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Electric cars


									2009           903461824
E183EW Discussion 1H
Chien-Lung Lee 003383449
Aria Afshar    703395321
Martin Wu
Matt Wofford
Rajeev Sekhri
Alex Tseung

[ELECTRIC                                            CARS]
A look at the potential impacts electric-powered vehicles may have on our society.
Table of Contents

Section 1: Executive Summary ................................................................. iv
Section 2: Introduction .............................................................................. vi
Section 3: Background ............................................................................. vii
Section 4: State-of-the-Art Electric Cars .................................................. 1
  Section 4.1: Overview ..................................................................................................................... 1
  Section 4.2: Non-Electrical Energy Sources .............................................................................. 1
  Section 4.3: Reasons to Drive Electric Cars.............................................................................. 2
  Section 4.4: Driving Range Improvement .................................................................................. 4
  Section 4.5: Power Consumption ................................................................................................ 6
  Section 4.6: Electricity Generation .............................................................................................. 6
  Section 4.7: Verdict ........................................................................................................................ 7

Section 5: Technological Specifications .................................................. 8
  Section 5.1: Overview .................................................................................................................... 8
  Section 5.2: Engine ........................................................................................................................ 8
  Section 5.3: Batteries ....................................................................................................................10
  Section 5.4: Transitioning ............................................................................................................ 12

Section 6: Environmental Impact ............................................................ 14
  Section 6.1: Overview ...................................................................................................................14
  Section 6.2: Energy Efficiency ....................................................................................................14
  Section 6.3: Energy Cost ..............................................................................................................16
  Section 6.4: Excess Electricity Needed .....................................................................................16
  Section 6.5: Power Plants ............................................................................................................ 17
  Section 6.6: General Concerns Regarding Lithium.................................................................18
  Section 6.7: Greenhouse Gas Emissions .................................................................................19
  Section 6.8: Environmental Solution ........................................................................................ 20
  Section 6.9: Overall Environmental Impact .............................................................................. 21

Section 7: Production and Disposal of Batteries .................................. 22
  Section 7.1: Overview .................................................................................................................. 22
  Section 7.2: Gathering Lithium for Battery Production ......................................................... 22

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  Section 7.3: Ethics Regarding Bolivia’s Lithium .................................................................... 24
  Section 7.4: Lithium Shortage .................................................................................................... 25
  Section 7.5: Options to Stopping the Lithium Shortage ....................................................... 26
  Section 7.6: Recycling Batteries ................................................................................................ 28
  Section 7.7: Harmful Effects of Exposure to Battery Processing ....................................... 29
  Section 7.8: Air Pollutants Will Decrease ................................................................................ 30
  Section 7.9: Verdict ....................................................................................................................... 31

Section 8: Infrastructure ........................................................................... 32
  Section 8.1: Overview .................................................................................................................. 32
  Section 8.2: Comparing Israel to the U.S. ................................................................................ 32
  Section 8.3: Marketing ................................................................................................................. 33
  Section 8.4: What the U.S. needs to do next ........................................................................... 34

Section 9: How society will perceive electric cars ................................ 38
  Section 9.1: Overview .................................................................................................................. 38
  Section 9.2: Appearance ............................................................................................................. 38
  Section 9.3: Speed .........................................................................................................................41
  Section 9.4: Distance ................................................................................................................... 42
  Section 9.5: Size............................................................................................................................ 42
  Section 9.6: Car Companies on the Electric Car .................................................................... 44

Section 10: Recommended Solution ....................................................... 46
Section 11: Conclusion ............................................................................ 48
Section 12: References ............................................................................. 50

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Section 1: Executive Summary

        According to the Transportation Almanac, most of the ozone pollution is caused by
motor vehicles, which account for 72% of nitrogen oxides and 52% of reactive hydrocarbons.
Air pollution is destroying our environment and gas guzzling cars have a major impact on this.
By 2010, there is predicted to be 1 billion cars on the road worldwide, which doesn‟t bode well
for the atmosphere. In order to care for our future and minimize our reliance on oil, there has to
be a shift to electricity operated cars.

        The problems lie in the abundance of infrastructure and poor battery technology.
Presently, there aren‟t enough charging stations to sustain a society running on electric cars.
This poses a grave problem since the current battery technology does not allow electric cars to
travel far.   The range of a typical battery only lasts about 100 miles, which is suitable for
average drivers who only travel about 60 miles a day. However, this does not attract drivers
who wish to take long road trips or use more power in hauling heavy loads.              Additional
technologies are introducing new batteries that use common metals instead of Lithium and
others that can hold their charge longer, such as the Nanosafe battery.

        A few years in research and development could solve those issues but it is much harder
to change the public‟s perception on electric cars. The unattractive designs available today are
not appealing to the average customer and they are giving the impression that electric cars are
produced for the esoteric few. This is quite contradictory to the intention of electric cars, which
is to replace every single gas-powered car on earth. A greater variety of designs are being
produced for broader applications. There are electric vehicles that can replace 18 wheelers and
tow heavy loads and there are models that can travel as fast as 230 mph. The specifications
are very promising but appearance has always prevented electric cars from popularity.
Companies such as Tesla and Lightning have models that employ nice aerodynamics and
sporty designs to make their cars look like the attractive gasoline powered roadsters of today.

        The future stands bright for electric cars but the existing economic status is preventing
companies from realizing the new technologies that are necessary for these cars to thrive.
Therefore, the government needs to provide sufficient funding to aid the automakers and
suppliers. Other countries such as Israel and China have government support that is enabling
their electric car industries to grow while the lack of response from the United States
government is allowing America to fall behind. The transportation industry will change and shift

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to accept electric cars but the government needs to make sure our society is ready for it by
granting not only funding to the producers but also tax incentives to the customers. Society can
make sure the electric car succeeds but consumers need motivation in the form of tax breaks to
persuade them into purchasing these vehicles.

        The accelerated burning of limited fossil fuels promotes the transition to electric car
technology that will prevent the future deterioration of our atmosphere. The welfare of the world
is reliant on the paradigm shift to transportation that uses a cleaner source of energy. Although
it is undeniable that more advanced technology will assist the realization of this goal,
governments and corporations around the world need to pool their resources and technologies
to facilitate this conversion.

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Section 2: Introduction

       The methodology our group followed in preparing our paper was to divide the
technological and ethical issues into subtopics and then split them among our group members.
We met at least once a week to keep an update on our progress and to collaborate ideas which
we could implement in the final paper. Once we completed writing up our individual topics we
edited them and combined them to make the report.           Finally, we wrote the introduction,
conclusion, executive summary, recommended solution, and problem statement/background.
We then edited the final report and created the table of contents and references sections.

       Rajeev wrote the executive summary, introduction, recommended solution, conclusion,
and ethical topics regarding government support. Simon wrote about the technical aspects
involved in electric car energy regeneration, part of the table of contents, and helped compile
the references. Matt wrote about the production and disposal of batteries, helped compile the
references, and helped with final editing. Martin wrote about the environmental impacts of
switching to electric cars and helped with final editing. Aria wrote about battery technology and
infrastructure and the problem statement/background.          Alex wrote about ethical topics
regarding public perception. He also compiled all the topics, formatted the whole final paper,
and was heavily involved in final editing.

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Section 3: Background

        There is no question that society prefers a cheap, non emitting alternative to the current
automotive status quo. The concern on everyone‟s mind is whether or not such a solution
exists and if it is practical in today‟s day and age. Such a solution exists and has existed for the
past 100 years in the form of the electric vehicle. The electric vehicle is the quintessential
concept to replace the current standard of internal combustion. The only real barrier is the
human population‟s political will and desires to make the change. Much like any other paradigm
shift in history, the movement must begin from the ground up and follow the old adage that
states where there‟s a will, there‟s a way.

        Through its history, the electric vehicle has received much criticism and praise. Some
claim that the source of energy is just as environmentally damaging as the current gas car. In
the process of extracting enough electricity for the electric vehicle, these critics claim that we
are simply polluting the environment from a different source. Others claim that the vehicle is
incapable of sustaining long distance travel and is not up to the heavy duty tasks of current
automobiles. Many of these critics are the same types of people who claimed that we would
never be able to build flying machines or send a man to the moon. The fact is that as an idea
flourishes, so does its practicality and viability; case in point, the electric vehicle. The car had its
prime with General Motors‟ EV 1 in the late 1990‟s and early 2000‟s to both critical and
commercial success. Unfortunately, bureaucratic and hierarchal factors prevented the project
from expanding.

        While no idea is ever perfect, an improvement over its predecessor is always a better
solution than nothing. With no emissions and almost no hassle with respect to maintenance,
the electric vehicle in its pre-production phase has proven to withstand nearly every test it‟s
been put to with respect to durability, reliability, power, practicality, and safety. Much like any
other consumer product, it is up to the manufacturers of these vehicles to sell this appealing
project to the general public in order to garner enough interest to change our infrastructure.
Many have suggested the use of hydrogen fuel cell or air powered cars, but these are too early
in development and are not practical at this point, especially considering costs. Provided that a
more viable solution doesn‟t emerge, the electric car has every reason to become the new
automotive status quo.

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       One of the first vehicles ever invented in the mid 1800‟s was the electric vehicle. This
vehicle ran on an electric motor, and the idea was conceived by Thomas Davenport in 1835.
The actual automobile was not conceived until the early 1900‟s. Different companies attempted
to manufacture this as a mass transportation alternative; however the biggest problem plaguing
it was the inferior battery technology of the time. The batteries used were alkaline and some
were only good for one time use. While many electric cars did actually end up on the road, this
technology was overtaken by internal combustion shortly thereafter.

       The electric car would not see a realistic comeback until the early 1990‟s when GM
announced it would release the Impact, a two-seater electric vehicle also known as the EV 1.
The car‟s body was based on a Saturn model and received relatively good gas mileage. The
car was useful for those in dense populations or urban areas who had access to charging
stations and did not travel very far. Unfortunately, this car‟s lifespan was short lived as it was
only available for lease by GM and was rescinded about 10 years after its release. Its biggest
problem, like it early predecessor, was inferior battery technology, even though its batteries
were much improved over the original electric vehicle design. From that point on, there have
been several models developed with similar features for different purposes.

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Section 4: State-of-the-Art Electric Cars

Section 4.1: Overview

        The recent increase in the fuel prices, the decline in the production of the petroleum
diesel fuel, and the rise in the carbon dioxide pollution has aroused attention to create an
alternative energy source to petroleum energy. Among all the other possibilities, such as using
organic fuels like grass and canola oil, standard gasoline in combination with electricity, and
unleashing the potential of solar power, electricity stands out the most in terms of practicality.
Since electricity simply creates currents and voltages that can be used to power the vehicle, it is
rather easy to regenerate this type of energy. Thus, electric cars are the most viable option and
should overtake the car industry in the near future.

        Since roughly ten years ago, this option has been seriously considered and many types
of electric cars have been produced. However, there were several problems and limitations with
those automobiles. These problems discouraged many consumers from buying the electric cars,
but recently major developments have solved many of these problems and again engineers are
seeking to implement this option to reduce the use of the petroleum fuel and emission of carbon
dioxide. The electric car industry has revolutionized many aspects of electric cars and the
newest technology includes the reduction of power consumption, increased driving range, and
improvements on electrical parts such as the braking system, transmission, control, and

Section 4.2: Non-Electrical Energy Sources

        Firstly, there are many drawbacks with non-electrical energy methods in generating
motor energy. Solar power cars are not efficient during the night time and when there is not
enough heat radiation from the sun. This requires the solar power system to have back-up
power. Therefore, another form of energy is required, which would most likely be petroleum
power if the electricity-powered automobiles do not exist. However, the usage of standard
energy, petroleum, is very inefficient. A study done by Toyota has shown that during normal
driving conditions only 16 percent of the gasoline is used and adding an electrical motor can
improve the efficiency to 32 percent, doubling the original. (Reichel, 2008) Bio-fluid is also not a
proper alternative source. As stated earlier, biological diesel is not available in mass quantity.
Thus, to provide an adequate amount of bio-fluid, a large area of farmland needs to be used

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and this will create competition with the portion of farmland that grows food. The other side-
effects of energy-farming techniques also have to be considered. For example, to produce a
large amount of canola seeds, fertilizer and pesticide have to be used on the land to grow the
desired amount of canola rapeseeds. In the long run, the land will become unusable and would
exacerbate the global warming problem due to extensive deforestation. Figure 4.1 shows the
decline of the oil and gas liquid production in various regions in the long run. Thus, the non-
electrical types of alternate energy could be very costly and inefficient to implement.

Figure 4.1: This graph shows that as time goes on, the production of both gasoline and bio-
diesel decreases. The alternatives to these liquids need to be discovered to continue the usage
of cars (iEEE, 2007)

Section 4.3: Reasons to Drive Electric Cars

       There are many positive effects in driving electrical energy powered cars.              They
eliminate the need to shift gears because electric cars have microprocessors that automatically
adjust the cars to the right torque and speed. The gears that are revolving in the car amplify the
engine‟s output and create faster rotation on the wheels.            The automatic transmission
determines how fast a car should go and accelerate during turns. A bicycle‟s gears can serve
as an example. The faster the revolutions per minute the bike‟s gear is turning, the easier it is
to start paddling the bicycle. The drawback is that a biker can only paddle the bike to a certain
speed. If the gear‟s turning ratio is changed to a slower mode, then the bicycle speed can

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increase while it is harder to paddle. On an electric car, the electric transmission automatically
adjusts the turning ratio to maximize the speed while using the least amount of electricity to
keep the car moving. Compared to the 16 % efficiency of the petroleum powered car, the
efficiency of the electrical drive system typically ranges from 80% to 90%. (Reichel, 2008) The
electrical cars are also dynamic in the way that the cars can be improved to increase their
driving range and reduce power consumption. The recent technologies include the addition of
the regenerative braking system and an efficient way to charge the battery, both of which will be
described later in detail. The main reason that electric cars work is that electrical energy is
abundant and renewable with low cost. The sources of this energy come from the sun and
wind, which creates zero pollution, but the conversion from these forms of energy into electricity
will produce some pollution. A power plant can serve as an example. The newest technology
includes reducing the amount of emission of carbon dioxide when generating electricity. Since
there are so many positive effects produced by electrical energy and many drawbacks created
by other types of energy, the only sustainable form of energy in the future is electrical energy,
as shown in Figure 4.2.

Figure 4.2: This plot shows the amount of electricity produced is increasing dramatically within
the next couple of years. (iEEE, 2007)

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Section 4.4: Driving Range Improvement

       The most important question that many consumers have asked while purchasing electric
cars is the driving range each time the battery is charged. Compared to the standard gasoline
cars whose fuel can easily be replenished, the electric cars take more time. The gasoline cars
can be driven as long as the drivers have the energy and the liquid fuel is supplied continuously.
Electric cars, on the other hand, can only be recharged next to a charging station that can
generate electricity with large voltage and high values of current. This problem led to the
production of the universal recharging system, which can be charged almost anywhere. The
successful invention of these infrastructures would increase the electric car‟s practicality. The
discussion about the development of the battery, its reduced charged time, and the charging
infrastructure will be covered extensively in the next section.

       Besides the improvement on the batteries, there are several other technical aspects
involved to increase the driving range. These aspects include using lighter material in
constructing the chassis, efficiently converting the energy created by braking the car to the
energy needed while accelerating the cars. The latter attempt to increase the driving range is
also known as the electric car‟s regenerative braking system. In major cities, the prevalence of
traffic lights creates unnecessary amounts of electrical energy wasted on braking and
accelerating. The regenerative system contains a hydraulic motor, a hydraulic accumulator, and
an electric controller.   This system stores the braking energy into a container, which is a
hydraulic accumulator in this case. When the electric car decelerates, the hydraulic pump is
driven under inertia.     When the car accelerates, the accumulator releases the energy and
transmits the energy to the hydraulic motor to accelerate. Then when the car is driven to a
certain speed, the actual driving motor starts to work.             The accumulator draws up a
considerable amount of energy and allows the hydraulic motor to drive the electric car up to 30
kilometers per hour before the driving motor takes over. The driving motor uses very small
amount of current when the car is cruising at a high speed. This method successfully prolongs
the battery‟s lifetime and effectively increases the electrical car‟s travel distance.

       The regenerative breaking system, however, needs a lot of space and requires adding
more weight o the car. A typical electric car does not have too much space for this system.
Therefore, the pressure applied to start the motor cannot be too large due to the compactness
of the car. Ideally, the vehicle requires a variable motor to adjust to the different values of
current generated while braking. The size of these variable machines is too large to fit into the

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electric cars. Thus, the fixed displacement pump has to be used. Studies have shown that the
regenerative does indeed save a lot of electrical energy, as shown in Figure 4.3. (Ding, 2007)
The improvement of the system lessens the weight on the car and enhances its original purpose
to increase the driving range.

Figure 4.3: This figure shows the forces acting the on the car when it is braking. The equation
on the bottom approximates the amount of energy is lost when the car‟s velocity is decreasing.
(iEEE, 2004)

       Charging the battery has also been a major concern. When traveling long distances, the
car needs to be able to be charged at any location and at any time. Many engineers have been
trying to develop a portable device to charge the car. The types of charging have been a major
concern and have created several arguments among companies developing electric cars.
There are two methods to charge the batteries: conductive charging and inductive charging.
The traditional conductive charging process requires the direct connection between the probes
that are transmitting electrical energy to the car‟s capacitor. The other type of method is indirect
and requires the usage of mutual inductors which stores energy from the flux from one inductor
to the other.   With the inductors, the electricity can be charged with no direct connection
between the power station and the car. Using this type of charging, the recharging can be done
almost anywhere as long as there is one inductor connected to the source that is giving out
power and another inductor that is preinstalled in the vehicle which is connected to the battery.
The discovery of this type of charging can be used on the portable device and allows for more
features to be added to electric cars.

       Other efficient sources are implemented to improve the pure electrical drive system.
Recently there is was a campaign attempting to create flexible plug-in hybrid vehicles. The new
type of hybrid electric cars, although not totally generated by electricity, does not use petroleum

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but utilizes other alternate sources of energy such as the solar power. These cars‟ electrical
batteries are most likely going to take one night to be fully charged but can give the same
performance as the traditional gasoline-powered cars.

Section 4.5: Power Consumption

       Power consumption has also been the major concern and has been developed
extensively to reduce the power needed to operate the vehicle. The improvement includes
improving the efficiency of converting electrical energy to mechanical energy and the mileage-
to-electrical-power-used ratio. The mechanical switches that were used extensively during the
last decade on the primitive version of the electric cars are replaced with MOSFET transistors,
which are high-speed current switches that do not require mechanical energy to move the
switches. The heat energy released through the resistors is also taken into account. The
electrical components on the circuits can be reduced to conserve unnecessary waste in energy.
The reduction of weight in addition to newer electrical components can definitely increase the
driving range and reduce the overall power consumption.

Section 4.6: Electricity Generation

       The ultimate goal of the electric car is to produce the least amount of carbon dioxide
emission while running with electricity in order to improve the environment. The electric car‟s
engine is connected to a 16-kilowatt-hour battery that only has enough energy to run about 40
miles. However, the engine is not directly connected to the wheel. Instead, it is connected to
the electricity generator to provide constant current for the car to run another 300 miles. The
only type of battery that is able to store this much energy is the lithium-ion battery. The key
issue with this state-of-the-art battery is how much carbon dioxide is produced while the
electricity is generated to charge this battery. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in
2006 in the United States, about 600 grams of carbon dioxide were emitted for each kilowatt-
hour of electricity produced. However, while generating this surplus of electricity to supply the
electric cars, the methods to produce the electricity can also affect the amount of carbon dioxide
emission. The electric power plant can be divided into several kinds that range from the most
amount of carbon dioxide emission to the least. The most efficient type of power plant is the
nuclear power plant, while the least efficient kind is the coal-fired power plant. Figure 4 clearly
shows this trend.     This aspect of technology to produce the electricity also needs to be
considered greatly to increase the viability of electric cars.

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Figure 4.4: This histogram shows different levels of carbon dioxide emission to run the cars. For
the plug-in hybrid, the emission is released when the power station supplies the electricity. The
coal-fired power plant releases the most amount of carbon dioxide while the nuclear power plant
releases the least. (iEEE, 2009)

Section 4.7: Verdict

       The state-of-the-art electric cars definitely attract more customers to purchase them for
environmental as well as financial reasons. At the same time, the difference in the driving range
and the time to recharge or refuel between electric cars and the standard petroleum car is
decreasing. When the difference reaches zero, the electric car‟s era will come, and automobile
consumers will start to appreciate the advantages of driving electrics cars with zero carbon
dioxide emissions and a smooth electric transmission system.

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Section 5: Technological Specifications

Section 5.1: Overview

       One of the most fundamental elements to the electric vehicle is its power source. The
question of whether its power source can sustain it has lingered for nearly a century, since the
EV‟s inception. Some of the major problems plaguing the EV‟s power capacity involve a lack of
infrastructure to support recharging its batteries, the actual capacity and viability of the battery
itself, the danger associated with using such a high voltage power source in an automobile,
disposal of the battery, as well as battery life. While these arguments are legitimate, most of
them are losing credibility due to the advancement of technology and the fact that the EV‟s
advancement is only dependent on the will of the masses, as opposed to a technical reason.

Section 5.2: Engine

       As opposed to the gasoline vehicle which contains one battery to maintain the small
amount of electricity required, electric vehicles contain battery packs which consist of several
batteries lined up and laid out in the base of the vehicle as displayed below:

                  Figure 5.1: Diagram of the layout of batteries (Khusley, 2007)

       Each battery is linked with the one preceding it and builds up charge to steadily provide
electricity to the electric motor. A gas powered vehicle uses an internal combustion engine in
which an exothermic chemical reaction blasts the pistons in the engine up and down. These

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pistons in turn rotate an axel that rotates the tires through a mechanical component known as a
crankshaft. (Internal-Combustion Engine, 2009) This idea, while effective, is inefficient for
several reasons. In this process, as with any chemical reaction, much energy is lost in the
process due to heat, pressure, and other environmental factors making this engine only about
35% efficient. Much of the fuel pumped into the engine also goes to waste due to these factors.
In the case of the EV, the engine is nearly 90% efficient and only loses energy due to the
inherent properties of the materials and metals being used for the components. The figure
below, Figure 5.2, shows the glaring contrasts between the two engine models:

          Internal Combustion                                     Electric Motor

             Figure 5.2: Compares the different types of motors (Wikipedia, 2006)

One key inefficiency visibly present between these two engines is the fact that energy is lost in
the process of turning the tires in the internal combustion engine. The electric motor directly
turns the tires with its rotary knob in the middle, whereas the gas engine requires extra parts to
accomplish this.

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Section 5.3: Batteries

       The electric battery comes in many varieties and has evolved over time. One of the first
publicly accessible EVs was GM‟s EV 1. This was essentially the test trial for an electric vehicle
in the market, and it essentially proved to be a success. The vehicle used 60 12 V lead acid
batteries, which were not a very revolutionary form of power.         The lead acid battery was
invented in 1859 and is one of the oldest forms of rechargeable battery shown below:

                        Figure 5.3: Lead acid battery (Gravitaexim, 2003)

       These batteries were inefficient for several reasons. First of all, the charge on these
batteries would not last very long. The car would go about 60 miles before requiring a recharge.
On top of this, these batteries were chemically inefficient as well and would break down easily
and pollute the environment, which nearly defeats the purpose of the electric vehicle. One other
unfortunate feature of this battery was the amount of time required to recharge it. It would take
up to 8 hours to recharge the vehicle completely. While this could be done overnight and
worked around, consumers always turn to convenience. However, on a philosophical level, one
could argue that further research and development will stimulate interest, as is the case with
any technology.

       Thankfully, technology has developed quite a bit from the EV 1 era. There are several
options to choose from which provide much better efficiency and viability. There is one type of
battery known as a zinc-bromine battery which is a replaceable battery that simply requires a
refill of chemical material to recharge. Furthermore, a company known as Altairnano has begun
production of an EV battery known as a NanoSafe battery. This battery is capable of fully
recharging within minutes and can last several hundred miles before requiring a recharge. This
type of battery is the new status quo of lithium-ion batteries, shown below:

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             Figure 5.4: Shows the discharge mechanism (Howstuffworks, 2008)

The nanosafe battery is the same size as any other standard sized battery and is shown below:

                    Figure 5.5: Standard sized battery (Tree-hugger, 2006)

       In terms of safety, most batteries do not pose any higher of a risk than the standard gas
car. Firefighters and other personnel receive special training when dealing with chemicals and

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high voltage material. They have noted that the risk associated with an explosion or failure is
about as likely to happen as the gas car, if not less likely. This is due to the fact that the
chemicals used in the process of a gas car are flammable, volatile, and much more dangerous.
Every time one fills their car with fuel, they run the risk of an explosion due to the fumes coming
in contact with the spark plug. With the electric vehicle, the only dangerous materials are
contained within the batteries themselves which are insulated and protected. In the case of a
crash, the worst that could happen is a small explosion, which is highly unlikely.

Section 5.4: Transitioning

        In terms of infrastructure, the electric vehicle is no different from any other standard that
goes into effect. It will be a gradual transition that will take time. Some argue that the concept
is futile due to the simple fact that the production of electricity required will ultimately pollute the
environment the same way that gas engines do. This argument is dubious because it ignores
the fact that the sole source of electricity is not coal power. Wind power, solar energy, turbines
and other methods are currently in use and being considered for mass forms of electricity. In
addition, most power plants have a surplus of energy supply when producing electricity that
usually goes to waste as it is not used. An example of this was studied in Ireland, where one of
their main power plants had enough extra power to provide to a small city for a year. This would
compensate for the electric car standard if it were to take effect.

        There is very little hindrance to infrastructure in terms of availability of charging stations
as well. Firstly, most consumers will be able to recharge their vehicles in the comfort of their
own home, provided they have a steady electrical supply. Second, there are over 200,000 gas
stations in the United States alone. If the electric car industry were to take off, it would hardly
take even a fraction of those in order to support long distance travel. Especially with the advent
of new batteries that last longer and charge in shorter periods of time, it is becoming less
relevant to even have charging stations.

        As mentioned earlier, convenience is a very pressing issue with the public. Due to the
NanoSafe batteries mentioned above, it is now possible to completely replace the electric
vehicle with the gas vehicle. However, assuming such a standard could not take effect for some
reason, every consumer has several hours whether they‟re working or at home when they‟re not
using their vehicle. This would provide ample time to recharge. Furthermore, the average
Californian never drives beyond 60 miles a day, which is nearly ¼ of the average battery‟s

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lifespan in one charge. Some companies and agencies including the government, had initiated
an infrastructure overhaul by providing consumers with charging stations in parking lots. This is
roughly equivalent to the gas stations seen everywhere.

       Ultimately, these technologies provide the best and most viable solution to the pollution
problem associated with the gas car. The gasoline-powered car creates toxic fumes that affect
both the environment and individuals within close contact. The internal combustion mechanism
associated with the gas car creates inefficient energy and requires constant maintenance and
pampering. These are all problems that disappear with the advent of the electric vehicle, should
it become the status quo some day.

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Section 6: Environmental Impact

Section 6.1: Overview

        As previously mentioned, the gasoline-powered cars that we use today are energy
inefficient and harmful to our environment. Gasoline engines do not fully convert energy from
gasoline to power; in fact a significant amount of energy is lost during the conversion. Gasoline
engines also emit large amounts of carbon dioxide which is the main greenhouse gas
responsible for global warming. Global warming has become such a serious situation that if
nothing is done to prevent or alleviate it soon, it may lead to the destruction of our biosphere in
the near future.

        Using gasoline as a source of power also makes us dependent on the Arabic nations for
petroleum. They can adjust the prices solely based on how much petroleum they want to
export. Electricity, on the other hand, can be produced through power plants that utilize
resources that can be found everywhere. It is therefore self-sufficient and significantly cheaper
to use compared to gasoline. If all the cars were converted into electric vehicles, then the vast
number of car batteries available will function as extra storage for electricity, storing excessive
electricity produced by the power plants and making power plants more efficient. Currently,
there are also several drawbacks of electricity cars like the disposal of batteries, production of
battery chemicals, and the accessibility of charging stations. Although these and other minor
obstacles still need to be solved, the overall benefit of converting to electric cars is still greater
than that of the current gasoline cars.       Adopting electric cars can effectively improve our
environment by lessening pollution and emissions and can also conserve and reduce the
energy used to power our cars.

Section 6.2: Energy Efficiency

        Electric cars have higher energy efficiencies than that of gasoline-powered cars. It is
also more financially advantageous to pay for electricity than for gasoline for the same amount
of distance traveled. To accurately compare the energy efficiency of the two types of cars, we
must compute the overall energy from production to wheel or so called well-to-wheel energy

        Gasoline‟s energy content is about 34.3 MJ/l (Bossel, 2003) and the production of the
gasoline and its transportation to the gas station is on average 81.7% efficient (Lawson, 2001).

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By multiplying these two numbers we obtain 42 mega-joules of crude oil that are needed to
produce one liter of gasoline at the gas pump. Using the most efficient gasoline car, the Honda
Civic VX, which has a rate of 51mpg and converting the metrics, the car will have an efficiency
of 0.52km for every mega-joule.

       Electric cars on the other hand have better rates of kilometers-per-mega-joules of
energy. The average thermal efficiency for the 10,000 power plants in United States is about 33
percent (US Department of Energy). The recent and most efficient power plants, however, can
actually generate electricity with 60% efficiency. Natural gas recovery is 97.5% efficient and
processing is also 97.5% efficient. Electricity transported over the electric grid has an average
efficiency of 92% (Eberhard and Taprenning, 2006). Putting these numbers together with the
well-to-wheel energy efficiency of recent electric cars of 2.18 km/MJ, an electric car can be
estimated to have an efficiency of 1.14 km per mega-joule. Attached is a chart that compares
the energy efficiency of different models of automobiles.

        Figure 6.1: Chart depicting different types of engines and their energy efficiency

                               (Eberhard and Taprenning, 2006)

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            Figure 6.2: Graph comparing energy efficiency to different models of cars

                                 (Eberhard and Taprenning, 2006)

As seen from the chart, when comparing the most efficient car of each type of fuel source,
electric car turns out to be the most energy efficient.

Section 6.3: Energy Cost

       The energy cost per mile between the two types of energy is about the same even
though electric power is slightly cheaper. An average of 16.6 kilowatt-hours is equal to the
performance of a single gallon of gasoline assuming it is 10 cents per kilowatt-hours (Johnson).
The cost of electricity needed to travel the same distance as one gallon of gasoline is therefore
rough 1.60 dollars. Since the range of gas prices has changed considerably in recent years,
there is no set conclusion on whether electric cars will be cheaper to operate or not. However,
estimating from the recent gas prices, which is somewhere between two dollars per gallon to
four dollars per gallon, the probability of paying less money for electricity than for a gallon of
gasoline is higher. Electricity powered cars will therefore tend to be cheaper to operate.

Section 6.4: Excess Electricity Needed

       Since electric cars use electricity for operation, it is important to find out whether the
sources of electricity are sufficient and friendly to the environment. Many people worry that the
number of power plants we have right now will not be sufficient to power all the electric cars. An
analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy‟s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, however,
shows that the existing electric power plants could fuel 84 percent of light duty vehicles if all 220
million cars and trucks converted to electric power overnight (Biello, 2006). The analysis shows

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that the capacity of power plants is underutilized.       During days of low demand and in the
evening and dawn of every day, there is usually extra power to be spared. If each house has a
small charging station, the electric cars could be charged at night while residents are sleeping.
In fact, since utility companies would be selling more electricity without having to build more
plants or power lines, electricity prices could potentially go down for everyone.

       If electric cars become popular, the vast number of car batteries can collectively act as a
massive electricity storage system. In a true smart grid, cars will not only be able to draw on
electricity to run their motors, but will also be able to do the reverse, sending electricity stored in
their batteries back into the grid when needed (Galbraith 2009). Cars can therefore potentially
act like tiny power stations, but according to analysts, this system will not be implemented until
after year 2020.

Section 6.5: Power Plants

       It seems as though everything is progressing in favor of electric cars, but the problem
appears when it comes to generating electricity at the power plants. Power plants that use
sources like nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and solar energy have a maximum capacity of
electricity that they can produce. Therefore, to have enough electricity to supply one hundred
percent of the vehicles, the coal power plants, which do not necessarily have a maximum
capacity, will have to burn more coal to produce more electricity. This, however, creates the
problem of global warming. Burning coals create a large amount of carbon dioxide, the leading
greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. Coal power plants supply roughly fifty percent
of the nation‟s electricity but more than forty percent of the nation‟s emissions of carbon dioxide
(Biello, 2007). Switching to electric cars will probably also require the country to burn more
coals to generate extra electricity. This is a problem, as it contradicts the original reason of
converting to electric cars, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emission and mitigate the effects
of global warming. Nevertheless, the switch will still reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by
an average of 18 percent just from the difference of total car emissions and coal power plant
emissions (Biello, 2007).    The only obstacle impeding electric vehicles from becoming one
hundred percent emission-free is the coal power plants. If there are ways to reduce the carbon
dioxide emissions from these plants, like trapping them and pumping them underground, electric
cars will be a perfect part of the solution to global warming. Besides researching for a way to
mitigate gas emissions of coal power plants, people can also build more plants using other
natural sources of energy like solar and nuclear. These, however, will cost extra money, and as

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mentioned before, these plants will have a maximum capacity to their electricity generation.
Once these problems are solved, adopting electric cars will greatly reduce greenhouse gas

Section 6.6: General Concerns Regarding Lithium

       Another potential threat to the mass production of electric cars is the production of
lithium. Lithium is a critical component needed to make batteries that power cars and other
electronics. Almost half of the world‟s lithium, however, is found in Bolivia. The location of this
country is shown in the following picture. In the rush to build electric cars, people are worried
that Bolivia can become “the next Saudi Arabia of Lithium” (Romero, 2009). Bolivian
government and its people know this, so they are working hard to nationalize the natural
resource and eliminate foreign private company ownerships. Several Japanese and European
automobile companies have already sent representatives to talk to the Bolivian government.
Lithium is important and favored in making Lithium-Ion batteries because it weighs even less
than nickel, which is also used in batteries. Because of its light weight, it would allow electric
cars to store more energy and be driven longer distances.

     Figure 6.3: The vast Lithium reserves at Bolivia; Bolivia and its mines (Romero, 2009)

       The United States Geological Survey states that 5.4 million tons of lithium could
potentially be extracted from Bolivia, compared with 3 million in Chile, 1.1 million in China and
just 410,000 tons in the United States (Romero, 2009). Geologists also estimate that electric-
car manufacturers could draw on Bolivia‟s lithium reserves for decades to come.              Bolivia,
despite its insistency about protecting its natural resources, does not have enough capital to
create lithium plants. To get to lithium, technicians first need to extract brine, or water saturated

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with salt that is found deep beneath the salt desert, to the surface, where it is evaporated in
pools to expose the lithium.      The lithium is then processed into carbonate for batteries.
Because of Bolivia‟s dogmatic attitude towards nationalizing lithium but having insufficient
capital to do so, other countries with smaller reserves are stepping up.        Geologists and
economists, however, are unsure whether the lithium reserves outside of Bolivia are enough to
meet the climbing global demand. Switching to the use of electric batteries will not solve the
problem of depending on foreign natural resources to make our cars functional. Instead of
relying on the petroleum of the Arabic nations, we may just end up depending on Bolivia or
other countries for our transportation needs.

Section 6.7: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

         Electric cars are considered to be zero emission vehicles. If electric vehicles become
widespread and popularized, they will eventually cause an increase in electrical generation
needs.    Coal power plants, as mentioned earlier, can contribute to more greenhouse gas
emissions since coal is more carbon-intensive than petroleum.        Studies and observations,
however, have shown that the gas emission levels of the power plants can be decreased
through technologies and federal laws.     By collecting satellite observations of various coal-
burning power plants in the United States throughout the years, it was shown that in 2005
emissions from these plants had declined, dropping the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere
38 percent below 1999 levels (Biello 2006). This decline followed a recent federal law that
required cuts in smog-forming emissions by setting an overall cap for the entire power sector
and allowing individual power plants to trade pollution permits to meet it. Even if the emission
levels of the power plants can be controlled, they only account for roughly 25 percent of total
U.S. emissions of smog-forming vases.           A majority of smog comes from all the gasoline
powered cars that we use today.

         We can compute the well-to-wheel carbon dioxide emissions for a given vehicle in a way
similar to how we compute energy efficiency, since we know the carbon content of the source
fuel. Assuming perfect combustion in which all of the carbon in the source fuel eventually
becomes carbon dioxide, Crude Oil has a carbon dioxide content of 0.07164 grams per watt-
hour and natural gas has a carbon dioxide content of 0.05184 grams per watt-hour (Eberhard
and Taprenning, 2006). With these numbers and the energy efficiency calculated earlier, we
can get the carbon dioxide content of a gasoline-powered car to be 19.9 grams per mega joules,

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while an electric car has a content of 14.4 grams of carbon dioxide per mega joules, as seen by
the following chart.

Figure 6.4: Chart depicting the amount of Carbon Dioxide emissions from different types of
engines (Eberhard and Taprenning, 2006)

    Figure 6.5: Graph comparing Carbon Dioxide emissions for different types of car models
                               (Eberhard and Taprenning, 2006).

Section 6.8: Environmental Solution

        First, we need to convert to electric cars, thereby making automobiles more
environmentally friendly. To further reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, we need
to solve the problems with the power plants. We can develop technology that can eliminate the
pollution of these power plants. One way is to trap the carbon dioxide emitted during burning
and pump them underground for either reuse or storage. This and several other ways prove to
be costly, so in order for all the plants to be equipped with green technology, new solutions must
be developed. Another method is to build power plants with other sources of natural energy,
like solar power, wind power or hydraulic power. These power plants, however, unlike the coal
power plants, have a set capacity to the amount of electricity they can produce. Therefore, we

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will have to build more power plants if we were to use these less efficient power plants. In the
future, more cost efficient and energy efficient technology will be invented to improve power
plants, but the first step right now is to make the switch to electric cars to reduce other
greenhouse gas emissions.

Section 6.9: Overall Environmental Impact

       Converting to electric vehicles has both benefits and drawbacks. From the discussion in
this paper, it was shown that despite some of the negative impacts, electric vehicles do have
more benefits than our current vehicles. Electric cars have similar energy efficiencies as the
gasoline cars, but as more research is done to develop better electric engines, the electric
efficiency can easily surpass that of the gasoline. The same can be said with the cost to
operate these two types of cars; although the price for the amount of electricity equal to that of
one gallon of gasoline is about the same, as more people use the excess electricity generated
regularly without increasing the number of power plants, the cost of electricity can drop. Electric
vehicles produce no greenhouse gas emissions and are extremely friendly. Although the power
plants in generating extra electricity for the cars might produce extra emissions, as discussed
earlier, these emissions can be reduced through technological advancement and federal
regulations. The only way to effectively mitigate the effect of global warming is to switch our
cars to electric power and control the emissions of the power plants. Obtaining lithium might
bring about a dependency on foreign resources, but it cannot be worse than our current
dependence on the Arabic nations for petroleum. As more research and development is done
in the area of electric cars, batteries, and electricity generation, electric cars can be our long
term solution to many of the environmental and economical problems that we have today.

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Section 7: Production and Disposal of Batteries

Section 7.1: Overview

       With the electric vehicle as our long term solution to the environmental problem, we must
now focus on analyzing the transition from gas to electric power. One of the main components
of this transition is the battery, with the main concern being the gathering of materials for its
production. Lithium is currently the best option for the battery in terms of performance and
environmental aspects. However, with the short supply of lithium available, it is debatable as to
whether it will remain on top for long.

       After the materials are gathered, producing and recycling the battery needs to be done,
and with this comes pollution. Producing batteries takes a lot of energy, and “[t]he energy to
produce the battery for a mini-compact car from raw materials is approximately 17% of that
required to produce the rest of the car. However, production from recycled materials reduces
the required energy by more than a factor of four, and battery lead and cases are already
recycled to a great extent. Energy to produce an 80% recycled battery pack would then
represent less than 7% of the vehicle's production energy (Gaines, 1996).”              Also, when
producing batteries, there are some wastes that must be dealt with. For example, when lead-
acid batteries are produced, there is some lead particulate left behind. This is a pollutant and
can be hazardous to one‟s health. Lithium ion and other technologies have some particulate by-
product as well, but if they are treated the same way as lead-acid batteries, then no real
problems should stem from the production of the lithium batteries. By keeping the battery
manufacturing centers away from highly populated areas, the resulting harm caused will only
affect few, if any, and only to a certain extent. It is definitely worth paying the price of having a
small area polluted when considering the alternative of having internal combustion engines
polluting the entire atmosphere.

Section 7.2: Gathering Lithium for Battery Production

       The main concern for producing batteries is the collecting of the materials used to make
the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular choice because of their high power
output along with the superior range a vehicle can achieve using this technology. Because of
this, lithium, being one of the main ingredients in a lithium-ion battery, is quickly becoming a
topic of much interest for people around the world. If the technology of lithium-ion stays, then

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lithium will certainly become a resource of extreme value. All battery-using electronics that
need the highest quality of batteries would require lithium to operate. That means that not only
cars, but computers, along with many other battery-run products will run off of lithium. This will
inevitably cause a massively high demand for the metal. However, over half of the world‟s
lithium is found in Bolivia, and the Bolivian government is not willing to give it up easily.
Japanese and European companies are hurriedly attempting to make deals with Bolivia to lay
stakes in the valuable resource, but Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, is indecisive as to what
he wants to do with the metal. Being a strong nationalist, he talks of keeping control over the
lithium, giving access to only people of his country. Not only does Morales want to keep the
lithium for his own country, but he is also not very fond of the U.S. which means it will be even
harder for the U.S. to gather this resource from Bolivia. Luckily, there are other reserves of
Lithium in the world: as shown in Figure 7.1, “the United States Geological Survey says 3 million
tons of lithium could potentially be extracted in Chile, 1.1 million in China, and 410,000 in the
United States (Romero, 2009).”

       Figure 7.1: This chart compares the amount of lithium found throughout the world
                                          (Romero, 2009)

       However, Bolivia holds about 5.4 million tons of lithium, and independent geologists
have estimated that Bolivia quite possibly holds a lot more, although it could be difficult to gather
due to high altitudes, and the quality of the mineral is questionable. Either way, with almost half

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of the world‟s lithium contained in Bolivia, all of the major car manufacturers including GM,
BMW, Ford, Nissan, and Mitsubishi among others will be attempting to claim some as they
make the slow conversion to electric vehicles. Oji Baba, an executive in Mitsubishi‟s Base
Metals Unit said in La Paz, “There are salt lakes in Chile and Argentina, and a promising lithium
deposit in Tibet, but the prize is clearly in Bolivia. If we want to be a force in the next wave of
automobiles and the batteries that power them, then we must be here (Romero, 2009).” The
huge upswing in productivity of electric vehicles promises to make the automotive industry the
biggest player in uncovering the potential for lithium. With the large abundance in Bolivia, it has
been predicted that electric car manufacturers can safely rely of these reserves for many
decades to come.

Section 7.3: Ethics Regarding Bolivia’s Lithium

       Unfortunately, the car makers do not have any claim on the metal yet and as of now,
Bolivia seems fairly unwilling to make any changes. President Morales has clashed many times
with many different investors trying to exploit the lithium. It is difficult to blame him for his
seemingly selfish actions as he is simply following ethical theory. The problem is that he is
basing all of his ethical theories with respect to his country. He is taking the utilitarian approach
by only letting his country harvest the lithium, such that the whole country will profit and become
wealthier. He is also following his duty ethics to his country for the same reason. As their
president, his duty is to try to lead them to a better place financially, and it is clear that he is
trying to do that by keeping foreigners out. In doing so, all of the harvesting and processing will
be done by the native Bolivians, which means more work and opportunities are created for
them. This is very helpful to the country since many of them already have a hard time finding
jobs. For example, Pedro Camata, a nineteen year old native looks to lithium as a chance for
hope. He explains that he “only wishes it creates work for us. Without work out here, one is
dead (Romero, 2009).” Morales believes that by keeping the industrialization of harvesting the
lithium local, then people like Camata will have work allowing the country to prosper. This is
why Morales is allowing Comibol, a Bolivian company, to make the first industrial-scale effort to
mine lithium near the village of Rio Grande on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the densest lithium
store. The company has invested only $6 million as of now, which is relatively little when
considering how much lithium resides there. Despite the minor attempt, the workers still realize
that “lithium is the mineral that will lead to the post-petroleum era.” Because of this, Bolivia is
planning on working to their maximum and making full use of the lithium deposits to push
themselves into an economically wealthy nation by the end of the lithium rush.

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         While it is commendable that Morales is following the rules of ethics to look out for the
best interests of his country, he is not following the codes of ethics with respect to the whole
world. As the world is being polluted with internal combustion engines and facing the many
serious problems they cause, it is becoming apparent that a new means for powering our
transportation is required. Currently the most viable option is to use lithium-ion batteries in
electric cars. However, President Morales and “the government talk of closely controlling the
lithium and keeping foreigners at bay. Adding to the pressure, indigenous groups here in the
remote salt desert where the mineral lies are pushing for a share in the eventual bounty
(Romero, 2009).” This means that with the indigenous groups pushing for extra control over the
lithium, it will be even more difficult for car companies to take advantage. Because of this, he is
not following his duty ethics to the world as a whole and is definitely not being utilitarian. He is
only considering the well-being of his country at the price of destroying the environment for the
rest of the world.

Section 7.4: Lithium Shortage

       While the United States has yet to see its first mass-produced electric vehicle, critics are
already warning that the world may run short of lithium. What they suggest is that the looming
crisis of "peak oil" will soon have a counterpart in "peak lithium," as demand from the consumer
electronics sector and plug-in vehicles converges to overwhelm limited supplies of the Periodic
Table's third element. William Tahil, research director of Meridian International Research, said
that "there is insufficient lithium available in the Earth's crust to sustain electric vehicle
manufacture in the volumes required, based solely on Lithium Ion batteries (Tahil, 2006).” It is
for this reason that something called the “Reserve Base” is defined to identify how much of a
resource there is on the earth. It is defined as “the amount of an identified resource that meets
specified minimum physical and chemical criteria related to current mining and production
practices, including those for grade, quality, thickness, and depth. The reserve base
encompasses those parts of the resources that have a reasonable potential for becoming
economically available within planning horizons beyond those that assume proven technology
and current economics.       The reserve base includes those resources that are currently
economic, marginally economic, and some of those that are currently sub-economic (Tahil,
2006).” It is from this that the total reserve base is considered to be about 13.4 mega tons of
lithium. However, the “reserve base” is a nebulous figure as certain resources might become
more or less available depending on the price of the lithium. Therefore, only about 6 mega tons

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of lithium is realistically available, plus a certain undetermined amount from Bolivia. The reason
for this small number is because to produce a battery, a purity level of 99.95% is required for
lithium. Because of such little lithium readily available, if lithium continued to be the battery of
choice, depletion rates would exceed current oil depletion rates and countries would switch
dependency from one diminishing resource to another. Concentration of supply would create
new geopolitical tensions instead of reducing them.

Section 7.5: Options to Stopping the Lithium Shortage

       With the new Nanosafe battery coming into production, the use of lithium can be slowed
down. The Nanosafe battery also uses lithium so it will be under the constraints defined by the
gathering of lithium. However, with this breakthrough in technology, batteries will be able to
survive much longer, meaning that they won‟t have to be replaced as often, slowing down the
consumption rate. This battery is believed to be able to last up to 40 years, but can realistically
last about 20 years.

       While lithium ion batteries are currently the best option, they are also the most
expensive. This price will only continue to increase as lithium production increases. Cheaper
batteries include NiMH which uses more common elements so it doesn‟t deal with problems
faced with the gathering of lithium. There are also the typical lead-acid batteries; however, they
are much worse in performance.

       The zinc bromine battery is appealing as well as it is produced with low cost, created
from recyclable plastics, and manufactured with techniques suitable for mass production and at
low production costs. Unlike the lead acid and most other batteries, the zinc bromine battery
uses electrodes that cannot and do not take part in the reactions but merely serve as substrates
for the reactions. There is therefore no loss of performance, as in most rechargeable batteries,
from repeated cycling causing electrode material deterioration. When the zinc/bromine battery
is completely discharged, all the metal zinc plated on the negative electrodes is dissolved in the
electrolyte and again produced the next time the battery is charged. In the fully discharged
state the zinc/bromine battery can be left indefinitely. This means that it harnesses the power of
unlimited minerals at a cheap cost.

       Figure 7.2 displays the production reserves and metal requirements needed to build 1
billion electric cars, and Figure 7.3 shows the percentage of the earth‟s minerals it will take to
complete this. As can be seen, if the common element zinc is used for the zinc bromine battery,

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not only is no real increase in production is necessary, but the zinc reserves are large enough
for over 30 billion cars. In addition, nickel, which can be found in NiMH batteries, also has a
pretty large reserve. It would require increasing production by a couple of mega tons but even
after one billion electric cars have been produced, there will still be plenty left over. Lithium
however would require about a quarter of the lithium reserves for a billion electric cars and
would call for a large increase in production in order to get to that point. It is apparent from this
that lithium is definitely not the final solution, but just a stepping stone until more advanced
technology presents itself.

Figure 7.2: This chart compares the different metals that could be used for battery production for
1 billion cars (Tahil, 2006)

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         Figure 7.3: Percentage of earth‟s metals needed for 1 billion cars (Tahil, 2006)

       To extract enough lithium to meet even 10% of the global demand would be enough to
cause irreversible as well as widespread damage to the natural environments in the salt flats.
This means that the vast majority of the salt plains are inaccessible without destroying them.
However, alternative battery technologies use common metals that can be easily accessed.
Because of this, it is our duty to the earth to not extract very much from these flats. It is ethically
wrong to despoil these regions for lithium. Society has a responsibility to rectify its errors of the
last few centuries, meaning using materials and resources which cause a minimum of damage
to the environment.

Section 7.6: Recycling Batteries

       The disposal of batteries has many parts to consider, and with it, many problems to face.
People often dispose of their car batteries just by throwing them out because it is a hassle to
take it to a toxic waste area. If electric vehicle batteries were treated in the same way, it would
be very bad for the environment because of the poisonous chemical runoff, which could lead to
many hazardous health effects. For a simple analogy, think of any chemical plant that dumps
its waste into the local river or lake because it is the most cost effective decision for them.
However, the most prominent current opinion by experts is that the electric vehicle batteries will
not pose much of a threat to the environment because of the very high weight and cost of
electric vehicles. This means that most people will likely need the help of certified repair centers

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to change out their battery, which will be much more likely to be returned to the manufacturer for

       The battery recycling programs are very extensive. They include recycling every part of
the battery including all the metals, wiring, steel case, plates, and plastic. However, there are
many problems when faced with properly recycling batteries. These include “removal of the
battery, identifying the type of battery, sorting it with other batteries of the same type, and
transporting it to the proper waste center (Yender, 1999).” Many steps have been taken to
overcome these problems. For removing the battery, incentives have been placed to make sure
that the batteries are recovered. Often, a deposit is required when purchasing the battery.
Then, the consumer will feel compelled to return the battery to reclaim some money even if he
does not feel properly compelled to recycle just out of ethics. To make sure that all batteries are
properly identified and sorted, it is required that the batteries are properly labeled. This ensures
that proper transport can occur. All of this requires funding, so a larger recycling budget should
be made to keep everything running smoothly. The government has to follow duty ethics to the
environment to carry this through. In the end it is the utilitarian approach, as decreasing the
overall pollution will ultimately reduce the harm that comes to society.

Section 7.7: Harmful Effects of Exposure to Battery Processing

       Producing and disposing of batteries can cause exposure to the harmful elements
inside. Producing the battery requires being around the raw material as it is gathered and put
into the final product, whereas disposing the battery requires handling the chemicals as they are
recycled. Both processes can cause exposure to these toxic materials, and with the exposure
comes many bad side effects. There is ample evidence to show that lead, which is a
nonessential element in the human body, is a general accumulative metabolic poison. It affects
the human body‟s cardiovascular, nervous, reproductive systems among others. Exposure to
lead has also been linked to retardation and hyperactivity in children. Lithium, along with nickel
from the NiMH batteries, also causes very harmful side effects when given too much exposure.
The cardiovascular, nervous, and gastrointestinal systems can all be adversely affected.

       Traditional lead-acid batteries present the environment with the worst hazardous waste if
left untreated. However, with Firefly Energy producing a new lead acid battery called the Oasis,
the lead-acid battery is currently presenting many environmental advantages over the older
lead-acid predecessors. By replacing many of the materials on the inside of the battery with

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more efficient parts, there is less wasted material and less to recycle at the end of the battery‟s
lifetime. First, the heavy lead grids that get corroded easily on a typical battery are replaced
with a non-toxic material. Second, the foam that is used is porous which means more surface
area so less lead is needed, also reducing the amount of hazardous waste. It can also still be
recycled in typical lead-acid recycling centers. Plus, carbon is normally used in the smelting
process of lead to increase temperature. This technology uses carbon in the foam plate so that
when it is burned away, it also helps with the smelting. Already, lead acid batteries are reported
by the Battery Council International to be “the most recycled material in the world, exceeding a
98% recycling rate.      And with this technology presented by Firefly to increase recycling
efficiency, the lead acid batteries will not have a problem with being environmentally safe in the

          The nanosafe and the zinc bromine batteries also come with hazardous concerns.
Because of their newness, there has not been enough evidence of anything being harmful about
them yet. However, as with everything, there is always some bad along with the good. This
means that there will almost for sure be some harmful effects associated with the production
and disposal of these batteries just as there is with the lead-acid and the lithium ion batteries.
This also means that for the workers in the production and recycling facilities, it is imperative
that they wear protective gear or they will get chemical poisoning. This will likely affect the
human body‟s cardiovascular, nervous, reproductive systems among others as these are typical
signs that someone has chemical poisoning. Like with the previously mentioned battery types,
while these effects are bad, it is still worth the harm to a few people to make a huge benefit to
everyone. While society has a duty to the rights of its citizens, it is worth potentially sacrificing
the health of a few individuals for the vast majority of the population. Duty ethics, while very
important, is less important than utilitarianism as a whole.

Section 7.8: Air Pollutants Will Decrease

          Use of electric vehicles is expected by some to lead to increases in air pollutants from
the consumption of energy that is required. However, the effect of increasing electric vehicles
will lower emissions of energy needed to produce the battery by increasing efficiency through
mass production. This can be so effective that it could mean having a negative growth effect
where the overall pollution goes down. While that is not too likely, the fact is that the pollution
caused per vehicle will greatly diminish nonetheless. It is worth pointing out that using electricity
to produce and recharge the battery is far better than the pollutants emitted by internal

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combustion engines. Coal is used because it is cheap and there is a huge supply. Also, using
coal for energy was not something brought around because of electric vehicles, so if it is bad to
use this energy for automobile production, then this energy is bad all around and should be
banned. In the case of electric vehicles, one form of pollution is being traded for another, and
even if all of the energy used to recharge the battery were “dirty,” then the electric car would still
be cleaner, even if only marginally. However, the fact remains that only about half of the energy
produced is through “dirty” coal fired power plants while the other half is clean. Not only that,
but a lot of funding and research is going into more advanced and cleaner energy sources, so
the amount of “dirty” energy is continuously decreasing.

Section 7.9: Verdict

         As stated previous, it is a huge transition going from gas to electric power. Production
and recycling of electric vehicle batteries may have significant energy and environmental
consequences. This means that all the details about processing these materials must receive
careful attention during the design and construction of batteries to minimize the bad effects that
may appear. However, as of now, electric vehicles appear to be the best option. There seems
to be no potentially devastating impacts or major technical barriers caused by production and
recycling of battery materials that would prevent the introduction of electric vehicles on a large
scale.   While there are some problems when it comes to producing and disposing of the
batteries that the electric cars use, these problems can be overcome and the final result will be
much better than what is currently in place today.

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Section 8: Infrastructure

Section 8.1: Overview

       All the features and principals of electric cars are appealing but the government needs to
take some responsibility to promote this shift in technology.       The technology is advanced
enough and the pairing of an ecologically aware society should help electric cars disseminate
into society. There are several hindrances that have prevented this from occurring. These
problems will not disappear over time and presently need attention.

       Infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers of entry for the electric car. Without a system
in place to sustain an electric car society, these cars will not flourish and proliferate. They
require recharge stations to be as prevalent as gas stations. Currently, electric cars have a
limited range that is satisfactory for average drivers but the current battery technology does not
enable long distance travel on a single charge. For this reason, people driving these cars will
have to stop and recharge as often as they fill up their gas tanks. The main issue is that the
United States is too big of a country to implement something on this grand of a scale
immediately.     Legislation and financial calamity also hinders the use of experimental
infrastructures. Systems like these can‟t sprout perfectly overnight and only gradual changes
can correct the mistakes. This takes time and testing, which requires resources the United
States is not willing to expend.

Section 8.2: Comparing Israel to the U.S.

       Other countries such as Israel are currently making major developments and their
progress and could help this steady transition. Israel provides the perfect testing ground for an
experiment this adventurous. The small size of this country allows the government more control
over its legislation and execution. The United States covers over 9 million square miles while
Israel covers just over 20 thousand square miles. As seen in the figure below which was
produced by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Israel (in red) can fit in just a few of
America‟s smaller east coast states (in light brown).

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                 Figure 8.1: Compares the size of Israel to the U.S. (CIA, 1993)

Currently, there are 2 million cars running in Israel with 10% of them being replaced every year.
This would allow electric cars to proliferate relatively quickly throughout the entire country and
would allow this experiment to run properly with substantial results.

       The Israeli government has announced support for a broad effort to promote this
experiment. Along with the being the first country to implement this new technology, Israel has
political reasons to motivate them. There are intense conflicts in the Middle East regarding
territories and commodities. These pressures are felt in the United States every time someone
fills up their gas tank and sees such volatile fluctuations in oil prices. Being directly involved in
the immediate area, Israel wants to free itself from the tyranny of Saudi Arabia. They do not
want to depend so heavily on Middle-Eastern oil and for this reason are willing to provide as
much support to the industry as needed, even going as far as embracing a joint venture
between an American-Israeli entrepreneur and Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor Company
(Erlanger, 2008).

Section 8.3: Marketing

       The proposed plan is centered on the marketing of these cars. The state of Israel will
offer tax incentives to purchases of these electric cars. These tax breaks are promised to stay
until at least 2015, so the government is committed to seeing this project through. This way, the
premium paid for an electric car is offset by the tax incentive and more people will be inclined to
purchase one. More importantly, the government subsidizes the purchase of the cars by the

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consumers. Then people pay a monthly fee for the expected mileage they will use per month.
This concept is similar to the extremely popular cell phone plans where people pay monthly for
expected minutes they will use.      This would eliminate concerns about fluctuating electricity
prices and, in this manner, the fixed expense of the electricity costs should even out. In terms
of charging, a new company will begin construction on facilities to recharge cars and replace
empty batteries with a $200 million investment from the state (Erlanger, 2008).               This
infrastructure would allow cars to recharge frequently without much difficulty.

        The main concern for the consumer, however, is the mileage and charging of the
battery.     The entrepreneur working with the Israeli government will provide the lithium ion
batteries through his company, Project Better Place, located in Palo Alto, California.         The
batteries claim to go 124 miles per charge and can fully charge at night, when electricity is
cheaper. They expect the batteries to have a lifetime of 7,000 charges, but are counting on
1,500 charges, which account for roughly 150,000 miles and should cover the life of an average
car. Project Better Place also plans on enhancing the infrastructure by implementing parking
meter-like plugs on city streets and service stations along highways, where exhausted batteries
can be replaced by new ones.

        Although Israel is taking the first major step, other countries are interested in embracing
this idea.    Other countries that desperately need a solution to their pollution problems are
carefully monitoring the experiment running in Israel. In places like Mumbai you can‟t even see
the sky. China, London, Paris, and Singapore are all other locations of interest where, once a
tested infrastructure has been proven, this new idea can be implemented. Already in London,
there is a congestion area tax for cars and they let electric cars enter downtown and park for
free.   In China, a car company named Chery has expressed interest in a similar venture.
Countries around the world are trying methods to support the change to electric-powered
vehicles to provide the future with a cleaner solution to driving.

Section 8.4: What the U.S. needs to do next

        In order to compete with the efforts from other countries the United States government
needs to provide the electric car industry with funding. The economy has severely battered
automaker‟s assets and left the domestic corporations close to bankrupt. With no external
funding, they can‟t produce prototypes and invest in research and development let alone keep
their existing car lines healthy. They have asked Congress to provide them $25 billion in federal

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aid, but this fight is ongoing. Apart from the money in the stimulus plan, there is another $25
billion fund set up by the Department of Energy to quicken the development of fuel-efficient
cars. The one criterion is that the companies vying for a loan have to currently be planning on
producing more fuel-efficient cars. Private companies such as Tesla have applied for loans
from this program. In Tesla‟s case, they are asking for two loans equaling $400 million. One
would be used to develop an advanced battery and power-train for its current electric car and
the other loan would be used to make a lower priced midsize sedan using the same technology
as the current $109,000 car. Smaller companies such as XP Vehicles, based in San Francisco,
are also welcome to apply for loans. In the case of XP Vehicles, they are seeking $40 million to
develop two electric cars (Wayne, 2008). They want to make a two-seat runabout and a four-
seat mini utility vehicle because they believe these two types will be more appealing to
consumers. The three Detroit automakers have applied for at least $22 billion of the program‟s
money on top of the funding they have received from the stimulus package. The decision to
decide where the money gets distributed hasn‟t been made yet and the government is taking its
time to decide where it would produce the most efficient results. Presently, they are favoring
domestic automakers and suppliers to help bolster our national economy. Preference is also
given for modernization of manufacturing plants that are more than 20 years old. Most of the
foreign automakers‟ plants in the United States are more recent that so they will get pushed
even lower on the priority list. Also attending these meetings were large auto suppliers, such as
Tenneco, Delphi, Visteon, and Goodyear. This affects them just as much as the automakers
because they supply the parts that are required by the cars. The overall program is aimed at
supporting the development of cars at least 25 percent more fuel efficient than those made in
2005.   Although this doesn‟t promote a full transition to electric cars, it definitely provides
support for an intermediate step.

        These programs are necessary given our current economy. Debt is hard to come by
and venture capital money is frozen. Money is tight and no one wants to invest in a risky
venture. For this reason, financing is dead for projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars,
especially with ones like this that don‟t have a clear payback schedule. Thus, the government is
also planning on supporting electric car battery makers.         Currently, the United States is
approximately 5 years behind Asia in battery technology. Mr. Greenberger, a lawyer specializing
in clean technology, organized a new alliance of lithium ion battery makers which consists of 14
big companies, like 3M, and start-ups, like ActaCell.       The National Alliance for Advanced
Transportation Batter Cell Manufacture is modeled after Sematech, which in the 1980‟s raised

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$990 million in federal grants and private investment to keep semiconductor manufacturing in
the United States. This alliance plans to raise one to two billion dollars to stem an industry of
manufacturing in America (Miller, 2008).       This will help the U.S. compete with Asian car
companies in electric car production. Since Asian automakers have already started pursuing
prototypes, American automakers need to focus on accelerating their plans.

       Although Asia is ahead of America in producing batteries the U.S. already has the
technology needed to catch up. Several large companies like General Electric and Sanyo have
been working on creating better technologies for these batteries. Many start-up companies
have also recently emerged, such as Imara. Start-up companies are the keys to making this
industry healthy since it is also fresh. They will also provide the competition necessary to bring
out the best products.     The two biggest challenges the whole industry faces are building
prototypes to simulate new batteries and building factories required to manufacture the
batteries. U.S. auto manufacturers aren‟t buying lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and this is
why there isn‟t enough money to build the prototypes and factories. The alliance will help solve
this problem. They will try to raise enough money to bring the industry to the United States so
that other companies also look to America for the lithium ion battery market.

       There are also tax credits in place to help bolster the production of new battery
technologies. With the new federal tax credit for plug in hybrid cars, larger battery packs
receive larger subsidies. The law calls for a base credit of $2,500 for plug in purchases, which
increases by $417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity greater than four kilowatt-hours.
The maximum credit one can obtain is $7,500. With this plan, the Chevy Volt, which has a 16
kilowatt-hour pack, would receive the full subsidy. Cars with smaller packs, such as the Toyota
Prius, would get a smaller credit even if the cars have better performance and range. These
incentives are misguided in their intentions because the tax credit is based on battery size,
which disadvantages smart designs. The smaller designs implement lighter, stronger materials
with better aerodynamics but the cars that have them will receive less credit. These lighter
batteries could save consumers over the long run and these are the designs that the
government should be sponsoring. This tax credit is only providing benefit for the short term.
However, the change to electric cars is a gradual shift and the tax credits need to account for a
longer development scale.     They should be based on driving range and efficiency instead.
Currently, the tax credit is estimated to cost $1 billion over 10 years and begins to phase out
after automakers collectively sell 250,000 plug-in cars during a calendar year (Motavalli, 2008).

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There are many issues with our current system but at least the United States government is
keeping its scope open to help support a change and keep up with the world‟s progress.

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Section 9: How society will perceive electric cars

Section 9.1: Overview

        While the government can introduce incentives for the public to adopt electric cars, the
biggest driving force behind their approval ultimately depends on how they will be perceived by
consumers. As with any new form of technology or advancement being introduced to the public
for the first time, electric cars will not be automatically accepted by the entire public, however
superior they may be to existing gasoline-powered vehicles. Even today there are a countless
number of people in the United States who prefer the muscle cars from decades ago to the
ones available today that are more environmentally friendly and better equipped functionally.
Because of the conflicting opinions that are involved, we must fully understand the criticisms of
electric vehicles in order to make them more appealing to a wider audience.

        Before we begin to analyze each of the arguments, it is important to keep in mind that in
many countries in Europe the electric car is a common mode of transportation. Granted, these
vehicles are used mainly in cities for short distance travel, but it demonstrates that the system
does work. Changes will need to be made for usage in the U.S., but the success of electric
vehicles in Europe serves as a strong argument as to why they should flourish in America as

Section 9.2: Appearance

        One general opinion is that electric cars are not designed very fashionably. They are
typically smaller than standard cars in order to minimize the amount of power needed for
operation, and an attempt to make them look more futuristic with more rounded edges is not
very pleasing to the eye.     Figure 9.1 below depicts the Tango, a two-seater created by
Commuter Cars Corporation that aims to solve traffic problems by being incredibly narrow for
better usage of lane space. For a better perspective of the exterior specifications of the Tango,
the length and width of a 2009 Honda Civic is 177.3 inches and 69 inches, respectively,
whereas the length of a Tango is 101 inches and the width is 39 inches.

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                  Figure 9.1: Commuter Car‟s Tango (Commuter Cars, 2009)

A second example, illustrated in Figure 9.2, is the Aptera Typ-1, a three-wheeled car capable of
seating two persons that looks like it was modeled after a spacecraft.

                    Figure 9.2: Aptera‟s $30,000 UFO vehicle (Aptera, 2009)

While both of these cars may be very practical and affordable, their designs are so completely
different from the Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys the public has grown accustomed to that
critics believe it would take a considerable amount of time before they are accepted by society,
if they were to be accepted at all. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a professional businessman
driving a Tango to work. However, there are so many different companies ready to cash in on
the electric car boom waiting to happen that consumers will be given a wide variety of choices,

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including numerous stylish designs produced by companies such as Tesla, Venturi, and the
Lightning Car Company.

       Electric cars with an appealing design certainly do exist.       Tesla Motors, the most-
publicized electric car company to date, is famous for its sporty, high-performance vehicles.
Figure 9.3 displays the Tesla Roadster, which features a very sleek design that is comparable to
the existing gasoline-powered sports cars of today.

                       Figure 9.3: Tesla Motors‟s Roadster (Tesla, 2009)

Figure 9.4 shows the Lightning Car Company‟s Lightning GT, produced in the United Kingdom,
another all-electric automobile in direct competition with the Tesla Roadster.

       Figure 9.4: Lightning Car Company‟s Lightning GT (Lightning Car Company, 2009)

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Though these visually attractive electric vehicles are priced relatively high, as they are sports
cars after all, they serve as evidence that it is possible to create stunning electric cars. It is
without a doubt that as electric cars become the norm for transportation, companies will put
more focus and attention to details such as a vehicle‟s aesthetic qualities.

Section 9.3: Speed

       Another thought that comes to mind is that critics believe electric cars are not capable of
the high speeds that gasoline-powered automobiles can attain. This is partly true, as electric
cars were mostly designed for drivers who drive fewer miles annually and drive mostly in-city, as
opposed to those who drive long distances on highways at high speeds. Thus, many electric
vehicles, such as those available in Europe, have top speeds of under 60 miles per hour.
However, these cars are designed for practicality, and are a result of minimizing both the power
needed to operate the car and the size of the car to accommodate to smaller roads. It is by no
means an indicator of the speeds electric vehicles are limited to.

       As stated previously, Tesla Motors, Lightning Car Company, and Venturi are three
electric vehicle companies developing sports cars aimed at customers looking for an
environmentally-friendly way to fulfill their need for speed.        Both the Tesla Roadster and
Lightning GT have top speeds of roughly 130 miles per hour, while the Venturi Fetish has a top
speed of 100 miles per hour. Figure 9.5 is a photograph showing the Eliica, an acronym for
Electric Lithium-Ion Car, developed by Keio University of Japan which has a total of 8 wheels
and is capable of reaching speeds of up to 230 miles per hour.

                        Figure 9.5: Keio University‟s Eliica (Eliica, 2009)

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The developers of the Eliica aim to reach a top speed of 250 miles per hour, which would break
the record for street-legal gasoline-powered vehicles.         As technology continues to improve,
there is really no limit as to how fast electric cars can travel.

Section 9.4: Distance

        One of the primary concerns for consumers is the ability of electric cars to travel long
distances. Some electric cars have a range of over 100 miles, but for long road trips this may
be a big problem.      One solution to this is to make charge stations more readily available,
especially in locations where a pit stop is required. As stated in a previous section, further
technology must be also developed to increase the battery capacity for longer range as well as
a faster-charging battery so that consumers would not have to wait hours at a station for the
battery to fully charge. It is important for the general public to understand that as electric cars
become more widely used, their capabilities will become more developed as companies
compete to gain a larger market share.

Section 9.5: Size

        The technology for electric cars is believed to not be able to support large vehicles or
carry a heavy weight load. Critics believe that electric vehicles would not be able to replace
gasoline-powered vans, trucks, or SUVs because of a difference in power.                 However,
companies like Modec, Smith Electric Vehicles, and Phoenix Motorcars are changing this
perspective with their line of electric vehicles. Figure 9.6 shows Modec‟s Electric Van, which
serves as a delivery truck rather than as a mode of transportation for passengers.

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                       Figure 9.6: Modec‟s Electric Van (Modec UK, 2009)

Figure 9.7 is a photograph of Smith Electric Vehicle‟s Newton, a large truck that is also capable
of delivering heavy items.

               Figure 9.7: Smith Electric Vehicle‟s Newton (Autobloggreen, 2009)

Finally, Phoenix Motorcars displays its engineering prowess by designing an electric Sport
Utility Truck, shown in Figure 9.8.

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                     Figure 9.8: Phoenix‟s SUT (Phoenix Motor Cars, 2009)

These examples clearly show that electric cars are not limited by size or weight.

       Even with the technology that is available to engineers today, most of the concerns of
the public can already be easily answered. It is clear that an electric-powered vehicle is not
inferior in any way to a gasoline-powered vehicle in both design and functionality. There is no
doubt that as companies begin releasing them in the U.S. and start competing for a larger
market share, more advancements will be made to further improve the electric vehicle.

Section 9.6: Car Companies on the Electric Car

       Due to rising gasoline prices and environmental concerns, many existing automobile
companies have realized the potential for electric cars and have decided soon begin production.
For example, Peapod Mobility, a division of Chrysler, will begin selling the Peapod, shown
below, to the public on Earth Day, April 22, of 2009.

                 Figure 9.9: Peapod Mobility‟s Peapod (Peapod Mobility, 2009)

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The chief executive of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, who had publicly disapproved of electric cars in
2005, is now planning production, setting 2010 as the year Nissan will sell electric vehicles in
both the U.S. and Japan. (Vlasic, 2008) Other examples include General Motors, with the
Chevrolet Volt to hit the market in 2010 as well, and BMW, with the Mini-E to be available to the
public in 2009. Many new companies, such as those mentioned previously, are looking to take
advantage of the electric car boom that is bound to happen soon.

       Automobile companies have started to work together in efforts to share information for
better development. Nissan and Renault formed an alliance to manufacture electric vehicles,
where Nissan would supply the lithium-ion batteries and Renault would provide the cars. (Vlasic,
2008) Both companies are working to develop the full system, the electric motor, the software
needed for brake control, as well as optimizing the battery for better capacity and faster
charging. Other notable partnerships include Toshiba and Volkswagen working on creating
drive units and power electronics systems for their electric vehicles, and Tesla and Daimler,
where Tesla will be supplying its lithium batteries to Daimler for its electric smart cars. Because
these companies are working to create a better environmental future for mankind, their
cooperation is certainly beneficial to all, for this sharing of technology can only lead to faster
growth and higher achievements.

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Section 10: Recommended Solution
       Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions significantly increase global warming and
reduce the ozone layer. Gasoline powered automobiles are a major contributor to this. Thus,
our recommended solution promotes the transition to electric cars worldwide.

       Technologically, car batteries need to improve their recharging time and longevity. The
regenerative braking system allows a car‟s kinetic energy to be stored into the battery, but
current batteries do not last long. Thus, the battery manufacturing industry needs to invent new
types of batteries, ones that do not use scarce metals such as Lithium. These new batteries will
give electric cars better range and power. Along with charging the batteries at home, more
advanced technology, implementing inductive charging, can recharge batteries on-the-go.
These portable kits can recharge the car when charging stations are not available.

       Currently, there are insufficient charging stations on the roads to sustain a society
running on electric vehicles.   The goal is to develop a proficient infrastructure that can be
applied worldwide. A better infrastructure will allow the current battery technologies to operate
effectively because more recharge stations will be available for quick, on-the-go charging.
These charging stations should be employed in gas stations, taxi stands, and parking lots. The
presence of the stations in readily available places would promote the sale of more electric cars.

       The industry is currently suffering because the cars are not appealing to the general
public. People do not see the practical uses electric cars can fulfill. There are already models
that can haul heavy loads and travel at fast speeds, which would satisfy even the most skeptical
customer. In the future, a greater variety of models will persuade consumers in purchasing
these vehicles. When more of the population owns electric cars the government and other
companies will have to provide a better infrastructure to maintain them. This cycle will allow
electric cars to flourish but it needs a starting point. Improvement in technology and design will
enhance public perception, which in turn will spark the electric car movement.

       This is easier said than done because the current economical state has left the electric
car industry with a lack of capital. For this reason, the government needs to provide sufficient
funding for research and development and manufacturing. Presently, Asia‟s electric car market
is starting to thrive because of better technology. The United States needs to catch up to make
sure the same industry can succeed domestically.         Many automakers and suppliers have
applied for loans that, if granted, would help spark competition in developing these vehicles.

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Along with the production side, the retail industry needs help. People need some motivation to
purchase vehicles that have not been proven historically to endure. Therefore, the government
needs to offer more attractive tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars. This persuasion
will increase the appearance of these cars on the road, which will improve exposure.

       It is only a matter of time before people pick up on the practicality of electric cars.
Advancing technology, better infrastructure, smarter designs, and government support will allow
the electric car industry to prosper in a society that is growing more concerned with protecting
our environment and future.

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Section 11: Conclusion
        The technology to manufacture and produce electric cars is available now.               The
regenerative braking system allows the kinetic energy of the car to be converted into potential
energy that is stored in the battery. Today‟s electric cars use conductive charging, which is not
very portable. In order to extend the range of future electric cars, manufacturers have to
implement inductive charging. This will allow these cars to have lighter, more streamlined
designs that can be charged with convenience. Battery technology is advancing every day with
newer technologies. The most common battery used in these cars is Lithium ion, which uses
the precious metal Lithium. Globally, there is a short supply of Lithium; most of it is contained in
Bolivia. The Bolivian government therefore wants to nationalize the mining of this metal to profit
from its scarcity. Mass production of Lithium ion batteries will only result in tyranny over another
commodity resembling Saudi Arabia‟s oppressive stance on oil. If electric cars are to succeed,
alternative technologies for batteries must be considered. Lead acid, NiMH, and Zinc Bromine
batteries use more common metals but are not nearly as efficient as Lithium ion batteries.
Newer battery technologies such as the Nanosafe battery could solve this problem because it
holds charges much longer than the currently available batteries.

        Although improving battery technology is a necessity, the range distance and charge
time of these batteries are becoming less of an issue with the implementation of better
infrastructure, another one of the main hindrances for electric cars. Without the infrastructure
needed to support these cars they cannot reside permanently in society. Unfortunately, the
United States is too big in terms of size to implement an infrastructure in the immediate future.
Other countries around the world are making significant advances because they have more
motivation. Countries such as Israel prove to be the perfect testing ground because it is small
enough to implement a new plan on a large scale and the government is more willing to provide
funding due to political pressures. In countries such as England there are already other
incentives such as free parking downtown. Domestically, the United States set up a $25 billion
fund to help automakers develop better fuel efficient cars. There are also current tax incentives
in place that provide credit for cars utilizing large battery packs. Although this is a step in the
right direction, this plan disadvantages lighter, more efficient designs and hinders the progress
of electric car popularity.

        Though many aspects of electric cars are appealing, there are still various improvements
that must be made in order to prepare for their introduction to society. Technology needs to

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match the many demands of the public while the government must continue to actively
encourage this progressive shift.   The global transition to electricity powered cars may be
arduous but it is necessary to ensure a cleaner environment independent of increasingly scarce
fossil fuels.

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Section 12: References
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the future; Journal of Power Sources 186: 539-42. Retrieved March 2, 2009 from uc elinks.

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5.       Chan, C.C., 2007, The State of the Art of Electric, Hybrid, and Fuel Cell Vehicles.
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