Electric cars are becoming more and more popular. While the hybrid car is merely a transition from gas power to electric power, the time is coming when totally electric cars will be the norm on the road.
The Advantages of an Electric Car
The downside of electric cars is their being initially expensive. But in the long run, they are quite affordable to keep and maintain. And considering that electric cars have only recently been introduced to the market, in the coming years as technology becomes more advanced and cheaper ways are found to mass manufacture electric cars, they are bound to get cheaper and more ubiquitous over time.
Electric car motors have been shown to be more energy efficient than normal engines. Internal combustion engines work by transforming heat energy (from the combustion of fossil fuels) into mechanical energy. This is not a very efficient system, as much of the heat is lost as it radiates out of the engine. In contrast, the electric car engine converts electrical energy to mechanical energy, with little energy lost in between. Because of this, it may be as much as four times cheaper to use an electric car daily. Electric cars are also low maintenance compared to gasoline-powered cars, which require a great numbers of parts that are constantly subjected to heat and pressure and are constantly getting worn down.
Electric car batteries come in a wide range of types, depending on the manufacturer and the use of the car. Currently, one of the most promising battery type is the lithium ion phosphate battery, somewhat related to the laptop battery.
Naturally, electric car companies are always looking for optimal battery solutions for problems such as charging time, safe connections and travel capacity per charge. Usually electric cars are used as city cars, and able to go for medium-ranged distances before requiring recharging. If longer trips are desired, some countries with many electric cars have already begun distributing electric car charging stations along the roadsides. In Brazil for example, electric charging stations are powered by solar energy, further emphasizing the fact that electric cars are very environmentally friendly.
Depending on the battery, charging an electric car may take from 30 minutes to 6 hours. In general, most people will take their charging time while sleeping at home or working at the office.
Buying or Converting
If you have an existing gasoline-powered car and don't want to buy a brand new electric car, a rising number of automotive shops and automotive enthusiasts offer electric car conversion. Conversion is relatively inexpensive, and in some developing countries, home enthusiasts simply do it because it's just a cheaper way to travel. Electric car conversion kits are also beginning to be available on the market.
For most people, buying a brand new electric car is their preferred method. And while electric cars may be a bit more expensive, this may be offset by the fact that some countries (the U.S. most especially) offer income tax credit for electric cars purchased by individuals or companies. This is only part of a new act passed by the government, and is seen as a great step towards a cleaner, greener country.
New electric cars are getting better and better, in terms of long range traveling, energy efficiency and battery charge time. Helping this is an ever-increasing infrastructure grid to support the wide use of electric cars. As more car companies are beginning to look more into making electric cars more commercially viable and available, you should definitely look forward to newer and better electric cars.
Electric Auto Incentives from the Government
Electric autos have many advantages, including incentives such as tax credits. These credits actually reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar. Some consumers are also eligible for state rebates and tax incentives for energy efficient vehicles. For valuable information concerning state incentives, DSIRE provides color-coded summary maps with a geographical overview. Their website also provides information on financial incentives and regulatory policies that promote renewable energy. The maps are also available as PowerPoint slides that could be easily incorporated into presentations or reports. In addition, the website is updated regularly for the latest incentives and policies.
Hybrid Gas-Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles
If a new hybrid gas-electric car or truck was purchased by December 31, 2010 or placed in service starting January 1, 2006, it would be eligible for a tax credit. The amount varies depending on the fuel economy, vehicle weight, emissions standards, etc. You may also need to find out if the particular tax credit is phased out or gradually reduced.
Plug-In Electric Vehicles
If purchased after Dec. 31, 2009 they qualify. The minimum credit for qualified plug-in electric cars is between $2,500 and $7,500. Vehicles must meet certain requirements. For information, see the IRS Notices and v2009-58: Qualified Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit and 302009-54: Qualified Plug-in Electric Vehicle Credit.
For an example of how the government has offered incentives, certain qualified plug in electric vehicles could receive over $4,000 in Federal tax credits alone. To sweeten the deal, the vehicle could also qualify for an additional tax credit of 50 percent of the sales tax. In certain cases, the consumer could get up to $11,000 in combined tax credits.
Plug-In Electric Conversion Kits
The amount of the credit could be as much as $4,000, but it does not apply to conversions made after Dec. 31, 2011. For more information, visit Alternative Motor Vehicle Credits at the IRS website.
Low Speed and â…” Wheeled Vehicles
These have a special tax credit up to a maximum credit of $2,500. Purchases must be made after Feb. 17, 2009 and before Jan. 1, 2012. There are certain qualifications, however. For further information visit IRS Notice 2009-58: Qualified Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit.
The Electric Auto Association
The Electric Auto Association is a non-profit group that works to educate consumers about electric vehicles and cars. Founded in 1967 in San Jose, California, the Electric Auto Association distributes information about how electric vehicles are evolving, and how they could play a useful role in the future of transportation.
What Does the Electric Auto Association Do?
The EAA has chapters across the country. These chapters meet and communicate with each other about the progress of electric vehicles. The Electric Auto Association participates in and advertises various events such as conventions that are likely to promote the use of electric vehicles. The Electric Auto Association also distributes a slick newsletter with a wide range of feature articles about various electric vehicle technologies, including offerings from big players in the electric vehicle industry such as Tesla, the namesake of one of the original pioneers in the field of harnessing electricity.
They also conduct public opinion polls which may be useful in determining the popularity of electric vehicle initiatives.
The EAA provides a wide variety of media resources for learning more about electric cars. The web page for the group includes links to the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and other resources for learning about the history of these alternative vehicles. Chapters of the Electric Auto Association may refer newcomers to these kinds of documentary materials in order to help them become familiar with the goals and initiatives of the greater organization.
Plug In America
The EAA also collaborates with other electric vehicle interest groups such as Plug In America, a wide coalition of alternative energy vehicle drivers. A look at the Plug In America web site shows readers how electric vehicle technology is being popularized now by some major players including General Motors.
As government and business groups continue to seek out new energy sources, the EAA could be expected to play a significant role in how the 21st century world looks at the automobile.