Living the electric dream: the future of the electric car

The idea of the electric car is certainly not a new one. While seen as a good way of avoiding the standard petrol guzzling, diesel belching transport, in general terms the electric car has not been considered a viable solution to our heavy transport demands. It has been seen as a symbol of compromise, where the efficiency and speed associated with petrol or diesel fuelled cars has to be sacrificed in order to reap the rewards of this low- emission and practically pollutant free alternative.

However, in a recent report in The Guardian, the fate of the electric car appears to be changing, as sales of a new electric model, the Vauxhall Ampera, have rocketed in the US, which the report attributed to the huge savings to be made on fuel costs and an increased range of electric cars making their debut in the car market. Voted Car of the Year 2012, the Ampera can offer 50 miles of driving, with a petrol engine back-up if the battery runs flat. Furthermore, the cost of charging the battery will cost, at most £3 and can also be done for free at special local authority charging points.

The Ampera is not the only car to be rising to fame, as the BBC also reported yesterday that an Israeli firm BetterPlace has developed a new Renault Fluence, which has a replaceable battery system. This is based on a similar model by Renault, the Renault ZE (zero emissions). With these cars it is now possible to leave one battery at home on charge, while taking the other out for a spin and in Israel, there are now around 400 of these cars on the road. Betterplace is now setting its sights on the international market, with planned expansion into Denmark and the Netherlands.

So does this new boom signal the hay day of the electric car? With a nation with as big an influence on the international market as the US, it certainly seems a possibility. However, what the industry really needs is not necessarily the interest in this green form of transport (which is arguably there already), but more investment. The fate of the electric car is therefore dictated not only by the advance of technology and public interest but also, and perhaps crucially, companies and local authorities willingness to invest in the cars’ manufacture, accessible power-points and above all a green source of energy that will not simply pass the carbon footprint of petrol consumption onto the National Grid.

News and information sources: The Guardian Online, BBC website, Vauxhall website, BetterPlace website, Wikipedia

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Here at TJC Global we offer a range of translation and interpreting services for environment- related work. Our translators and interpreters are familiar and experienced with the issues and terminology regarding several parts of this field, including carbon emissions, automotive engineering, environmental technologies and also environmental law. For further information please visit our websites at TJC Oxford or TJC Global, or contact us directly.

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