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Memories of the 28th Century

Electric Vehicles, past and future

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In the early part of the twentieth Century, there was competition among the manufacturers of motor vehicles as to which type would prevail. Gasoline, steam, and electric were all available, and each had its advantages and disadvantages. Because of the weight, time to recharge, and lack of recharging facilities. Electric vehicle became less popular, except for railroads, where the tracks allowed for easy access to power. The internal combustion engine became the general rule, because the makers of steam vehicles went out of their ways to make their products inconvenient and expensive.
Since 2010, the electrical vehicles have made a comeback, because they donít produce exhaust fumes. but that characteristic hasnít helped the stem engine cars, yet. In spite of their single advantage, electric vehicles still have to problem of having batteries, lack recharging facilities, time for recharging, and the are relatively expensive, and their weight makes them slower and more difficult to operate. In spite to the disadvantages, electric vehicles have become somewhat popular, but steam hasnít shared in the comeback, even though the power train is simpler and of low weight, and they can be produced for much lower costs than the competition. And while electric vehicles are still limited in range, steam cars have a range of hundreds of miles, and they only take minutes to refuel, and they do not produce exhaust fumes, only water and carbon dioxide.
While electrical vehicles get praise for not causing pollution, that is only true of local pollution as they travel. The amount of pollution created in their manufacture and in the production of the electricity they use is considerably greater than the pollution produced at all levels by gasoline powered vehicles, which produce more pollution that steam vehicles. The non-existent advantage in pollution has led to legislation that could outlaw internal combustion automobiles, if the laws werenít so clearly unconstitutional discrimination, but it; looks like the huge price disadvantage of electric I what will kill the electric car in the end.

It appears that only government purchases and potential future regulations ae all that is keeping the electric vehicle from being abandoned. There are fewer private buyers for the things, and their costs are not coming down, products that produce less and less profits for manufacturers donít last long in the market.

There are good uses for electric vehicles, and they have excellent records in railroads and in industrial uses, but the demands on a consumer vehicle are different. A personal vehicle must be available on short notice, a five minute wait might be acceptable, but having to wait an hour for the batteries o charge is not reasonable. Both steam and gasoline vehicles can be on their way within a minute or three. In addition to time, electrical vehicles also weigh a lot. The typical gas-powered passenger vehicle weighs a ton to a ton and a half. Electric vehicles weigh about twice as much, and at least one weighs 9,000 pounds. Weight of a vehicle is something that people think about much, but vehicle weight s what wears out roads and bridges. Weight is also an issue for brakes and suspensions. Most of the extra weight is in the batteries, and batteries are another major problem, because they have limited lives, while lithium batteries last quite a while, eventually they will have to be scrapped, recycled, and that will be a costly and polluting thing. At this time, I believe that batteries are being sold as used or stored for future recycling.

Early in the 20th century, the best known manufacturers of steam cars went out of business, because they couldnít sell enough units to become wealthy, but they had bad strategies. The tried to maximum profit per vehicle, rather than settling for making mor cars that were profitable but not as high priced as they wanted. The drive trains of steam cars are much cheaper to make than drive train for gas or electric vehicles, and while the steam cars could us almost any fuel, the burning does not create the noxious fumes of gas powered cars, because it is not under pressure. With existing technology, we could produce cars that cost less to produce than gas powered, which less that electric, and pollute much less than eight, and could sell for less than a low-end gas car. We just have to move to a different proven solution: steam engines.