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BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars

A look at the front-line of the eco-car wars

A Chevrolet Volt

For the past few decades, people have considered electric vehicles to be the car of the future. Science fiction films often depicted future people in silver jump suits with sleek, futuristic looking electric vehicles that many thought were nothing more than the pipe dreams of car engineers. But this is all changing.

And it’s changing especially fast in the state of Hawai’i.

According to an analysis by Edmunds.com late in 2012, a total of 2.9% of all new EVs in the U.S. were sold in Hawai’i. Considering that Hawai’i is 41st in overall number of cars sold in the U.S. this is a sizable amount of sales.

So why are EVs selling so well in Hawaii? That’s because many of the flaws that become apparent on the mainland simply aren’t issues in Hawaii.

“You have issues of heating them up in the winter,” said Dr. Bruce Liebert, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

at the University of Hawai’i Mechanical Engineering department. “Batteries don’t like the cold because their efficiency drops. The amount they can store drops.”

Gasoline cars can use the heat from the engine to heat the car, but electric cars cannot do this. This means that they

must divert power to generating heat which will greatly reduce the range of the car. With weather that stays warm all year long, worries of having to heat the car and the battery are non-existent on the Hawaiian Islands. Batteries can operate with much higher efficiency and therefore enjoy a longer range than they would in the harsh winters of the Midwest.

Another factor that has contributed is the fact that EVs have become a lot closer to their gasoline car counterparts.

I was really suprised, said Jason Ito of Kyoya Hotels. It was a real car!

Kyoya Hotels, which owns the Sheraton Waikiki, was one of the first facilities to introduce EV charging stations in the Waikiki area. In November 2011, they opened these charging stations to the public through a valet parking service.

With no emissions coming from the tail pipe and an excellent environment to drive them in, EVs seem like a dream come true here in Hawaii. However, it’s not all sunshine and sparkling rainbows.

Initial costs

(Courtesy of Stockvault.net)

The first obstacle potential buyers face is price. Even the most basic model of the Nissan Leaf, a true EV, is priced at $28,800 excluding federal credit. That’s a considerable amount more than the $11,990 Versa Sedan, a traditional car of comparable size.

Rapid progress of technology


At the moment, there are EV charging stations that can be used for free. Some stores will provide free parking and charging as a bonus for customers driving EVs. This may seem like free chocolate, but this won’t last forever.

Sources of energy

(Courtesy of Burger)

BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars

There may be no emissions coming from the tailpipe of an EV, but that doesn’t mean that it is truly producing no emissions. Currently, around 90% of Hawaii’s

electricity is generated through fossil fuels. Switching from a gasoline car to

an EV might help reduce the total amount of fossil fuels used, but people must

understand that fossil fuels are still needed to power the car. Infrastructure

for renewable energy needs to be further developed for EVs to truly be as eco-friendly as the car companies make them seem.

At the moment, the situation is improving in Hawaii. Photo-voltaic panels which

use solar power to generate electricity are becoming a practical

“We are not turning back on our commitment to decrease our dependency on imported oil,” Said Rosegg. “Renewables are a big part of that, but we may also convert Hawaii from oil to liquefied natural gas that, while it is a fossil fuel, is cheaper, cleaner and less subject to disruption than oil.“

The future

EV technology is far from being … at the moment. No one truly knows where the world will be when it comes to this kind of technology in the next few decades. There are still many issues that engineers must overcome before EVs can truly replace gasoline powered cars.

However, technology has made great progress in the past couple of years. We still aren’t

wearing silver jump suits and don’t live in houses of the future, but it looks like we’re one step closer to the world of science fiction.

BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars
BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars

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