Electric Cars

By: Kaleb Anthony Mlsna

The Invention of the Electric Car

At the time when the first automobiles or "horseless carriages" were invented, they were powered by steam; they were first built during the 18th and 19th centuries (Lampton 1). This was considered high-tech at the time, but to our current generation, it's low-tech. As stated by Christopher Lampton, "The idea of making a carriage driven by electricity originated with a Scottish inventor named Robert Anderson..." (1). Anderson was able to build a crude carriage that was propelled by batteries; however, these batteries weren't rechargeable at the time, so it didn't really have much of an impact at the time (Lampton 1). Lead-acid rechargeable batteries had not yet been invented during that period, but regardless, Anderson was the inventor of the electric carriage (Lampton 1).Later on, this would make a huge difference in the way we drive today.

The Benefits

Many of the electric vehicles that are created today don't differ that much in outward appearance from the gasoline-powered types we still use today (Graham 1). One of the main differences between the two however, is that electric cars are powered with batteries and most other kinds of vehicles are powered by other fuels like gasoline. Because of this, people can save money because they won't have to spend as much on gasoline. When the first electric car was made, Christopher Lampton mentioned, "It could carry 6 people and it crawled along the road at 14 miles per hour..." (2). Through improvements however, they can now go considerably faster than they did in the 20th century, so now speed isn't an issue when you drive an electric vehicle. Electric cars also have rechargeable batteries and more sophisticated methods of recharging. Early advances of the electric car may cause it to cost more, but it's estimated that it would cost about $2-$4 to fully recharge the battery in an electric car (Geisler 4). This is considerably different from the cost of gasoline today. It has been estimated that one would only have to spend $1.14 to go as far as one gallon of gasoline; this averages to about $3.63 nationwide (Healey 2).

Types of Electric Cars and Batteries

There are many different models of electric vehicles sold by many different companies. Chevrolet sells a model known as the Volt which costs around $41,000 (Consumer's Union 1). Other companies such as Ford, Nissan, and Tesla also sell their own models of electric vehicles (Consumer's Union 2, 4, 5). There are also many types of electric cars as well. There are types such as the Hybrid which has a small electric battery and an internal combustion engine which increases fuel efficiency by about 25%, and the electric battery can accelerate the car to 40 mph and then the engine takes over (Tennessee Valley Authority 4, 6). There are also plug-in hybrid vehicles which have both an electric motor and a fuel-powered engine (Tennessee Valley Authority 8). The fully-electric car however, is a Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV which are fully powered by battery, and must be plugged into an electric power grid to recharge (TVA 17). There are also different types of electric car batteries. On another article by Christopher Lampton, it is stated, "Automobile manufacturers have identified three types of electrical batteries." (Lampton 3). These types of batteries are known as lead-acid, nickel metal hydride batteries, and lithium-ion batteries (Lampton 3).

Works Cited

"Consumer Reports Magazine: October 2010." Electric Car Models: Consumer Reports. Consumers Union of U.S., Inc., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.

Healey, James R. "Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars: Savings from Plug-in Can Evaporate Fast." USA TODAY. 13 Jun 2013: p. B.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 01 Nov 2013.

Lampton, Christopher. "How Electric Car Batteries Work" 18 August 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. 31 October 2013.

Lampton, Christopher. "Who Created the First Electric Car?" 06 December 2011. HowStuffWorks.com. 23 November 2013.

Richard, Planet Green, Michael Graham. "Electric Car Design Brings New Possibilities" 06 December 2011. HowStuffWorks.com. 27 November 2013.

"Types of Electric Vehicles." TVA. Tenessee Valley Authority, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

Picture Citations

"Chevrolet Volt." Consumer Reports Magazine. N.p., Oct. 2010. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

"DCL." HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2013.

"Recharging Unit.jpg." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2013.