Category Archives: -Uncategorized-

Autonomous Vehicles & The Trolley Problem

Right now, Tesla Motors is already shipping electric cars with very advanced autonomous drive software. Soon Apple will also have an electric car well-equipped, primarily purposed for safe, automatic commutes. These technological developments could potentially save millions of lives from human error accidents. But with the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles, many people have started worrying about the safety and ethics of this new technology, especially when an issue arises to do with choice. In this piece, we’ll delve into the issue of the “Trolley Problem” and how AVs will deal with this and whether all manufacturers have the same stance.

Trolley Problem
Trolley Problem by SELECT CAR LEASING.

Electric Car History Timeline

Tesla Model XTesla CEO Elon Musk demonstrates the falcon wing doors on the new Tesla Model X Crossover SUV during a launch event on September 29, 2015 in Fremont, California. After several production delays, Elon Musk officially launched the much anticipated Tesla Model X Crossover SUV.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The potential of electric cars is greater now than ever before.

Traditional automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler AG, and others are all investing heavily in electric vehicles. And Tesla, of course, has built an entire business on battery-powered cars.

But electric automobiles are nothing new. They actually have a rich history in the US and, at one point, were even the dominant type of car.

Here’s a look at how battery-powered cars evolved over time.

 The electric car burst onto the scene in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The electric car burst onto the scene in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Photo of Thomas Edison with an electric car in 1913.National Museum of American History

In 1899 and 1900, electric vehicles outsold all other types of cars. In fact, 28 percent of all 4,192 cars produced in the US in 1900 were electric, according to the American Census. And the total value of electric cars sold was more than gasoline and steam powered cars combined that year.

 

It even had key advantages over gasoline- and steam-powered cars in the early 1900s. Yes, that’s right — cars once ran on steam.

It even had key advantages over gasoline- and steam-powered cars in the early 1900s. Yes, that's right — cars once ran on steam.

1906 Wood’s Queen Victoria Electric Car.Wikimedia Commons/ Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal)

While the early electric cars were basically horseless carriages powered by batteries, they did have some perks.

For one, they didn’t have the smell, noise, or vibration that steam or gasoline cars had. The were also a lot easier to operate. Gasoline cars had to be manually cranked to start, and the vehicles required the driver to change gears while driving, which was very difficult.

Steam-powered cars didn’t require manual gear shifting, but they could take a while to start and had less range than electric cars.

It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that interest in electric cars began to grow again.

It wasn't until the 1960s and 1970s that interest in electric cars began to grow again.

Participants at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development looking over the Esb “Sundancers”, an Experimental Electric Car in 1973.Wikimedia Commons/Frank Lodge

Much like today, concerns over pollution were partly responsible for the renewed interest in developing the technology for electric cars.

In 1970, the Clean Air Act was established, which required states to take control of their air quality and meet certain standards by deadlines. The OPEC oil embargo of 1973, which skyrocketed gasoline prices, also sparked interest in alternatives to fueled vehicles.

And by 1976 Congress took action and passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act, which authorized the Energy Department to support research and development in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Two companies led the way during the 1970s. The first was Sebring-Vanguard, which produced over 2,000 “CitiCars.”

Two companies led the way during the 1970s. The first was Sebring-Vanguard, which produced over 2,000 "CitiCars."

In this 1974 file photo, this pyramid-shaped two passenger vehicle is a Sebring Vanguard, an electric car manufactured in Sebring, Fla.AP/File

These miniature commuter cars had a top speed of 44 mph, a normal cruise speed of 38 mph, and a range of 50 to 60 miles.

The Citicar and its variants remained the most-produced American electric car until 2011, when the Tesla Roadster surpassed it.

The other was Elcar Corporation.

The other was Elcar Corporation.

One of the first Elcar vehicles.Flickr/Alden Jewell

The Elcar, also known as the Zagato Zele, was a small electric car produced by the Italian company Zagato. However, it was sold in the US by the Elcar Corporation.

The tiny vehicle could reach a speed of 45 mph, has a range of 60 miles when fully charged, and cost between $4,000 and $4,500.

Electric cars weren’t just a US phenomenon, though. Automakers around the world began investing more in the technology. BMW debuted its first electric car at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Electric cars weren't just a US phenomenon, though. Automakers around the world began investing more in the technology. BMW debuted its first electric car at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

BMW’s electric car, the 1602 E, had a range of 37 miles.YouTube/BMW

BMW’s 1602 E was developed in 1972 and was showcased at the Summer Olympics that year.

Twelve lead-acid starter batteries powered the vehicle, which featured a 42-horsepower electric motor. It could reach a top speed of 62 mph and had a range of 37 miles.

Although Olympics organizers used the 1602 E during the Munich games, the vehicle never went into production.

Many more electric cars debuted in the 1970s, but not many sold.

Many more electric cars debuted in the 1970s, but not many sold.

RT1 electric car prototype in Seattle, Washington around 1970.Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives

Limitations in range and speed — and style — kept electric cars from being adopted on a mass scale, and their popularity declined in the 1980s.

By the 1990s, emissions regulations once again pushed automakers to revisit electric vehicles.

By the 1990s, emissions regulations once again pushed automakers to revisit electric vehicles.

Workers at a General Motors plant in 1996 install the electric motor and drive train in one of the new electric vehicles.AP Photos/ Dale Atkins

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment and the 1992 Energy Policy Act helped spur investment again in electric vehicles.

The California Air Resources Board also passed new regulations that required automakers to make and sell a zero-emissions vehicle in order for them to market their cars in the state.

 

The most famous, or infamous, example from this period was GM’s EV1, which was leased through Saturn dealerships.

The most famous, or infamous, example from this period was GM's EV1, which was leased through Saturn dealerships.

GM’s EV1 had an impressive range, but was not a profitable car for the company.The EV-1. Rick Rowen, Creative Commons.

Beginning in 1996, GM produced 1,117 units of its EV1. The car was only available to people in California, Arizona, and Georgia and it could not be bought, only leased.

The car boasted a range of about 100 miles on a single charge and could go from zero to 60 in just seven seconds.

While consumers responded positively to the EV1, it wasn’t a profitable business for GM and the company decided to recall all of the vehicles once leases had expired. The company then destroyed most of the vehicles, only keeping 40 models to donate to museums and other institutions.

The rise of the Toyota Prius also helped grow interest in fuel-efficient cars.

The rise of the Toyota Prius also helped grow interest in fuel-efficient cars.

Toyota’s Prius quickly became a popular car.Toyota

The Prius was first produced in Japan in 1997, but then it became available worldwide in 2000.

The Prius was one of the first mass-produced hybrid-electric vehicles, and it quickly became a statement car.

In the first year of its global launch, the company sold some 50,000 Prius vehicles worldwide.

By January 2017, Toyota had sold more than 10 million hybrid vehicles — more than 6 million of which were in the Prius family.

And in 2006, news of Tesla’s plans for a battery powered car with a range of 200 miles per charge helped raise the profile of electric vehicles.

And in 2006, news of Tesla's plans for a battery powered car with a range of 200 miles per charge helped raise the profile of electric vehicles.

AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

By 2011, the Tesla had launched its Roadster. But while the car had a range of over 240 miles per charge, it cost more than $100,000.

In 2010, Nissan began delivering its all-electric Leaf in the US.

In 2010, Nissan began delivering its all-electric Leaf in the US.

Nissan’s Leaf was the most popular electric car until Tesla’s Model S came along.Nissan

Nissan’s Leaf has a range of 100 miles per charge and a more budget-conscious price of around $30,000.

The car is currently the bestselling electric highway-capable vehicle in the world. As of December of 2016, Nissan has sold more than 250,000 Leafs worldwide.

In June 2012, Tesla began delivery of its Model S, its second long-range electric car.

In June 2012, Tesla began delivery of its Model S, its second long-range electric car.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tesla’s first performance Model S, which had an 85-kilowatt hour battery, had an official EPA range of 265 miles per charge.

The company originally intended to deliver the Model S in 2011. However, the company didn’t begin deliveries until late mid-2012.

Tesla delivered the Model S to the first customers at an event at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California on June 22, 2012.

In October 2016, GM made a big push into the electric-car space with the launch of its Chevy Bolt, an all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles per charge.

In October 2016, GM made a big push into the electric-car space with the launch of its Chevy Bolt, an all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles per charge.

GM’s Chevy Bolt was the first mass-market EV with a range exceeding 200 miles per charge.Chevrolet

While GM has a long history with electric cars, the Bolt is its first all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles.

The Chevy Bolt can go 238 miles between “fill-ups” and costs about $30,000, after a $7,500 federal tax credit. Top speed is 91 mph.

While charging, the car gains about 25 miles in range every hour. The car can fully charge in nine hours with a 240-volt unit.

 

Looking forward, Tesla has big plans to produce its first mass-market car, called the Model 3, by the end of this year.

Looking forward, Tesla has big plans to produce its first mass-market car, called the Model 3, by the end of this year.

Tesla’s Model 3 will compete with the Chevy Bolt.YouTube/Motor Trend

While Tesla has thus far focused on selling luxury high-end vehicles, it plans to begin producing its first budget electric car in 2017.

The Model 3 will feature a range of more than 200 miles and will price at $35,000 before tax incentives.

The company also plans on eventually launching an affordable crossover, dubbed the Model Y, and an electric truck.

 

In response, traditional automakers like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are ramping up investment in the space.

In response, traditional automakers like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are ramping up investment in the space.

Volkswagen aims to make a production version of its all-electric ID concept car by 2020.AP/Michel Euler

During the next few years, we will see a number of electric cars come to market from older automakers.

Ford announced in January that it aims to offer 13 new electrified vehicles, including hybrids, within the next five years. One of the new vehicles it plans to launch will be a fully electric SUV with a range of at least 300 miles per charge.

Mercedes and Volvo both plan to launch an all-electric car in 2019, and Volkswagen has said it aims to have a production version of its all-electric ID Concept SUV ready by 2020.

Here’s a look at more electric cars coming by 2021.

This article is from Business Insider

Top 6 Reasons That Are Stopping the Electric Vehicles From Going Mainstream

Technology has been advancing rapidly in the recent past. In the automobile industry, things have been getting better and better with every day that unfolds.  Electric and hybrid vehicles have now come up with features that are advanced, and you just can’t restrain yourself from. They have high-end performance ability that outperforms the fuel-driven vehicles and rivals. Recently, there was the big announcement from the Faraday as they unveiled an electric car that will only take 2.39 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 97km/h. This is just the beginning; there are numerous other things that electric vehicles will bring along. However, there are still some slight setbacks that stopping the electric vehicles from going mainstream.

BMW Electric Vehicle

Battery cost

Although for the past few years battery cost has been dropping, this is still one of the main reasons electric cars are yet to go mainstream. Once the battery cost hits the $150/kWh mark, then electric vehicles will start becoming as convenient as their petrol and diesel driven cars. Batteries are the main source of power for the electric cars. Therefore improving on its cost, will give consumers reasons to invest in this type of vehicles than the others. Some top models such as GM and Tesla are already taking their designs to the mainstream in anticipation of demand.
Electric Battery Cost

Charging station

Electric vehicles need to be occasionally charged. If you are on the road, and your battery loses charge, then the right thing is to get a charging station nearer. As petrol and diesel stations are widely spread, so should be the charging stations for electric vehicles. This, therefore, has been the main drawback for electric vehicles. However, the problem is getting addressed, and several charging places have been coming up in various public places, shops, and workplaces to ensure that you enjoy the ride with minimum hardships.

Manufacturer’s improvement

Electric vehicles were introduced to the market in 2010 with only two models available back then. In 2016, the number went high to at least 25 models. The number is expected to in the next three years. Although this is a good move towards electric vehicle innovation, still it’s a big problem for the market. There are several buyers out there willing to try out this new machine, but they are not able to do so due to the development speed.

Healthy benefits

Electric vehicles are predicted to be the next generational cars with less environmental pollution.  The fact that they don’t use petrol or diesel means they don’t produce any hazardous chemicals while on the move. There is much debate about how “green” electric vehicles are because of the carbon footprint for producing lithium ion batteries and electricity generation. One thing is not debatable, it’s that electric vehicles emit no carcinogenic and toxic exhaust in the local air that people are likely to breath in. Electric vehicles are also quieter than diesel and petrol fueled vehicles, therefore, minimizing noise pollution too.

Affordability

Overall the reasons why electric vehicles are not getting mainstream, their price is a key factor. The cost of the vehicles, depends on the range and battery performance. However, the market today has several different models of electric cars that meet the everyday demands with flexible range options.

Accessories

This is another main reason for the prolonged setback in the innovation market. Finding some of these Porsche accessories is not an easy task. Once you buy an electric car and you can get a spare in times of emergency has been putting most buyers away. However, the manufacturers have been working to ensure that once their models are thoroughly tested and certified, they will have sparsely distributed among several sellers to make sure that all their consumers can access them with minimum hustle.

With all these things in place, then electric vehicles will be ready to replace the automobile industry. Electric cars are safe and convenient. They are the best way of keeping our roads safe once again. They are the best way to define the technological progress in the universe. The automobile industry will additionally make the most out of this innovation with a higher profit rate over few years.

 

Electric vehicles – How Bright is Their Future Now?

Electric vehicles – how bright is their future now?
Since we live in the advanced world of technology, most of us have believe that the future is centered on electric vehicles. There’s been a lot of debate on the topic. Some have faith that 5 years from now the world will become a safer place if electric cars go mainstream, whereas others are way too focused on the drawbacks of the technology – slow sales, range anxiety, battery reliability, and predictions that seem overzealous.

speedy car

Experts predict strong and steady sales growth
In 2015, EV sales increased with 60% at a global scale, and the researchers at Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict that by 2040 electric vehicles will represent 35% of all cars present on the streets of the most developed countries around the globe. In 2016 we’ve seen EVs increase in popularity as well. Right now we have more charging stations than ever before, and the cars developed by top-tier manufacturers are bigger and increasingly more varied. This can only mean that the future of cars is all about going full electric.
That being said it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the oil industry is currently having some issues. According to Bloomberg, the upcoming EV revolution may displace close to 13 million barrels/day by the year 2040, and as much as 2 million by 2023. Average consumers shouldn’t be surprised that this is happening, and here are some key reasons to back up the fact that the future of cars lies in electric vehicles.

• Lower battery costs – at this point we see prices for batteries go down extremely fast. Increasingly more industry experts, automakers, and even scientists argue that the average price per battery might get to $150 in less than 10 years from now. When that happens, EVs will go mainstream. Bloomberg estimates that in 5 years EVs will be capable to compete with gas-powered vehicles. Both Tesla and General Motors have already started investing in EV technology because they strongly believe that the general prices for battery will drop sooner or later.

• Affordable car pricing with longer ranges – longer-range, more conveniently-priced EVs that run on electricity only that can easily travel 200 miles on a single charge will soon hit the showrooms. The most recent Chevrolet Bolt costs $30,000 and travels 200 miles with a single charge. Tesla’s most recent Model 3 and Nissan’s Leaf model are next in line. These plug-in hybrids are gaining momentum, which can only mean that there’s an active market out there for EVs just waiting to take the lead.

• Multiplied charging stations – “range anxiety”, also known as insufficient charging stations is a core problem of the electric vehicle auto market. But things are improving, and more stations will soon become available for earth-conscious drivers. The industry plans on increasing the number of stations, adding more in common areas such as transit stations, campuses, workplaces, public gathering places, and apartment complexes.
mercedes
By 2023, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, plans to add another 1,500 charging stations in the near future, thus supporting the technology and encouraging people to invest in an EV. Nissan has amazing offers for its future buyers. The manufacturers offers a 2-year free charge when purchasing their newest Leaf model and VW and BMW have teamed up to build another 100 charging stations in San Diego, Boston, and Washington.

The auto industry is pro EVs

Increasingly more car manufacturers believe that the future of the auto industry depends on electric vehicles. Therefore, they’re willing to support and invest in the technology. In 2010, only 2 manufacturers dared to develop EVs. Today, there are more than 25. BMW, Tesla, GM and Nissan are currently in the lead, with Ford catching up and eager to invest $4.5 billion. By 2020, Ford plans to add another 12 electric cars, thus electrifying their line with nearly 40%.
bmw 18

Overall, it’s safe to say that the EV auto market with sports exhaust is expanding. We’re in a constant need for stronger, faster, more efficient, sustainable, and conveniently-priced cars. This means that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that car manufacturers believe in the potential of the industry. The future of electronic cars shines bright like a diamond. We just have to wait and see them fly away.

Eco-friendly cars – top 5 that ruled 2016

Today’s auto industry is incredibly versatile. The latest models available in the market are tech-enabled, lightweight, easy to drive, and ultimately, eco-friendly. Choosing a type that lives up to your expectations can be a challenge tough. Green cars in particular, have won a lot of ground lately. Even top tier manufacturers like BMW, Porsche and Tesla have models you need to check out. Green cars are not just conveniently priced. Some of them feature benefits that go beyond the mere meaning of an eco-friendly vehicle that drives slowly. Here are 5 top green cars that managed to rule 2016, thus far.

BMW X3 (G01)

  1. BMW X3

BMW’s latest X3 model works on clean diesel. The fact that is packs an alternative engine doesn’t affect its speed ratio and driving range while on the road. On the contrary, the car has an EPA estimated mileage of 27-34-30 mpg for highway and city driving combined. There’s also a 6 mpg included that claims to be more efficient that X3 models that are gas-powered. The eco-friendly model is with just $1,500 more expensive than the classic model, so we would say it’s worth taking a chance and choosing the hybrid variant. The eco-friendly BMW X3 can easily handle 600 miles with a tank of gas and an alternative electrically-powered motor; which is pretty good.

  1. Lexus CT 200h

On the market for an affordable eco-friendly car? Look no further and go with a Lexus. The latest CT 200h model packs an estimated EPA of 43-40-42 mpg both on a highway and in the city. Featuring a compact, good-looking appearance and sporty personality, Lexus CT 200h is pretty fun to drive. It has a hatchback body and folding backseats to compensate for the small size. Incredibly versatile, this car is everything you need to travel the world. The blend of sporty character and fuel economy makes the CT a sleek vehicle with a starting price of $30,000.

  1. Mazda CX-5

Who says you can’t have fun while driving an efficient cars? As a matter of fact, you can and the latest CX-5 model from Mazda will exceed your expectations. Those looking to invest in fuel-efficiency should definitely have a closer look at this variant. The CX-5 has an EPA rate of 26-35-29 mpg on highways and in cities; it packs a 6-speed manual transmission, nice-looking body and excellent driving. Among some other benefits, we must also talk about the smooth handling, excellent front seats, expressive design and efficient powertrain. Known as a competent athletic crossover, the CX-5 starts a price of $21,000; variants with automatic transmissions feature slightly higher prices beginning from $29,000.

2016 Mazda CX-5

  1. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Toyota is a car manufacturers that has been dominating the auto industry (hybrid sector in particular) for many years. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the newest Avalon Hybrid model is a top-seller. Featuring consistent mileage improvements compared to other models that work on gas, the hybrid variant has an estimated EPA of 40-39-40 mpg, the highest when compared to similar sedans currently available. The rating improves on non-hybrid Avalon models by an astounding 19 mpg, thus making the vehicle an excellent choice for families and commuters constantly on the go. It also prides with a well-controlled system, responsive & refined powertrains, spacious interiors, and advanced safety tech.

  1. Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

We never pictures Porsche as a hybrid fan, but then again you must give people what they want to be able to live up to the competition. The latest Cayenne S Hybrid actually pretty great. As opposed to most luxury hybrids on the market, the Cayenne S packs smooth driving, increased efficiency and groundbreaking tech advances. The model is the proud owner of 3.0 l super-charged V6 motor and an infused 70 kW electric engine. When combined, these two powertrains pack a total of 416 hp. With permanent all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission, it’s safe to say that the Cayenne S Hybrid is spectacular.

2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo front

The auto industry was taken by storm this 2016 by eco-friendly cars. The array of models is endless, and it’s safe to say that this is just the beginning. Faster hybrids are coming up next, as well as faster fully-electrics. Manufacturers are constantly striving to wow its customer base, whether they’re average buyers searching for convenience or top-tier collectors hunting for the most exclusive models on the market. As far as future expectations are concerned, there’s no doubt that in the following 5 years all the above mentioned manufactures will come up with even better variants.

By Christopher Austin and Design911.co.uk!

Plug-In Battery EVs vs. Conventional Vehicles: A CO2 Equivalent Emission Analysis

Here is a life cycle emissions comparison between electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles that I wrote with a team of other graduate students a few years ago in 2012. It might be of some use to anyone who wants to learn more about life cycle emissions analysis and comparisons. This lifetime emissions analysis includes manufacturing, vehicle operation, and disposal emissions. Notably, it also takes into account which state of the USA a person would charge his/her vehicle in, and how that the electricity generation portfolio of that state affects life cycle emissions. Anyways, feel free to download and share.