Assessment of the Environment Impact of Electric Vehicles (#541791) Introduction With the increase in consumption of fossil fuels it is but inevitable that this would get depleted in the times to come. Alternate sources of energy that can fuel cars and other vehicles are always on the forefront of innovations…
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Source: Shim et al, 2009, Electric car-Tesla Roadstar Structure and Layout of the two vehicle systems In an electric engine the numbers of components is fewer in number and are simpler in configuration. If one were to trace back the line of components starting from the tyres, the wheel axle connected to the tyres is driven by a motor. Similar to controlling speeds by regulating the quantity of fuel, the accelerator controls the voltage input into the motor which thereby controls the speed of the vehicle. The whole setup is powered by a battery and which can be charged from an external power source by simply plugging on to it. (Markel Tony, 2007) Compared to the IC engine which had power sources taken from the same shaft drive it is essential that power for operating the air conditioner and water pump are taken from individual separate motors. The battery should be connected to the motor using a controller so that large starting torques is avoided. (Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, 2010) This can also bring a certain amount of automation in the working of the motor in regulating speed and bringing forth forward or backward motion. It also protects the motors from being subjected to high loads. A number of batteries are arranged in two slots and must be capable of generating 300V DC. (Basic Electric Car Engine Overview, 1999) The Internal combustion on the other hand has a number of components that are required for its efficient working. A four stroke combustion cycle in an Internal Combustion engine follows the Otto Cycle. (Basic Electric Car Engine Overview, 1999) The combustion and the power thus generated takes place in an enclosed space. This cycle has four strokes which namely are 1. Intake stroke- As the piston contained in the engine begins its downward stroke, the inlet valve opens admitting fresh air that has been mixed with gasoline in a certain ratio, into the system. 2. Compression- The cylinder moves up and compresses the air thereby increasing both its density and temperature. 3. Combustion – A spark plug located at the top introduces a spark into this charged mixture. The leads to the downward motion of the piston creating the power stroke. 4. Exhaust- The piston moves back upward thereby expelling the burnt gases outside providing space for fresh intake. Electric vehicles and aerodynamics It is true that the number of components of an electric car is lower than a traditional car and the profile of the electric car can be readily modified to increase its aerodynamic efficiency. However a point of concern is the weight of the batteries that would otherwise increase drag and lower aerodynamic efficiency. By installing an effective nose grille at the front of the car, the air that remains stagnated in the frontal region of the car around the motor and gearbox is rerouted to flow past these areas and thereby reduce drag. The La Chevrolet Malibu has shutters in the lower grille region that are controlled electronically and automatically. (Industry, Research and Energy, 2010) As the speed of the vehicle increases the shutters close to allow the air at high speeds to flow past the vehicle. This reduces drag and also gives an impetus to the aerodynamic quality of the vehicle. Fuel efficiency is also increased. (Markel Tony, 2007) In the Honda Civic which has a Hybrid variant has aerodynamic hubcaps that are fixed to the rear end spoilers. This has lead to a reduction of aerodynamic drag from 0.3 to 0.27. The overall effect of
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