Modern Electric Cars/ Eco Cars
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been around for longer than you would expect. The first examples of cars powered by electricity were in the early-19th century, and were commonplace until the internal combustion engine took over. The first examples were very basic and couldn’t be recharged. However, the modern-day BEV has evolved a lot since then and has overcome technical difficulties that made them previously unsuitable for our roads.
Charging time has always been a big issue among the motoring community where BEVs are concerned. Previous examples of BEVs have usually had charging times of around 8-12 hours from UK sockets. This time has been dramatically reduced by new technologies explored by manufacturers like Nissan with the Leaf. Indeed, the Leaf can be charged from ﬂat to 80 per cent capacity in around 30 minutes from a special charging port.
Nissan has also applied some very creative theories to improve the overall efficiency of the Leaf. For example, the front LED lights are designed to deﬂect airﬂow away from the wing mirrors. This reduces aerodynamic drag acting on the car, so that less power is needed to propel the vehicle forwards.
Whereas existing BEVs have had issues with large battery packs taking up cabin space, the Nissan engineers have developed theirs to free up space. This is achieved by having the thin 24-kilowatt-hour battery pack underneath the ﬂoor. This also has the added benefits of improving handling and structural rigidity. Modern BEVs are becoming increasingly technologically advanced, with the Leaf having a dedicated app for smart phones. This can be used to start a charging session, activate climate control and to check estimated driving range information without leaving your sofa.
Electric Car History Timeline
We track the rise of electric-powered vehicles from their conception to today. In the following lines you can trace the history of these cars from the very beginning.
First electric Carriage Scotsman Robert Anderson builds and drives a basic (non-rechargeable) electric carriage.
Electric cabs The Pope Manufacturing Company becomes the first large-scale electric car maker, ﬁlling the NYC streets with electric taxis.
Speed record The French-built ‘La Jamais Contente’ becomes the ﬁrst electric car to reach 100km/h (62mph).
Internal Combustion engine By the end of the Twenties, the electric car is surpassed by combustion engines.
GM Electrovan This has been credited as being the ﬁrst-ever hydrogen fuel cell car produced.
Electric sports car Tesla Motors begins development of the Roadster, which has been sold in over 31 countries to date.
Mass Production The Mitsubishi i-MiEV becomes the ﬁrst EV to sell more than 10,000 units.
The future Eco cars are primed to compete with combustion engine cars, with extended ranges and faster charging times.