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Inventing an Accessible Electric Car

 

Detroit_Electric_car_charging

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Electricity was the first energy source to power automobiles in America, proceeding steam-power and gasoline. Even after the implementation of combustion engines, affinity for electric carriages remained high for several years as they were favored for their lack of noise and pollution.

 

electric_carriage

Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

So why the switch to fossil fuels?

Convenience certainly comprises a large part of the equation, as car models with combustion engines began to cost less than their electrically-charged competitors, particularly around the time Ford began to mass produce them. Prices then varied from 500-1,000 USD for a car that ran on gasoline, compared to 1,000-plus USD for an electric car.

In addition to car prices, the creation of highways and the accompanying  increase of distances drivers traveled at a time meant car owners favored vehicles that required fewer stops. Unfortunately, such vehicles were not electric, which had to be recharged and had ranged less than 60 miles.

This remains an issue today, as despite the growing enthusiasm of drivers to switch to clean energy sources, our society lacks the means (specifically, an adequate amount of charging stations peppered throughout each country) to make electric car ownership as practical or rather as convenient as vehicles with combustion engines. Still, the cars themselves are becoming more accessible. While current market rates for electric vehicles (EVs) are above the feasible budget of most families, automobile conversion is an affordable alternative that, in constructing your own car, allows you to define how you experience clean powered vehicles.

Essentially, one converts a “conventional” car by removing the internal combustion engine and replacing it with an electric motor or propulsion, along with a bank of batteries. This can run you upwards of 9,000 USD, with initial costs tallying to about 6,000 USD, and batteries between 1,000-3,000 USD. The latter will need replacing every 3 years or so. Despite these costs, you will save an average of 1,800 USD per year in trips to the gas station. It also depletes the cost of oil change and engine maintenance.

Depending on the weight of the donor car (it is best to choose a light car with a manual transmission), and the type of batteries used, your converted vehicle should have a range of 60-80 miles and charge time of 6-12 hours.

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