Have you ever thought about buying an electric car? One with three wheels? Maybe one that’s been 3D printed? Or perhaps one you don’t have to drive at all! The future of our (not-so) four-wheeled transport is exciting to contemplate, but it’s also getting awfully crowded.
This rise in vehicle technology is providing more and more options to choose from when you’re financing a car, with governments pushing hard to see more electric vehicles on the roads in an effort to reduce emissions and promote a greener, cleaner lifestyle.
With so many options, let’s take a look at the increasingly eccentric world of electric vehicles.
Countries around the world are increasingly committing to zero emissions targets. New Zealand, for example, has pledged to reach zero emissions by 2050. This feat will require the removal of nearly all of the country’s conventional vehicles, replaced in turn with low emission vehicles. There have been small steps towards this goal so far, with New Zealand boasting some 8,696 plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads as of June 2018.
This is roughly 2 percent of the country’s fleet.
So, how about the other 98 percent?
Multiple incentives and ‘price signals’ have been put in place by governments across the world including the UK, Netherlands, and New Zealand over the years in an effort to transition more drivers over to electric cars. Take the United Kingdom, for example. Not only did their recent Plug-in Scheme contribute 35 percent towards a vehicle with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less, they’ve also announced plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. France, meanwhile, provides a bonus sum of $10,000 for low emission vehicles.
Back in New Zealand, and their government is still deciding which subsidies will prove to be the most effective in order to get Kiwis into their first electric vehicle. In a country where a large portion of electricity generation is already achieved via renewable energy, it’s an attractive proposal…except for the price tag.
Future transportation ambitions are revolutionizing the way we get around. Autonomous vehicles are on the cards from companies like Peugeot, Ford, and Jaguar. As is the case with most new technologies, there’s still a long development road ahead, particularly around market and safety standards.
The early iterations of this technology can already be sighted out in the wild if you know where to look. Developed and manufactured by an Auckland based company, HMI technologies, these self-driving electric vehicles have already proven successful in trials shuttling luggage and passengers at airports, retirement villages, and university campuses.
On the horizon? Fully autonomous vehicles continue to prove exciting, if elusive. With no steering wheel, and equipped with AI, these vehicles will only need to be driven along a given route once before they can do so again without a driver behind the wheel.
When we’ll see this kind of technology on the open road, though, remains to be seen…
3D Printed Electric Vehicles
Is this one cool?
Or perhaps a little crazy?
LSEV is believed to be the first to design and create the first mass-producible 3D printed electric car in the world. No, really! This ability to simply print the vehicle has accelerated the research and development of these designs, allowing for rapid tweaks, adjustments, and refinement without the usually long and involved manufacturing process.
Weighing in at just 450kgs, all visible parts of the vehicle are 3D printed. Seats, chassis, and glass aside! This design has taken the total amount of car parts down from 2,000 to just 57. That’s an achievement in and of itself.
If and when these vehicles hit the market, they’re expected to retail for about US$7,500 and boast a top speed of 69km/h. While the first prototype may not be quite fast enough for all purposes, they could be the ideal solution for congested city centres across the globe.
3 Wheel Electric Cars
Can you believe it gets crazier than 3D printed cars?
Well, it does!
We now have cars with three wheels…
Sondors are the creators of a 3 wheel electric Italian inspired vehicle, which starts at US$10,000.
Removing the fourth wheel makes the vehicle more aerodynamic, reduces manufacturing costs, and also cuts down on the overall weight of the vehicle which is great for an electric car. Pushing out 150HP and 323 pound of torque, they’re pretty spectacular figures for a small car that weighs just 816kgs.
The baseline model of this vehicle has a range of 120kms, with the top model hitting 321kms. So, depending on how far you need to drive, you could grab yourself a bargain with the smaller range model cutting a cool US$3,000 from the price tag.
Weighing Up The Societal Impact
Conventional vehicles contribute to life cycle emissions, which refers to; fuel, vehicle production, processing, and distribution. These life cycle emissions include a variety of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gasses which are contributing to events such as climate change.
Electric vehicles (Evs) create significantly fewer emissions than standard petrol and diesel vehicles due to emissions being significantly lower for electricity. Even with a hybrid car or PHEV, the emissions are lower due to greater efficiency than conventional vehicles. By increasing the number of electric cars on our roads, it follows that we’ll be producing fewer emissions and reducing greenhouse gasses affecting the rate of climate change.
Essential Or Eccentric?
So back to that initial question of ours – are electric cars essential, or somewhat eccentric? While electric cars do have their perks – like reducing emissions, cheaper running costs, and cutting out the dependence on imported oil – the costs involved still remain a significant deal breaker for many.
When you’re purchasing your next vehicle, ask yourself if you’re really able to pay the cost.
And, for that matter, whether the environment can pay it either!