Dec 3, 2012 2:00 AM
Silence. Driving in silence. What is more surprising when one gets behind the wheel of an electric car it is how relaxed driving in silence. Candide, technical expert Mitsubishi electric vehicles, helps us in starting the i-Miev is parked outside the offices of the Japanese, on the outskirts of Madrid, Alcobendas. No sound. This is one of the twelve i-Miev that are now circulating in Europe. Have passed through the hands of ministers, mayors and directors of large utilities and energy. Everyone wants to try an electric because everyone knows that something is cooking in the barracks of the automotive sector. A change whose magnitude is to be determined, but it may lead to a new industrial model. Has been told the country, the government will present in October a comprehensive plan that is developing electric car with electricity companies, car manufacturers and administrations. Spain is not to be outdone, the accelerator want electric cars.
The i-Miev glides silently through the surrounding National I . Surprise thrust force, called torque. As you start to step on the gas, one perceives a sound that recalls the distant echo of a jet plane. This is the first electric car series history. Manufactured in Mizushima, a city in western Japan. The first 1,400 units to be delivered starting in late July in Japanese territory. A Spain will arrive in fall 2010.
The i-Miev grips well in corners. There is a golf cart. One gets the feeling that you are driving a real car. The battery leads attached to the underside, encapsulated, weighs 230 kilos, so the stability of the i-Miev is remarkable. It is precisely the new generation of batteries, lithium ion, those of mobile and portable, which changes the landscape, which makes for hope that this is finally the definitive start of the electric car. In the 70s, he tried to prosper, but the perennial problem, the autonomy of the car, slowed expectations.
Electric cars that will hit the market in the next three years offer autonomy ranging from 120 to 200 kilometers. Yes, the prices are prohibitive today: 42,840 euros a Panda, a Fiat 500 49 300. Supports up to 7,000 euros to the government last week approved not prevent an electric is three to six times more expensive than its gasoline version. "The technology will be lowering the cost of batteries," says José María López, deputy director of the University Institute for Automobile Research (INSIA). Mass production of the batteries is one of the keys. "Around 2020, 20% of the vehicle fleet could be electric," he predicts.
There are several factors driving the electric car startup definitive. The European Commission already requires manufacturers to reduce emissions, the average of the entire fleet of each brand must be less than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2012 - which marks leads to bet on hybrid and electric cars. In fact, all being investigated in these new lines. The Directives on air quality of cities also require reducing emissions: the center of London and is paying a toll comes the electric car should not pay, for 2001 is expected to entire municipal fleet in Madrid come from alternative energy.
If you consider that today there are 700 million vehicles in the world, but in 2020 there will be 1200: How similar are facing increased demand? It seems unlikely that oil can cover it. "The implementation process of the electric car is faster than it looks," says Juan Luis Pla, Transport chief IDEA (Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy), "but it takes a critical element or a catalyst" he explains. "I see green shoots," he says with a half smile, "but the catalyst can occur when oil is back to $ 150, when a liter of petrol cost us two euros. The electric car is coming from the hand of the reactivation economic, in two or three years. "
The new vehicle will enter through the door of the government, who can afford the high prices as part of its environmental commitment. Post fleets, buses, garbage trucks, taxis. Take longer to become a real option for individuals.
The first 1,400 units of the i-Miev, in fact, are for Japanese administrations and municipalities. Postal services in France have acquired 10,000 electric vehicles, according to the magazine World Watch. U.S. just approved 8,000 million in loans to industry for development of electric cars. The UK has decided to allocate 30 million euros to a pilot. In Portugal, in 2011, 1300 will electrolineras, ie posts to recharge the battery. "By 2025 it is possible that internal combustion cars are even prohibited" blurts José Santamarta Narbona former adviser at the Ministry of Environment and electric car expert. Sweden wants to ban the 2030. The bet is global.
In the international forefront stands Israel, which wants to reduce by 25% its oil imports and where the company Better Place has located your test lab. This is a perfect country for the experiment: the distances between major towns hardly exceed 150 kilometers. The ambitious entrepreneur Shai Agassi israeloamericano circumvents one of the key obstacles, price, suggesting that people buy the car without the battery. This, along with the energy and infrastructure, is run by Better Place. The consumer pays per kilometer. That is, the model moves the mobile automotive sector.
By telephone from Tel Aviv, his brother, Tal Agassi, Global Development Director of the company, explains that there are already 800 charging points installed in various Israeli cities. "In ten years, will dominate the electric car," he says. "We are in a massive revolution in the automotive industry." The Israeli government has already launched its series of measures: 72% of taxes paid by the Israelis to buy a vehicle is reduced to 10% in the case of electricity. In 2011 land the electric car that Nissan-Renault factory, with which Better Place has signed an agreement. Agassi says the price of the car is equal or slightly less than a gasoline model.
Travel 100 miles in an electric car costs between 1 and 1.50 euros. With gasoline, between 6 and 8 euros. According to the data handled by the Ministry of Industry, recharging electric energy is 65% -70% cheaper than refueling with gasoline. "We can not wait to run out the last drop of oil to react and find a solution," says Agassi. In electrolineras of Better Place, the car enters a tunnel wash where, in a minute, you remove the battery and put it another.
The brands are already immersed in their particular career. The hybrid car, which reconciles the electric motor and the combustion, is the gateway to power. Toyota has sold 1.848 million units of its hybrids worldwide and now advocates the Used Toyota Prius Plug In. "For us, hybrid technology is the future," says his spokesman in Spain. I had plans with Isuzu to develop diesel engines have been paralyzed this week to go for the hybrid technology.
Renault Nissan, however, skips over hybrid and goes straight to a pure electric, perhaps, could end up being manufactured in Valladolid in 2012. His research is focused on getting a battery that provides a range of 700 kilometers.
In Spain, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian announced that the goal is to reach one million electric vehicles (including hybrids, motorcycles) in 2014. A goal that most respondents see as illusory but exerts a beneficial effect drag. "The electric car is not a short-term solution, but it will be a mainstay in the industry to be seated in five years," says Miguel Sebastián via email. "It is a priority of the Ministry of facing the Spanish EU presidency in 2010." By the end of 2010, thanks to the ministry Movele plan, there will be 2,000 vehicles and 546 circulating electric charging points. But there is a new comprehensive plan in the kitchen. Industry Ministry sources said, will have three pillars: promoting industrialization, boost demand and infrastructure.
We are approaching a paradigm shift. "The arrival of the electric car charging current model automobile," says Gonzalo Alonso, director of Going Green, this month brings to Spain the Think electric car model. Many manufacturers privately confess their doubts about a solid implementation of the electric car. Oil companies attending the process expectantly. From Repsol, submit an email on recalling that electric cars will coexist with internal combustion powered with biofuel.
"This is a good time to start a technology center," says José María López, the INSIA: "Why go to Japan to buy the batteries if you can make here?" Something is cooking in the automotive sector.
If the movie ends with that in the house of the future recharge our car at night with wind power and seize the solar panels installed on the roof, the electric car trip will be worth it.] For more cars info go to Toyota Prius