Future: Automobiles will be outfitted with Electric Power Trains and Batteries (photo: Frank Völkel)
Success in automotive engineering is no longer measured in terms of engine performance, sportiness, and size alone. Today, there is a much greater focus on the transformation of an entire industry – specifically, a clear shift from traditional combustion engines to electric power trains. Along with the rise in fuel prices, increasingly stringent emissions regulations are keeping vehicles out of inner cities. The end appears to be near for conventional means of travel. According to the studies of some market researchers, commonplace combustion-engine vehicles will be in the minority by the year 2030. What remains to be determined is where and how people will be able to recharge their future automobiles in a standard fashion and what manner of payment models there will be.
In the short term, existing automobiles will be outfitted with electric power trains and batteries. Manufacturers will produce them in small quantities to conduct field tests – see as well Electricity Meters 2.0 – and gather experience in model regions for later application in mass production. The creation of a small initial test fleet is to be complete by the end of 2011, followed by market ramp-up until 2016. The corresponding mass market will commence in 2017, with the declared goal of putting one million electric cars on Germany’s roads by 2020.
To help Germany become the leading market for electric mobility, the country has established eight different model regions while merging the automotive and energy industries. The German federal government has also designed a national development plan for electric mobility, which foresees the achievement of a battery energy density of 200 watt-hours per kilogram by 2015. This means that a battery with a capacity of 20 kilowatt-hours would weigh at least 100 kilograms (220 pounds) – see as well eCarTec 2009: Electric Cars.
Tazzari Zero: Made in Italy (Photo: Frank Völkel)
Tazzari was also on hand in Geneva to present the conventional autobody of the Tazzari ZERO. Just a bit longer than a smart (9.45 feet) and weighing in at an unrivaled 1195 pounds, this pint-size powerhouse has a range of 87 miles at a maximum of 60 miles per hour. Connected to a 400-volt (three-current) or 230-volt outlet, it can recharge its battery to 80% in just under an hour.
In summary, it is clear that electric cars will have to become more affordable and capable of acceptable distances. The corresponding infrastructure for operation and product capacity will also be necessary, whereby the only sensible power sources will be renewable – such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy.
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Feature Article — It takes just one person to make monumental change. And that’s exactly what SAP employee John Matthews is doing.
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