The History of Battery Electric Vehicles

Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs, predated the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. It was between 1832-1839 that Robert Anderson, a Scottish businessman, invented the first electric carriage and Professor Sibrandus Stratingh from the Netherlands designed the first small-scale electric car which was built by his assistant Christopher Becker in 1835.

The storage battery improved, firstly by Gaston Planté, a French physicist who invented the lead acid cell in 1859 and the first rechargeable battery. Then, in 1881, Camille Faure developed a more efficient and reliable battery which became so successful in the early electric cars. This discovery caused battery electric vehicles to flourish, with France and Great Britain being the first nations to support widespread development of electric vehicles.

Prior to 1900, battery electric vehicles held many speed and distance records, the most notable of which, was the breaking of the 100 km/h (60 mph) speed barrier. It was by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899 in a rocket-shaped vehicle named Jamais Contente (Never Happy) which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph).

During the early 20th Century, battery electric vehicles outsold gasoline powered vehicles and were successfully sold as town cars to upper-class customers. Because of technological limitations, these cars were limited to a top speed of about 32 km/h (20 mph). The cars were marketed as “suitable vehicles for women drivers”. Electric vehicles did not need hand-cranking to start.

One of the downfalls of the battery electric vehicle was the introduction of the electric starter in 1913. It simplified the task of starting an internal combustion engine which was previously difficult and dangerous to start with the crank handle. Another was the mass-produced and relatively cheap Ford Model-T. Finally, the loss of Edisons direct current electric power transmission system. He was battling with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla over their desire to introduce alternating current as the principal electricity distribution. Edison’s direct current was the load for electric motors.

Battery electric vehicles were limited to niche applications. Forklift trucks were battery electric vehicles when introduced in 1923. BEV golf carts which were used as neighborhood electric vehicles and were partially “street legal”. By the late 1930s, the electric automobile industry had disappeared until the invention of the point contact transistor in 1947 which started a new era of electric vehicle.

In 1959 the Henney Kilowatt was introduced and was the world’s first modern transistor-regulated electric car and the predecessor to the more recent battery electric vehicles such as General Motors EV1. Only 47 Henney Kilowatts were produced, 24 being sold as 1959 models and 8 as 1960 models. It is not clear what happened to the other 15 built but it could be possible that they were sold as 1961 or 1962 models. None of the 8 1960 models were sold to the public because of the high manufacturing costs, but were sold to the electric cooperatives who funded the project.

It is estimated that there are between four and eight Henney Kilowatt battery electric vehicles still in existence with at least two of the survivors still driven periodically.

Battery electric vehicles have had issues with high battery costs, with limited travel distances, with charging time and the lifespan of the battery, although advancements in battery technology has addressed many of those problems.

At the present time, controversy reigns over battery electric vehicles. Campaigners, (et al) for BEV’s are accusing three major US automobile manufacturers of deliberately sabotaging BEV efforts through several methods, for instance, failing to market, failing to produce appropriate vehicles, by failing to satisfy demand and using lease-only programs with prohibitions against end of lease purchase.

In their defense, the three major manufacturers they have responded that they only make what the public want and the current trend is that the public doesn’t want battery electric vehicles.

Although we have the technology to manufacture and provide BEVs, one of the biggest downfalls for the prolific production of BEVs is the extortionate cost of replacement batteries. In some cases the cost of replacement batteries can be more than the price of the whole vehicle, especially when buying used battery electric vehicles.

What You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle technology has been around for more than 100 years, but the current iteration of EVs has only been available since 2008 when the Tesla Roadster was brought to the market. The Tesla is now gone, but a whole slew of vehicles have emerged including battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

All the different names mean one thing: you need to understand what is out there to ensure that you get the type of vehicle that meets your needs, advances your lifestyle or both. Let’s take a look at electric vehicles and what these cars mean for you and your wallet.

Fuel Savings — Across the board, EVs of all stripes use less fuel than conventional internal combustion engines. BEVs use no gasoline, deriving energy strictly from the electric grid. Hybrids, whether conventional models or the plug-in variety, rely on a gasoline energy as well as a battery pack to drive these cars. FCEVs are rare, but include the Honda FCX Clarity, a vehicle that runs on hydrogen.

Reduced Emissions — ‘Tis true: you’ll pollute less with an EV, but you’ll still have some impact on the environment, sometimes indirectly. Vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf EV tout not having a tail pipe, suggesting that driving such a vehicle means no pollution is emitted. However, the Leaf taps into the power grid and coal burning plants supply the power hat helps EVs run. Thus, the Leaf and vehicles like it indirectly pollute. Hybrids pollute too, but less so than conventional models as these run on gasoline only part of the time. FCEVs offer no pollution whatsoever as these vehicles run on hydrogen.

Vehicle Costs — You’ll pay thousands of dollars more for an EV than you will pay for a comparable gas-powered car. Sometimes those differences can be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars. Electric battery packs are expensive, costing manufacturers $8,000 to $12,000 to produce, a cost that is passed on to the consumer. However, if you keep your vehicle for many years you may recoup this cost. Moreover, federal tax credits and local incentives can reduce your ownership costs.

Recharging Inconvenience — Except for conventional hybrids and FCEVs, you’ll need to recharge your vehicle for it to run on electric power. You’ll also face a limited vehicle range of 65 to 90 miles between charges. If you buy a plugin hybrid, such as the Chevy Volt, you extend your range as a small, gas engine kicks in. You’ll still pay for gas, but use less of it.

One area that is hard to quantify with electric vehicles is actual mileage. The Environmental Protection Agency has attempted to come up with a comparable number, but those figures may not tell the whole story. Much caution must be exercised when shopping for an EV as well as any new car.

Electrifying Facts on Electric Vehicle Conversion – All You Need to Know

Right now, with the gas at prices that we have never seen before, many people are looking for ways to cut down on gas consumption and there are some people who are looking at ways to avoid using gas at all. They are researching electric vehicle conversion which is converting a car or small truck to run on electricity instead of gas. There are many benefits to having vehicle that runs on just electric but an electric vehicle conversion is no simple task. The benefits for the vehicle are, smooth running, low maintenance, low vibration, economical, and totally convenient. An electric vehicle conversion is complicated. As well as no longer using gas the vehicle will no longer use oil, an exhaust, belts, hoses, water pump, coolant, radiator, spark plugs, plug wires, and injectors. So this is not a job that should be undertaken by an amateur.

If you are a mechanic who knows what they are doing, the electric vehicle conversion can be done in your own garage, with few specialist tools. The materials needed for the electric vehicle conversion is of course the electric motor, the motor mount, motor controller, speed controller, system control box, high current shunt, high current fuse, high current circuit breaker, current meter, voltmeter, clutch plate hub adapter, main battery bank, 12V battery charger, 6V golf cart batteries (common choice), battery rack, cable terminal lugs, along with a vacuum pump and switch kit for the brakes.

Other materials for the electric vehicle conversion will include any kind of framework that you would want to use to house the batteries that are needed to run the vehicle. Cars that are most commonly used used in electric vehicle conversion are the Chevy S10, Dodge Colt, Daytona Ford Escort, Porsche 914, Honda Civic, Mazda B2000 pickup, Datsun pickup, Plymouth Sundance, Pontiac Fiero, Suzuki Samurai, Toyota pickup, and Volkswagen Beetles.

The cost of the electric vehicle conversion will vary and depend greatly on the vehicle that is going to be converted. This can range from $6500 and $9500 dollars and that estimate does not include the cost of the vehicle itself.

Depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of batteries that are used in the conversion, the distance the vehicle can drive on one charge will vary accordingly. The general Chevy S10 which has 16 six-volt batteries and weighs a total of 3700 pounds, will go about 35 miles on a full charge. If you have more batteries on a lighter car, then you will be able to go much further on a single charge.

The weight of the vehicle will also factor on how fast the vehicle will be able to go. The lighter the car and more batteries, the faster it can go. Historically electrically converted cars were slow but now they can achieve speeds of 60 to 80 mph.

Deciding on whether this option is right for you really depends on your mileage, how long you intend to keep you vehicle, and of course your commitment to the environment. Hopefully i’ve sparked enough interest for you to want to find out more.