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Green technology is the future of cars

20 January 2014 / 18:01:15  GRReporter
5809 reads

Ivan Petkov

What are the associations induced by the words "electric car"? Perhaps the first of them are "environmental", "environmentally friendly" or "green technology", inevitably followed by "small", "experimental" and "slow" but "expensive". Think again!

We have not devoted a lot of space to automotive technologies on the pages of GRReporter but you can see that cars have become not only a means of transportation and sign of social status but also a means of environmental protection and nature conservation. However, electric vehicles do not hide innovations only under the bonnet. A veteran in the development of electric vehicles, the company Tesla Motors from Palo Alto is changing our perception not only in terms of the electric car but also in terms of the car in general. In addition, that is not a subjective opinion. Let us find out how it is doing so.

To begin with, Motor Trend Car awards, for the first time in their 64-year history, declared an all-electric vehicle best car. Revolutionary Tesla Model S was the car of 2013. Surprisingly, the vehicle was launched less than a year before being awarded but it managed to overtake the proposals of established brands such as Porsche and BMW.

Model S is impressive, with good design and technical indicators; it is also luxurious and stylish. The most powerful model of the car accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.4 seconds and can travel about 500 kilometres on a single charge. The top speed is limited to 208 kilometres per hour.

By September 2012, Tesla has sold only 132 units of the sedan. The car was expensive and Tesla Motors was a small company, fighting against giants. However, not only did the car win awards but it was also recognized as an alternative to its “brothers” powered by solid fuels. In 2013, Tesla sold more than 21,000 units of Model S.

According to statistical data from LMC Automotive, in the first quarter of last year, more people bought a Tesla Model S compared to the petrol engine cars in the same price range ranked in the top three of the German luxury segment. For example, around 4,750 people bought a Model S in the U.S. whereas only 3,000 people bought a luxury Mercedes car. Of course, the comparison is conditional because the price of a Mercedes S class car begins where that of a Model S ends. In addition, everyone who buys an electric car in the U.S. is entitled to a tax deduction to the amount of $7,500.

In terms of stimulating the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles, Norway is electric car heaven. The tax breaks to which the Norwegians are entitled if they become owners of an electric sedan amount to $135,000. Therefore, the electric car costs only $112,000.

In its 10-year existence, Tesla reported profits last year alone. Although the trend was optimistic, it did not last long and it was followed by poor financial results. However, the big players have noticed the company and the interest in it is already strong. For example, Daimler holds 4% of its stock. The German company will continue to work with the American one on existing and new strategic projects, which once again shows that the concern based in Stuttgart is preparing for an energy turnaround.

In terms of safety, there is also much talk about Model S. "Tesla Model S is the safest car we have ever tested," as declared by the national road safety service in the U.S., NHTSA, following its crash-testing of the electric vehicle. "The results are not coincidental and we are not surprised," Tesla officials stated before Carscoops magazine, adding, "While constructing this model, one of our goals was to enhance its safety in any road accidents. We have sought to take care of both passive and active safety."

In 2014, Tesla is planning to develop a network of free charging stations in China, thus enabling the owners of the cars produced by it to travel long distances. The company, which is based in California, is developing similar networks in the U.S., where the owners of its electric cars can travel the distance from the East coast to the West coast by charging their cars for free. The technology company is working on the development of such a network in Europe as well. You may be wondering how the company provides stations for free charging from the power grid. The answer is very simple, namely that these stations use solar panels for the production of electricity. In practice, the sun charges the car. So, not only is the car created by green technology, but also uses such when charging at a Tesla charging station!

The standard charging takes 4 hours and the extended 6. The company is developing a technology called "Supercharger", whereby half of the capacity of the vehicle battery can be charged in just 20 minutes. In this way, you will not have to wait four hours and you will be able to reach your destination. This technology will eliminate the most significant disadvantage of electric vehicles, namely lengthy charging.

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