In today’s world community, there has a turn of the traditional view of energy sources and the environment. Generally, prevention of environmental degradation and the issue of augmenting energy production are seen to be most controversial matters, and this has raised a heated debate allover world. As far as the energy and environmental conservations are concerned, many people feel that all sectors are affected in one way or another, hence, the transport industry is not an exception. In the endeavor to mitigate environmental pollution resulting from the transport industry together with minimization of energy consumption from sources with high environmental effects, the U.S has tried to emerge with a number of ways to deal with the problem (InfinitePower organization, 2006). The use of electricity vehicle is one of the strategies that have been posited as being capable of attaining such goals. Although the discovery of the electric vehicle had been there since the early decades of twentieth century, there seems to have little achievement of its use in the united state, and the world over as compared to the other types of vehicles (California Energy Commission, 2010). It is thus our interest of understanding the main contributing factors to the low manufacturing and usage of the electric vehicles.
b. Summary of electric vehicle
The first electric vehicle in the United States was invented immediately after the WW II. During this time, the issue of environmental pollution was of little consideration as most nations were still developing and there were few established industries. Around 1970s, the world had new face in development, where most of the countries have been fraught of industries in which fossil fuels were the main source of energy. The subsequent result of the heavy usage of the fossil fuels had great negative impacts to the environments. This gave a new force to the need of producing electric vehicle in higher number than ever before (Motavalli, 15).
II. Barriers to Development of Electric Vehicles
a. Pollution/ emissions
The implementation of the manufacture of electric automobiles, which in most cases is referred to as zero-emission cars has not gone without challenges. In some cases, it’s has been argued that electric vehicles are not zero-emissions as many people think. But this point emanates from the broad view which integrates the process of producing the electric used to propel the vehicles. Based on the wide examination, electric vehicles however emit the least amount of pollutants as compared to other types of vehicle energy source/ fuels. This implies the impetus to facilitate the manufacture the electric vehicles is its characteristic feature of being environmental friendly.
b. Source of Electricity
The energy for the electric vehicles is derived from car batteries which come out in different varieties. Initially, the lead –acid batteries was used were more ineffective. This has been a continued technical problem over the years. The lithium battery which is believed to be the most advanced one can only achieve an efficient of eight six percent. Though this is a better performance as compared to other, the process of producing the electricity is not so much effective. According to the recent research, the most effective way of producing electricity requires the integration of two systems in which natural gas make a major portion of the process (International Energy Agency, 65). Even though this system is effective, forty percent of the total energy is wasted in the process of production rendering the process uneconomical. All in all, the efficiencies of other sources of energy are even higher and incomparable to those used in the lithium battery system. For instance the hydrogen fuel electric generation shows an approximated efficient of about fifty percent.
The electric automobile performance is depicted to have been low. The united states have invested greatly in the research electric vehicles beginning the 1970s. This has also happened in Japan which invested nineteen plus million dollars 1970s targeting to manufacture two hundred thousand electric vehicles. These early projects were soon dropped from the failure to manufacture vehicles that would be appealing to the market as far as performance was concerned. Whereas the environmental problems were still a major one, many automobile manufacturers had greater hope that they would improve the car performance in the future; however, the problem has persisted till today. In addition, the development of electric vehicle has also been derailed by the fact that most of them have got low maximum speed of about 130 miles (International Energy Agency, 87). As the global business world entered into to world of stiff competition, organizations/firms begun to put more emphasize on time, as one of the major factors of production. Thus, the low maximum speed that the electric vehicle can attain disfavored most of the potential clients of the product. Furthermore, the electric autos have got low range which does not exceed hundred kilometers. The low distance range limits the usage of the vehicle of only short transports and travels.
c. Model & fashions
According to the California energy centre, introduction of electric vehicle in the state will reduce the heavy reliability or dependant of gasoline and other fossil fuels from the Middle East (Roqué, 909). Though, this would also help reduce environmental pollution through emission of greenhouse gases, and decreasing of noise pollution, there is no certainty of the Americans to embrace the new idea for several reasons. While better world magazine shows manufacturing cost, range, performance, retail prices and operation expenditures as the major factors that would enhance the development of the electric vehicles, the fashion and model type also plays a major role in the determination of the market size in American states(International Energy Agency, 105). This implies that, as the American manufacturers endeavor to make break through in the areas of range and speed, they must heighten the search of model that suits the targeted market audience. The manufacturers of electric vehicle in the 1990s produced vehicles with many limitations on fashion and model. The major auto corporation appeared to manufacture models that were of suitable to family size. The small sized vehicles thus are viewed as advantage for those commuting to work. However, the manufacturing process was soon foiled and halted due to poor politics and policies which gave favorable environment to the manufacture of other type of vehicles other than the electric vehicle (California Energy Commission, 2010). Using the electric vehicles then meant that increasing the number of personal vehicles on the road. Consequently, this would result to increased traffic congestion which perhaps would derail production and trade performance.
The technology of electric vehicles is the best idea that was invented many decades back. Though it has got great potential of curbing the problem of energy together with environmental degradation and pollution, which the world is grappling with for a solution, the transport industry has continued to contribute to high consumption fossil, and boi-fuels which have detrimental effects to the environment. Although there are guiding policies which are put in place such as the zero-emission policy of California, technical problem associated with manufacture of better batteries has been the main impediment to development and advancement of electric vehicles. In order to improve and reduce energy consumption from fuels which are having much negative environmental impacts, the autos manufacturers should consider developing vehicle models which meet high speed and range to capture the large available market. The development of these technologies would imply that the auto producer would have to transcend the main technical barrier of the use of electric vehicle.