepped in with all his personal reserve cash and took over CEO of the company. He was so broke he had to borrow money for rent. What really saved Tesla was Daimler Motors investment of $50 million at a crucial time, this was so Daimler could use Tesla made battery packs in their cars. Toyota Motors invested at least $100 million (possibly twice that) in a share of Tesla and for the same purpose, but they paid more so they could also use Tesla’s unique motor. Toyota have since launched their RAV4 EV in 2012, this is not a dedicated EV design unlike Tesla and simply inserts an electric engine in a normally petrol powered chassis, therefore losing a lot of the advantages of an electric powered car such as weight and space saving and building in of a supercharger. It also has a rather short range of 110 miles and no supercharger capabilities.
Tesla is facing some problems at the moment even though order books are full for the next year. The problems stem from the inherent huge investment to increase production from the small start-up low volume of the Roadster to the higher volume production of the next two models the S and X. These are still very expensive models but Tesla have plans, if all goes well to produce mass market smaller and cheaper cars as soon as possible.
The other major problem is teething troubles with some parts manufacturers, who seem unable to meet the volumes required. Tesla makes most of the chassis and bodywork and motor in house, but this is not where the problems lie. Currently they have fallen behind projected output of the model S because of this but seem hopeful that by the new year they will be meeting targets.
The Tesla Roadster however quick it is, being quicker than all but a very, very few petrol cars is not the quickest all electric sports car out there, see below.
OTHER ELECTRIC VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS
FISKER make the Fisker Karma which is not quite as fast as the Tesla Roadster but is a very nice sports car, unfortunately it seems to have gone into receivership.
INIZIO One of the fastest cars is the Inizio RTX (0-100 km or 0-62 in 3.4 seconds, 170 mph). The RTX is made by Li-Ion Motor Corp, North Carolina, USA. Li-Ion Motor Corp
RIMAC But the fastest car is the Rimac Concept One (0-62 in 2.8 seconds, 170 mph). The Rimac Concept One is made in Europe (Croatia) and costs $1 Million.
MOTIVE INDUSTRIES INC: KESTREL This promising economy car, with much of it made from hemp(such as bodywork) seems to have been killed off by vested interests in the auto industry, just as Henry Ford’s was. KESTREL MOTORS
SMITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES is the largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles in the world, with several models.
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS: Hemp composite is very similar to fibreglass, as it is similarly bonded with a resin, but the hemp fibre is many times cheaper and easier to use, and much more environmentally friendly. It is much stronger and lighter than fibreglass too, not being as brittle; it is 10x stronger for resisting impacts than steel, as Henry Ford knew. It is not quite as strong as carbon fibre but is simpler to manufacture being moulded into shape like fibreglass. It could revolutionise car safety as well as making them far lighter. Why are chemists the world over searching for biodegradable plastics/rubbers/packaging when the answer is staring them in the face! Its cheap and easy to produce, its environmentally friendly and bio-degradable and can replace most plastics. The car industry is starting to use the hemp composite in a big way, with BMW using a lot for internal strengthening of doors and dashboards. Lotus have built a car with all hemp body work, the Eco Elise, as have the Canadian consortium Motive Industries Inc. with their all electric car the Kestrel. The latter however seems to have been killed off by vested interests in the auto industry, just as Henry Ford’s was. LOTUS ECO ELISE