By: Seth Leitman, The Green Living Guy www.greenlivingguy.com
As car companies continue producing SUVs that cannot meet Federal Fuel Standards or reduce emissions that are harmful to our environment, think about some of the statistics and facts from the US Department of Energy and various notable sources.
USDOE states that more than half of the oil we use everyday is imported. This level of dependence on imports (55%) is the highest in our history. They even go on to say that this dependence will increase as we use up domestic resources. Also, as a national security issue, we should all be concerned that the vast majority of the world’s oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East (65% to 75%), and controlled by the members of the OPEC oil cartel.
Further, USDOE goes on to state that 133 million Americans live in areas that failed at least one National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Transportation vehicles produce 25-75% of key chemicals that pollute the air, causing smog, and health problems. All new cars must meet federal emissions standards. But as vehicles get older, the amount of pollution they produce increases.
In addition, only about 15% of the energy in the fuel you put in your gas tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories like air conditioning or power steering. The rest of the energy is lost. Because of this the potential to improve fuel economy with advanced technologies is enormous.
What can we do?
Buy electric cars.
Here are some reasons why. Although they are only at a relatively embryonic stage in terms of market penetration, electric cars represent the most environmentally friendly vehicle fuel, as they have absolutely no emissions. Some of the earliest automobiles were powered by electric motors driven by batteries. Whereas only about 20% of the chemical energy in gasoline gets converted into useful work at the wheels of an internal combustion vehicle, 75% or more of the energy from a battery reaches its wheels. Another advantage of electric motors is their ability to provide power at almost any engine speed.
One of the big arguments made by car companies against electric vehicles (EVs) is that EVs are powered by power plants. They add that power plants are powered primarily by coal. Less than 2% of U.S. electricity is generated from oil, so using electricity as a transportation fuel would greatly reduce dependence on imported petroleum. Second, the energy generated to power the EV and the energy to move the vehicle is 97% cleaner in terms of noxious pollutants. Third, assuming that the electricity to power the EV is not produced from rooftop solar or natural gas, let’s assume it comes 100% from coal it is STILL much cleaner than gasoline produced from petroleum! Fourth, the pollutants or the power plants are stationary sources that can be modified over time to become cleaner.
The major concerns facing the electric vehicle industry are range, top speed and cost. Ultimately it’s the batteries that will determine the cost and performance of EVs.
The only way electric vehicles are going to make a big difference in people’s lives is if it can do everything their gas car can do and more. They have to look great; almost be an extension of the person buying the car and they have to be safe.
Conversions are using currently approved frames and have been going on for gas cars using performance based engines and motors. With controllers (basically, the engine) reaching 1000 – 2000 amps, high end car batteries and the light weight of a Porshe 911 chassis, electric cars can provide respectable performance. Fun to drive as they are virtually silent and coast very easily when you let off the accelerator pedal.
In other words, you can convert an old Porshe 911 to go over 100 mph with a 50 mile range using lead acid batteries alone! If you get the car to go 180-200 miles using lithium ion technology, the cost is still less than some brand new SUVs on the market.
People are trying to move the market toward the hybrid electric vehicle; some are trying hydrogen/fuel cell cars, other are pushing a grid-connected or plug-in hybrid. My point is that you can get an electric vehicle today. You can get any vehicle you want and convert it to an electric vehicle. Electric vehicles are not difficult to build. They are easy to convert.
There are so many reasons to convince you of the need to go electric. There are so many reasons! The cost of a gallon of gas, higher asthma rates, our need to reduce our reliance on imported oils or the prospect of owning a car that is cost effective, fun and will last longer than most cars on the road today. Once again: How about the fact that you can convert an electric vehicle today! Right now and it would cost you less than some new cars on the market.
We need to change our ways.
There are so many television shows showing people tricking out their cars, adding better engines or doing just anything to make it go fast and be safe. Conversions of an electric vehicle do that and more. They allow the next generation to have a safer world without relying on foreign sources of oil while giving our kids really clean and cool cars to drive.
More from The Green Living Guy:
1. Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman and Bob Brandt
2. Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman
3. Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel