The History of Electric Cars at the Current Years (1990 to Present)

The History of Electric Cars at the Current Years (1990 to Present)

Several legislative and regulatory actions have renewed electric vehicle development efforts. Primary among these is the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, the 1992 Energy
Policy Act, and regulations issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In addition to more stringent air emissions requirements and regulations requiring reductions in gasoline use, several states have issued Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.

The "Big Three" automobile manufacturers, and the Department of Energy, as well as a number of vehicle conversion companies are actively involved in electric vehicle development through the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). Electric conversions of familiar gasoline powered vehicles, as well as electric vehicles designed from the ground up, are now available that reach super highway speeds with ranges of 50 to 150 miles between recharging.

Some examples of these vehicles are the Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, converted by U.S. Electricar and no longer available. It was powered by dual alternating current motors and lead acid batteries.
It had a range of about 60 miles, and could be recharged in less than 7 hours.
The Geo Metro, converted by Solectria Corp., is an electric-powered 4-passenger sedan powered by an alternating current motor and lead-acid batteries. It has a range of 50 miles, and it can be recharged in less than 8 hours. During the 1994 American Tour de Sol from New York City to Philadelphia, a 1994 Solectria Geo Metro cruised over 200 miles on a single charge using Ovonic nickel metal hydride batteries.

The "Big Three" automobile manufacturers are also developing electric vehicles. An early 1990s vehicle was the Ford Ecostar utility van with an alternating current motor and sodium sulfur batteries. The top speed was 70 mph and it had a range of 80 to 100 miles.
While about 100 Ecostars were produced, it was considered an R&D vehicle and never offered commercially.
Ford is now offering an electric version of its Ford Ranger pickup. It has a range of about 65 miles with its lead acid batteries, has a top speed of 75 mph, it accelerates from 0 to 50 mph in 12 seconds, and it has a payload of 700 pounds.
General Motors has designed and developed an electric car from the ground up instead of modifying an existing vehicle.

This vehicle, called the EV1, is a 2-passenger sports car powered by a liquid-cooled alternating current motor and lead-acid batteries
The EV1 has a top speed of 80 mph, has a range of 80 miles, and can accelerate from 0 to 50 mph in less than 7 seconds.
In addition to the EV1, General Motors is offering an electric vehicle Chevrolet S-10 pickup.
This vehicle has a range of 45 miles, it accelerates from 5 to 50 mph in 10 seconds, and it has a payload of 950 pounds.
Other electric vehicles that are now available in some states, or will be available during 1998, include the Toyota RAV4 sport utility, the Honda EV Plus sedan, and the Chrysler EPIC minivan.
These three vehicles are all equipped with advanced nickel metal hydride battery packs. Nissan has announced that they will place limited numbers of their Altra EV station wagons in California fleets during 1998. The Altra is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack. In addition, both Ford and General Motors have announced that during 1998 the Ranger, the EV1, and the S-10 pickup will all be available with nickel metal hydride battery packs.
While the vehicles currently available will satisfy the driving requirements of many fleet operators and two car families, the cost of $30,000 to $40,000 makes them expensive.
However, this cost can be considerably lower when tax credits and incentives are included.
Large-volume production and improvements in the production process are expected to reduce this price to the range of current gasoline-powered vehicles.

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