The Electric Car - Forerunner Of The Hybrid Car

The electric car was of course the forerunner of the hybrid vehicle , which combines energy from petrol and electricity. They both have a future it seems.

There’s the old joke about the length of extension cords that determines the range of such cars at a crawling pace. Something that’s no more than a pipe dream.

But something is changing as we all become more conscious of our responsibilities in a warming world...


And did you know you could pick up a used hybrid or even an electric car for a great price at car auctions? For example, we found a Toyota Prius hybrid - sold for under $6,000. Vehicles sold at auctions usually come with full maintenance records and may still be under warranty too.

Some history

Did you know that some people are now converting their cars themselves to electric with electric car conversion kits ? Makes sense for managing the family budget under tough economic and environmental times!

Amazingly, in the 1890’s, in the USA they outsold gasoline cars by ten to one. Studebaker and Oldsmobile actually started out as electric vehicle makers.

The Henney Kilowatt, based on the body of the French-made Renault, built in the 1950’s was the first modern transistor regulated electric vehicle. It had a range of only 40 miles (64km).

In the seventies this electric dream emerged again because of the then oil crisis and some car makers resumed production.

Learn more in this comprehensive book about

Do electric cars look different?

Yes and no.

Whereas they look no different on the outside, under the bonnet they are very different Instead of a gasoline engine there is an electric motor.

A controller delivers power to the electric motor.

And rechargeable batteries deliver their power to the controller.

Benefits of electric cars

  1. Very low operating cost

  2. No car emissions

  3. Low maintenance costs

  4. Recharge at home

  5. Normal range

  6. It is quiet

They can cost as little as 1-3 US cents per mile to operate

They do not need an exhaust pipe because there are no emissions

They are low maintenance requiring no oil changes or tune-ups

You can plug them in at home and charge them from your domestic power point

These days, they have a far greater range than the Henney kilowatt did and can reach good speeds.

And for a most remarkable electric car (well, hybrid, really) make sure you check out the Acabion. Amazing!

Significantly, according to the Electric Vehicle Association (USA) electric cars are 90% cleaner in greenhouse emissions than the latest gasoline fuelled cars. That’s a great asset for Mother Earth.


As you know electric cars are still not in mass production, although Toyota and others did try.

Toyota, the maker of the hybrid car Prius, did made an all-electric car, the Toyota RAV4-EV It discontinued it due to low sales in 2003 and due to some technical issues. The above link says it all...

This was the last car maker to stop electric vehicle production. Essentially for reasons that stopped others like the GM EV1: cost, limited range and limited speed.

But the electric auto seems unstoppable with concerns over availability of cheap oil and its global warming contribution growing daily.

Don’t forget that the GMEV1 was developed to satisfy the Californian zero emission legislation. Well, the conditions that prompted that law will not go away!

Who killed the electric car?

Find out who killed the electric vehicle. Watch this trailer of last season’s whodunnit.

Or see the entire movie here.


Is it really dead?

Course not.

Particularly not when cars, as electric vehicles, are now coming out of the mainly male domain of interest. Check out "Electric Vehicles Are For Girls" and taste the revolution!

The future of electric vehicles is here now?

The Tesla electric roadster. Tesla Motors are coming out with an electric vehicle in 2007, the "Tesla roadster" , named after enigmatic inventor Nikolas Tesla. Its makers claim it runs at 1US cent per mile and does 135 miles per gallon and one charge allows a 250 mile range.

CHECK OUT the Tesla Roadster on this video:

And then there is a further small range for the more modest driver.

Commuter Cars sell the Tango It is small in size but not in performance with a 0-60 m/ph in 4 seconds and has an 80 mile range on lead-acid batteries. It charges in 10 minutes to 80% capacity.

There’s also the small and versatile GEM car , and

The Smart car , giving the GEM a run for its money.

To give you a taste of some exciting possibilities watch this video of Ian Wright now, talking about his new X1 Electric Vehicle with the Discovery Channel.

0-60 in 3 seconds!

No emissions?

Are electric cars not just shifting the question of greenhouse gas emission?

That is a very good question. I knew you were going to ask it.

Yes, the electricity needed to charge one still mostly comes from fossil fuel powerplants.

But these days there are increased possibilities to choose "green electricity" generated from renewable sources.

And you could set up your own photovoltaic electricity generating equipment too.


Are they expensive?

Another practical question…

Yes the up front purchase cost can be relatively high but higher purchase costs are offset by low maintenance costs , low fuel cost AND low environmental cost.

Also, US tax incentives can relieve your costs significantly However…

Yes, there’s a however.

The batteries are very expensive to replace. Some calculate this could cost around US $2000 every 20,000 miles or so.

As they say about all technology, these costs may reduce with further development and economies of scale in mass production. We’ll see. Fuel cells may eventually be an answer here.

Polluting batteries?

Do spent batteries pollute the environment, leaking their acid into the ground?

Highly relevant to ask.

Well, its good news. The Electric Vehicle association reports that the Battery Council International (they do not beat up people) that 93% of all battery lead is recycled with new batteries containing 60-80% recycled lead and plastic



No more the ever-present roar of traffic! This baby is near silent.

Just imagine a world without mechanical noises. Cars, Fcgyuj*&653#^%7 lawnmowers, motor bikes and so on…

Cannot, can you? Too used to it.

Well electrified autos may certainly represent a silent revolution. I look forward to it.

Just as we think of electric cars as a mode of transport, so are electric scooters - with perhaps even greater advantages.

Drive safely and see you on another of my pages.