" US wires are buzzing (no pun intended) with an improbable angst over whether or not the next generation of Plug-In hybrids will put disastrous strain on the already over-stretched US national grid. The 2010 Fisker Karma (pictured) and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt "
Affordable Electric Cars?
Car manufacturers the world over are finally waking up to the almost indisputable fact that to make their business futures sustainable, they will be forced to explore not only hybrid technology, but also full plug-in electric solutions.
It has been estimated that global sales of electric cars will reach 50,000 by the end of next year, with half of that figure being sold in the US. Nevertheless, the amount of infrastructure needed to facilitate a huge car corporation’s investment in an all-electirc car gives corporate execs what is called ‘range anxiety’. Supposing for instance, that the plug-in power stations envisaged by some fail to materialise on our city’s streets after billions of dollars investment in a car with limited range? Financial metldown. Masses of pointless emissions. Electric cars filling landfill sites.
Of course, there’s the cringe-makingly expensive Tesla and a few other existing electric options that exist at time of writing, but each of these at the moment is so stratospheric in price that their viability as an ongoing everyman motoring option is called seriously into question.
It is this problem that the folks at Swiss design company Stauffacher-Benz have addressed with their electric concept car the E’mo. Despite its name’s unfortunate anglophone pop-cultural connotations, the car is designed to be built from recycled scrappage and lightwieight composite panels which are relatively cheap to develop. The project was originally the brainchild of Markus Henne, a professor of Materials Science at Switzerland’s Technical University in Rapperswil, the car is the fuition of an interesting vision of an affordable electric car that can be built in small, cottage-industry’ type workshops without the need for power hungry robotics and other expensive manufacturing processes.
” Instead of investing billions, we only need a few million Francs to begin manufacturing, ” Henne told Monocle Magazine recently.”
This sort of design and manufacturing ingenuity is surely one of the most viable and sustainable ways to invisage a city of the future filled with affordable electric cars.
Stick some flames and alloys on it, and might not look so much like a golf cart.
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