In order to discuss the trends for electrical charging cars, you must first look at the purpose behind the technology, and then at the challenges that manufacturers have faced in expanding the market.
History of Electrical Charging Cars
The first electric car in the United States made its debut in the late 1890’s and is credited to William Morrison, a chemist from Des Moines, Iowa. Although today proponents of electrical powered cars tout the “green” benefits, it seems as if the first electrical cars were simply an outgrowth of exploring the uses of battery technology. Sales reportedly were strong and steady as electrical charging cars, despite their short range, were great for getting around urban areas. The rough terrain of non-urban roads hampered the travel of most vehicles anyway. Henry Ford’s production of the Model T in 1908 negatively impacted the upward popularity trend for electric vehicles by providing a combustion engine that was affordable, roughly a third of the cost at $650, and widely available. As road improvements hit their heyday after 1920, the combustion engine took hold as people wanted to get out and explore. With discovery of oil in Texas, gasoline became readily available and inexpensive. Few people outside of cities even had electricity.
Early Development Fueled by High Fuel Costs and Gasoline Shortages
During World War II, the US was a regular exporter of oil to Allied Forces. Following the war, economic expansion and increasing travel created a glut in the market and America was unable to meet its own demand. Importing oil became a regular occurrence. High gas prices and shortages occurred following the US intervention in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) took exception to US involvement and raised the price of oil by 70% creating massive shortages and sky rocketing prices. Automobile manufacturers renewed their interests in alternative fuel vehicles. Although electrical charging car interests grew, a limited range of about 40 miles and top speeds of 45 mph hampered industry growth.
Later Development Fueled by Environmental Concern
In the mid 20th century, conservative movements began looking at the effects of pollution on our environment and our health, spurred on initially by wildlife enthusiast and hunters. Protected to this time by state laws, in 1970 it became the purview of the Federal Government. With the passage of The Clean Air Act and other pieces of legislation, automobile manufacturers ramped up their research and development on electric vehicles.
21st Century-Status of the Electric Car
With the introduction of the Toyota Prius in 1997, followed by electric car production in California by Tesla Motors, the electrical charging car rapidly began establishing a growing market. A major drawback for consumers was where to charge their vehicles. Manufacturers rapidly found a solution to that dilemma by creating a hybrid vehicle; one that was battery powered but had combustion engine capabilities when necessary. But the fully electric car was still the goal. In 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Re-investment Act, congress invested over 115 million dollars to mitigate the major drawback of charging electric cars by creating a nation-wide charging infrastructure. Improvements in battery technology have increased the range of electrical vehicles and are reducing the cost of batteries and electric vehicles.
Charging Stations, Tax Incentive, Premium Parking, HOV Access
According to the Alternative Fuel Station Locator there are currently 15,112 electric stations and over 39,331 charging outlets in the US. Tax incentives are available on both the state and federal level to encourage more electric car use. Consumers may even notice premium parking spaces assigned to electric cars as well as waiving or reduction of fees on High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (HOV).
What the Future Holds
- Greater Electric Range
In 2016, only four of the 17 plug-in hybrids available offered greater than 19 miles of electric power. In 2017, models are available with ranges from 25-30. Fully electric vehicles are now capable of 115 miles and more. Legislation is pushing for a future electric range of 225 miles. MIT studies indicate that the average driver does not exceed 73 miles per day so it is predicted that range anxiety will lessen drastically.
- Increase in Model Selection, Luxury
Hampered to date by low speeds and streamlined luxury, auto manufacturers are encouraging greater market interest by improving self driving enhancements and horsepower.
- Incentives for Private Charging Stations
Tax Incentives abound for public charging stations and a growing number of states are offering tax credits for installing a private charging station in your home. Requirements vary by vehicle but generally a charging station is best run on a dedicated electrical circuit. Charging times will vary by vehicle and by voltage available.
Most Hybrid cars or hybrid vehicles are supplied with a standard plug to connect with your 110-v electrical outlet. Before charging your car, have your home inspected by an electrician to ensure that charging your car won’t overload your current circuitry. If the circuit near where your car will “plug-in” also controls lighting and appliances, you may need an upgrade to your current circuit panel.
A Fully electric vehicle will need an Electrical Charging Station (available in price ranges from $500-$5000). Charging Stations run on a 240-v circuit, similar to that used by your clothes dryer, or air conditioner. Only a professional electrician will be aware of the circuitry necessary and any building permits that may be required by the electrical upgrades to your home. For a professional electrician in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, call Rose Brothers and Sons.