The old adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” will be just as important for electric vehicles (EV) in order to gain success in the marketplace, as it was for the ‘American Iron’ in the old days.
Paradoxically, it was the less accessible petroleum, but quick and easy to replenish, which caused the internal combustion engine (ICE) to gain the upper hand over the quiet, clean, but slow to recharge EV. ICE and electrically powered vehicles existed in almost equal numbers — and they were equally successful in sporting events.
Until recently, the infernal consumption engine (ICE) has been choking the world with pollution and restricting the cherished freedom of personal mobility with the ever-increasing cost of crude; — enough is enough.
Ferdinand Porsche’s winning ways with his early EVs, more than 110 years ago, did show the potential of the EV. And Henry Ford and Thomas Edison partnered —100 years ago— to continue to improve the potential of the EV.
Blame the battery! We know the outcome, and hindsight is what it is.
Today’s chemical industry is making every effort to make a better battery.
Throughout the history of the miss-named motorcar, a large number of people have believed in the electrifying potential of the motor, instead of the engine. Overlooked by the overwhelming number of accomplishments of “normal” cars, pioneers of the EV now gain long-overdue publicity; better late than never.
One of these pioneers is Jeri Unser, from arguably the First Family of American racers. In 2003 she drove to a new record for electric vehicles at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The yearly event is called the “Race to the Clouds,” because it begins at an elevation of 9,390 feet, and goes up to 14,110 feet, a rise of 4,720 feet, almost 1.5 km towards the sky.
Especially at this famous hill climb, electric racing vehicles show their superiority over others, which starve for air and lose power — not so the EV. To burn its fuel, combustion engines need oxygen, and that thins out at that altitude.
Many more electrics have conquered The Hill in Colorado, and this link provides an interesting story, a map and a video of the remarkable pioneers and their EVs.
This lengthy video (19:20 Min) features a long list of alternative transportation forerunners going back to 1981. Going forward, and quoting, "Nissan has taken a lead role in globally pioneering the future of motorsport. Clearly, as the world becomes more conscious of resource management, alternative energies will play an increasingly larger part in racetrack technology.
"The arrival of Energy Recovery Systems in F1 and the forthcoming Formula E electric race car championship are current examples of future technology in management of resources in the motorsport industry.
"The Nissan LEAF is changing the way we drive on the roads, with more than 100,000 zero-emission LEAF vehicles already sold worldwide. And the LEAF RC is NISMO's translation of that innovation to the race track – demonstrating high levels of torque and grip – all without the direct use of fossil fuel energy.
“The recently launched Nissan ZEOD RC – [is] the car that will break new ground at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. The ZEOD RC's power plant will include the unique combination of a 1.5-liter internal combustion engine that boasts 400 horsepower, despite only weighing 40 kilograms, alongside its electric powerplant.”
Even more impressive –outright electrifying– is the power of Drayson Racings’s Lola B12: 850hp from a 30-kWh lithium-ion battery. The modified Le Mans prototype racecar set a new speed record for electric cars under 1,000 kg of 328.6 km/h.
“What it shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is,” Paul Drayson said. “Obviously, this is a very special racing car, but by setting this new world record (article + video) here in Britain we say two things: One, it is a pointer to the future -- the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use everyday. And secondly, it's a message about how here in the UK we're a world leader with this technology. We've led motorsport engineering, now we're also leading with electric motorsport engineering.”
Drayson Racing will now focus on the FIA Formula E World Championship. (article of 2014 01 07)
And back on the streets — Volkswagen started series production of the e-Golf in March, and at the recent Geneva Auto Show displayed a concept based on the Golf MQB platform: the Giugiaro Clipper from ItalDesign, with a battery range exceeding 500 km.
Electrifying times indeed, just ahead.