Sunday, June 21, 2009

The first electric cars


The first electric cars were built around 1832, well before internal combustion powered cars appeared.[21] For a period of time electrics were considered superior due to the silent nature of electric motors compared to the very loud noise of the gasoline engine. This advantage 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 versus weight of batteries). The building of battery electric vehicles that could rival internal combustion models had to wait for the introduction of modern semiconductor controls and improved batteries. Because they can deliver a high torque at low revolutions electric cars do not require such a complex drive train and transmission as internal combustion powered cars. Some post-2000 electric car designs such as the Venturi F├ętish are able to accelerate from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.0 seconds with a top speed around 130 mph (210 km/h). Others have a range of 250 miles (400 km) on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway cycle requiring 3-1/2 hours to completely charge.[22] Equivalent fuel efficiency to internal combustion is not well defined but some press reports give it at around 135 miles per US gallon (1.74 L/100 km; 162 mpg

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