Sunday, August 12, 2007


The first electric cars were built in the early 1880s shortly before interior combustion powered cars appeared. For a period of time electrics were measured superior due to the silent nature of electric motors compare to the very loud noise of the gasoline engine. This supreme benefit was removed with Hiram Percy Maxim's invention of the muffler in 1897. Thereafter internal combustion powered cars had two critical advantages:
1) Long range and 2) high specific energy (far lower weight of petrol fuel against weight of batteries). The building of battery electric vehicles that could competitor internal combustion models had to wait for the introduction of modern semiconductor controls and enhanced batteries. Because they can deliver a high torque at low revolutions electric cars do not need such a complex drive train and transmission as internal combustion powered cars. Some post-2000 electric car designs are able to speed up from 0-60 mph (96 km/hour) in 4.0 seconds with a top speed around 130 mph (210 km/h). Others have a variety of 250 miles (400 km) on the EPA highway cycle requiring 3-1/2 hours to completely charge. Equivalent fuel efficiency to internal combustion is not well defined but some press reports give it at approximately 135 mpg.

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