Why EVs Continue to Get Better

In 1886, Karl Benz created the first gasoline (sorta — it would run on most anything) powered car. That’s a long time ago. Realistically, about 50 years later a gasoline-powered car like what we know of today was on the market. Don’t believe it? Here is a 1936 Ford. It has a V8 engine. Some would say it is not that different from today’s Ford but some details will help you realize the difference. Fuel economy today is a lot better — partly due to a higher compression ratio, a more efficient OHV engine design and fuel injection. Today’s Ford in more aerodynamic. And, probably most important is all that has changed to make the vehicle a lot safer.

While EVs existed 120 years ago they were beat out by the lower cost of ICE-powered vehicles and virtually free gasoline. Serious development of the EV is relatively new. For example, if we go back to 1980 we see the Chevrolet EV-1 whose performance was limited by battery technology. But, we have plugged along.

Today we have electric motors with 96 to 98% efficiency. We have quickly evolving battery technology offering higher capacities for their weight and volume and longer life. Ricky talks about the axial flux motor. While it is still in serious development, it is yet another big contributor to the future of EVs. It may, for example, encourage the use of wheel motors in EVs — something will likely be more efficient and increase the useful space inside an EV.

If you are one of those EV-doubters, you still need to stay up to date. EV technology is changing fast. The best EV of today may be significantly better than an EV from even five years ago. Like the difference between a 2023 Ford and a 1936 Ford.

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