September 9, 2013
The Growing Appeal Of Electric Cars
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The inventor of the battery device used in General Motor's first electric vehicle says the new allure of electric cars is speed and performance, not just fuel efficiency.
John E. Waters said at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that recent advances in the engineering of electric vehicles are allowing the future road-dwellers to rival the speed and performance of cars developed by Porsche or BMW.
"Experimental electric cars already have achieved sustained speeds of more than 180 miles per hour, and established world speed records above 300 mph," Waters said in a press release. "Electric cars have inherent advantages in efficiency and torque over gasoline-powered vehicles. Energy storage-to-torque on an EV platform is above 90 percent efficient, compared to less than 35 percent for internal combustion engines. I have no doubt that battery-powered race cars will be attracting race fans in the immediate future."
Waters, who at one point helped set an electric vehicle world speed record speed of 183 miles-per hour, said electric race cars have a great capacity for speed because they utilize energy more efficiently than internal combustion engines.
Transforming gasoline into motion involves multiple steps, but in electric vehicles the conversion is a bit more direct. With gasoline, each step consumes energy before it can be applied as motion, or torque, to the wheels at less than 8,000 rpm, but electric vehicles can provide up to 15,000 revolutions per minute.
The scientist said that electric vehicles have "instant torque" that has enabled test cars to rush from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four-seconds.
"It's hard to believe unless you experience it. Every Tesla owner knows what I am talking about," Waters said.
He said that electric vehicles could already compete with some of the fastest cars in the world today.
"With the dawn of new and advanced energy storage, we will soon see supercars – electric race cars with instant torque – that accelerate in a blink of an eye and reach top speeds of 200 mph or more," Waters said.
"And this will all happen with an appealing but moderate sound, minimal heat and absolutely no exhaust fumes belching from exhaust pipes. And one more thing: It will cost race teams less money to own and operate their cars than they spend today on non-sustainable technology."
Elon Musk, eccentric billionaire and founder of Tesla Motors, says his goal in creating the all-electric Model S was not to create the best electric vehicle in the world, but the best car on the road. Musk reached that goal in January when his Model S won the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, a highly coveted international award among car manufacturers.
Motor Trend said the car is "one of the quickest American four-doors every built" that moves as smoothly as a Rolls-Royce and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius.