Technology

Apr 1, 2016

Electric Car – the Game Change

The recent progress in electric car technology has reached mass market this decade, giving drivers a new and never-felt-before experience of car handling. The replacement of traditional gasoline engines with digitally controlled electric motors is just the beginning of radical changes; similar to the transformation that happened to old wired phones. Traditional carmakers have moved to the backstage of electric car innovations, limiting their offers mainly to hybrid electric cars opposite to all-electric newcomers, such as "Tesla Motors" and "Faraday Future".

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The FFZERO1 concept vehicle - first unveiled on January 4, 2016 by the "Faraday Future" startup - is a test bed and a parallel study of solutions for future range of clean, intuitive electric vehicles. "Faraday Future" philosophy is that technological innovations, energy constraints, urban crowding and demanding lifestyles have each contributed to a fundamental shift in our relationships with our cars.

While FFZERO1 is just a concept for a revolutionary intuitive car, "Faraday Future" startup competitor "Tesla Motors", has already sold more than 100.000 Model S luxury sedans since 2012.

Distinguish features of an electric car

Driving experience of modern electric cars is unique thanks to its specific features. Electric motors give electric cars instant torque, creating strong and smooth acceleration. Car is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries that gives unbeatable savings in energy and at the same time protects the environment. The cost of the car maintenance is less comparing to the traditional one due to the fact that electric car has far less mechanical parts.

Some other, less obvious features, includes safety, silence and large space for the luggage. Electric motors are located underneath the cabin near the chassis, providing secondary cargo space under the front hood. Such safe location of heavy motors makes electric cars one of the safest for the passengers and the driver.

Thanks to electricity, a car does not emit any CO2, resulting in a very silent run. Indeed, some electric cars are equipped with specific noise generators to protect blind pedestrians from accidents due to fact that electric cars are extraordinarily silent during operation.

Modern features

Modern autopilot allows electric cars to steer within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by using active, traffic-aware cruise control. Digital control of motors, brakes, and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides, as well as preventing the car from wandering off the road. Model S can also scan for a parking space, alert you when one is available, and parallel park on a command from the sensor screen.

Some futuristic features, like Summon is already available. Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit your electric car, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down. In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you.

The fundamental difference with traditional cars is that some features, like autopilot, are progressively enabled over the time with software updates, almost the same way as your smartphone does.

Disadvantages of electric cars.

Higher costs of electric cars, when compared to traditional ones, range limitations and poor recharging infrastructure are three main obstacles in large penetration of electric cars to the market. However, Estonia and Portugal, within their rather small territories, have already developed national grids for electric cars. Other countries are developing infrastructures in urban areas.

Game change

As the whole game in the car industry has been changing, car manufacturers have started the battle for the electric car of the future. Tesla motors has opened reservation of its third major vehicle Tesla 3 on March 31, 2016. This model will target the mass market of electric cars for an affordable price. General Motors' all-electric Chevrolet Bolt appears to be a direct competitor to this model and is expected to be launched in late 2016.  Several players such as BMW, Daimler, Volvo are expected to launch new models by 2017. Ford Motor Company announced in December 2015 that it will invest an additional USD$4.5 billion in electric vehicles by 2020.

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