So many of us have experienced the agonizing feeling of watching our bill soar skyward as we seek simply to fill up our gas tanks. Gas prices have seen a twelve percent increase in the last year and have quadrupled over the past thirteen years. And the demand for this precious resource only looks to be increasing; mega-developing nation China forecasts their demand for petroleum to increase five percent this year alone . What can be done about this?
To reduce our extreme dependence on such a very limited resource, many have placed faith on a very simple solution: stop using it so much. The best way to do this in many minds is to develop a practical electric car that can be used in place of gas-based vehicles. Recently, electric vehicles have seen an explosion of development, hindered only by the perception of price as compared to gas. Yet the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office predicts that the cost of making lithium-ion batteries will drop dramatically, from $800 per kWh today to nearly $300 by 2015 . This cost drop could result in electric cars becoming a cheaper option than the cars we utilize today.
Another issue haunting current electric car supporters is how far they can drive without having to stop to plug in. Lithium-ion batteries have seen a recent world record setting with a 400 watt-hour/kilogram battery, which results in a 300 mile range compared to the current 80-100 mile range seen today . But how to manage these swarms of cars all thirsting for electricity at once? For a successful climb to prominence, the electric vehicle must also be able to charge up seamlessly. Development of the energy grid and smart interactions between the grid and the vehicle are paramount to the success of the electric car. Projections indicate that cars will be able to coordinate across the grid and communicates with the grid to charge based on a schedule that will reduce price and increase efficiency . When factored together, these multiple developments and projections should yield a practical electric vehicle for many people to rely on for years to come.
The development of Electric Cars promises to be a feasible option to relieve our petroleum dependence. While several issues still face its viability, trends indicate that before long the technology will catch up and that Electric Vehicles will be a tremendous part of our future.