The Future of electric vehicles with the current scenario of technology improvements is very promising. Companies such as Bosch , Toyota and BMW , Audi are already driving the electrification of the cars in a major manner.
The future can be broadly classified into the following 3 stages.
1) Hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid vehicles : as the name suggests contain two modes of running the engines. A Hybrid car will have an internal combustion engine running with petrol or diesel and an Electric motor that is also used for propelling the vehicle. The Electric motor gets its power from a Lithium Ion battery and is used only during low power drives where the car is driven in City or busy areas that does’nt require high speeds. Once the car picks up power and hits the highway, the internal combustion engine takes over and the car runs like any of the normal cars that run on fuel. The hybrid vehicle uses different alternative methods such as regenerative braking , start stop systems/microhybrid tech to recharge the battery that runs the electric motor. Note that a Hybrid vehicle as in doesnt have any other means to recharge its battery. A classic example of Hybrid vehicle is the Toyota Prius, BMW Regenerative hybrids
Main advantages of the Hybrids are
a reduced carbon footprint- CO2/ 25% reduction of CO2 o/p compared to that of conventional vehicles
Better Fuel efficiency- 25% increase in fuel efficiency comared to that of conventional vehicles
2)Plug in Hybrid PHEV- The Plugin hybrid is again a similar kind of a hybrid vehicle but has an extra advantage . A plug in hybrid as the name suggests can recharge its electric motor’s battery by plugging to an AC poer mains plug. In effect, a Plug in hybrid uses a charging outlet to plug itself to revharge its electric battery. This provides greater flexibility and increased range for the Electric drive when compared to the normal hybrid cars that do not possess a facility to recharge from outside mains. So in addition to the characteristics of a general hybrid, a plug in hybrid has a longer and more powerful range of electric driving. This indirectly translates to higher fuel efficiency and cleaner / reduced emissions. Note that the Plugin hybrid still contains an internal combustion engine for high speed , high performance driving. Examples of Plugin Hybrids are the next generation 2010 Toyota plugin hybrid, Honda concept plugin Hybrid.
Better output stats from a plugin hybrid are
A highly reduced carbon footprint – 50% reduction of CO2 o/p compared to that of conventional vehicles
Improved fuel efficiency- 50% increase in fuel efficiency comared to that of conventional vehicles
3) Range extender-Electric Vehicle- The future belongs to the Electric vehicle -range extender- which is almost a complete electric drive vehicle. This kind of an electric vehicle uses a complete electric powered motor to run the vehicle for most of its journey while using a range extender. The range extender is a small internal combustion engine intented to be used only as a backup when the electric battery gets discharged or weakened. It serves as a backup energy source until the vehicle reaches the next charging station to recharge its battery through a plugin systems. Note that this technology almost reverses the role played by the internal combustion engine in normal Hybrids(Where the internal combustion engine is the main engine and the electric motor is used for low power/perfomance needs). The range extender plugin Hybrid is a revolutionary shift towards reducing dependence on Carbon fuels.
The range Extender outputs statistics are supposed to be revolutionary
A highly reduced carbon footprint – 90% reduction of CO2 o/p compared to that of conventional vehicles
Improved fuel efficiency- 90% increase in fuel efficiency comared to that of conventional vehicles
4)Complete Electric Vehicle- The future of Electric vehicles will eventually culminate in 100% electricity driven vehicles. This technology will obviously use only electricity as the mode of powering the vehicle and will remove the internal combustion engine out of the vehicle. But this demands a paradigm shift and extensive infrastructural changes wherein we have dedicated charging stations network akin to the petrol/diesel fuel stations availabe now in the world. the operational efficiency of an electrified powertrain is a 100% reduction in CO2 emission and a 0 % dependence on Fossil fuels.
Although the road to the complete independence of fossil fuel is still on course with extensive research and development invested in electric vehicles. Many automotive stalwarts such as Bosch, BMW, Audi ,Toyota are already in the race for the holy grail -the comlete electric vehicle which performs as good as the existing fuel combustion engines.
Not forgetting to mention -REVA, a commendable prototype of the complete electric Vehicle which pioneered the concept of electricpowertrain -more than a decade ago . Unfortunately the REVA is still a 2 seater electric vehicle and doesnt match the conventional car in terms of power and performance . However, it s a great matter of pride to find that an Indian company made history with its first of its kind commercially viable electric vehicle.
The future beckons the electrifying presence of Electric vehicles…