I have been looking at alternative fuel cars for years now, and feel the electric drive train is a much better solution than the ICE "Internal Combustion Engine". There has also been talk of hub motor and this would remove the need for a transmission and the drive axles. There would be less to go wrong, and this would increase the reliability of personal transportation. Does anyone know any of the limitations and if so please elaborate what the hurdles are.
Every automotive design has advantages and disadvantages.
Eliminating the mechanical drive-train is already in use in diesel-electric automotives and large earth moving equipment. The main advantage here is that electric motors achieve full torque all the way down to 0 RPM unlike engines that have to remain running and do not achieve peak torque until reved requiring a clutch and transmission able to handle that much power.
Mild hybrids are conventional automobiles with smaller than usual engines and electrical systems to provide additional power when necessary and usually the ability to turn off the engine for short periods of time like at stoplights. The advantage here is that engines operate most efficiently at about 80% power but since cars need a large reserve of power for cresting hills or accelerating to merge on expressways much larger engines are fitted so they typically operate much below their ideal 80% power. The electric assist for short bursts of power allows smaller engines to be fitted which operate at a higher efficiency portion of their power band. Batteries are recharged by the engine and regenerative braking.
Parallel hybrids can operate by engine power, electric power, or both. Same advantages as mild hybrids plus higher efficiency since the vehicle can shut down the engine when coasting or when the battery is full and demands are low.
Plug-in hybrids are hybrids that have enough battery capacity to do entire trips on battery power alone; the engine and generator are only used for trips longer than the battery can power.
The Volvo described in the video is a series hybrid. Instead of being able to run from electrical and/or mechanical power. it runs by electric power alone with the engine and generator energizing the system when necessary. In this case the electrical system must be able to supply all the power the vehicle needs instead of just a portion as in parallel hybrids.
Separately powering each wheel does provide some advantages for stability and traction control but wheel motors are heavy and add a great deal of un-sprung weight to the vehicle. The suspension of a vehicle has to be able to control the movement of the wheels and the heavier the wheel assembly the more difficult this job becomes. Adding that much weight to each wheel will make it very difficult to provide the quality of ride and handling that drivers are used to. A higher performance setup would be to power the wheels with half-shafts and centralized motors so motor weight would no longer be part of the wheel.
It is hard to imagine what personal transportation will look like in the near future. A lot will depend on how expensive energy becomes. If energy prices force us into mass transit than automobiles may evolve into small commuter vehicles. with little concern for performance or handling.
We have a 1991 Toyota Tercel we bought new. We replaced the valve seals and front axle & strut assembly. We're in the process of doing some light body work, minor rust under the doors, then we will get it painted. It still gets over 30 mpg highway. I believe it is good for another 5 or 10 years.
I like the idea of electric cars but I am not going out to buy one in the near future. I am one who buys a car and uses it until it costs too much to fix. The batteries for electric cars are too expensive to replace and arent expected to last long enough for me
Whenever I jump on the bandwagon for some new technology, it usually ends up being low end and high priced. Like when Sony came out with the Mavica floppy disc camera. , I paid over $600. and the pictures were atrocious. Like I said I'll wait.
"Nissan has said it expects to Leaf drivers to have around 70 to 80 percent capacity left in the pack after ten years. "
Battery technology is always improving, and I know I have not keep a car for more than 10 years.
Well it is not that a car can't last over 10 years, I just get bored with them after 5. Also the lead acid battery operates differently than lithium packs that have ultra capacitors to assist them.
I have a 12v deep cycle battery for my electric trolling motor. When it gets down past 10v there starts to be a definite decline in performance. And that is with 83.33 % left.