Friday, November 11, 2005
Electric powered vehicles and other encounters with "alternative" modes of transport
Yesterday the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology got a product demo of a Chinese made electric scooter. The scooter needs only 4 hours of charging time with a fast charger, has no emissions but needs four storage batteries.
The scooter can manage to run for 10 hours with a maximum speed of 50 Kph and can carry a load of 200 kg. Not bad!
The high cost of petrol has made people to consider "alternate"modes of transport. I put the word alternate in quotation marks since these modes of transport are as old as the internal combustion engine but they tended to cost more. Now that petrol is costly, people have begun to take a more serious look into these technologies.
The market has already introduced 1) electric vehicles, 2) hybrid cars, 3) hydrogen powered cars and 4) biodiesel. There are other technologies that are still more experimental such as torque driven vehicles.
All of these modes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Electric cars still will have to depend on fossil fuels that power our electric grids. Electric cars will have to wait for more renewable ways of generating electricity. The technology for hydrogen powered vehicles (fuel cells) has been used by NASA and the Russian Space Agency for 40 years. But they still remain expensive.
Nonetheless market factors are likely to drive the further development of these technologies so that they would become more affordable. The electric scooter is just as costly as a petrol driven one.
The cheapest alternate is still our feet and probably a bicycle (still foot powered)
The high prices of gas has somewhat lessened traffic. My car can now have a 9.5 to 10 km to a liter on Metro Manila streets. This was somewhat unheard of in the past.