Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 things I want from my first electric car

With the government offering €5000 grants to buyers of electric vehicles (plus other incentives eg 0 VRT and reduced car tax) I wonder will my next car be electric? Here are 10 things I'm going to be looking for in my first e-Car:

Must have:

0. Must be safe (as safe as petrol cars anyway - nothing is perfect).

1. Must make economic sense over the lifetime of the vehicle. As this is an immature technology I put that at 5 years or the warantee period of the car -- which ever comes first. Ie whatever premium I pay to get an electric over a similar petrol car must be paid (with interest) in that period. Tax incentives and revenue from utility grid feed-in can be included in this calculation.

2. Must have firm guarantee from manufacturer that battery upgrade options will be available as battery tech improves (and old batteries may deteriorate). It would be great if the automotive industry came together and created an automotive battery standard: -- same concept as AA battery, except for cars. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future a fuel cell / LiS / nuclear reactor ( ;-) unit can be swapped in place of the NiMH/LiPo cell without any other modification.

3. Must have long distance drive options: either via network of charge points, or light weight petrol generators that can charge top up en route.

4. Must have reasonable performance. Must be able to reach motor way speeds with a good margin of power to spare. Must be able to safely overtake. Sports car performance is not required for me.

5. Must have confidence that the technical skills required to service my car is widespread and available at reasonable cost (don't want a HSE scenario where I have to wait months for a specialist in Dublin to fix my car).

Nice to have:

6. Should have the capability of delivering electrical power to facilitate grid feed-in.

7. Ability to sacrifice boot space and add extra battery capacity.

8. Drive by wire with capability to switch driving seat when driving outside in the former British Empire.

Really nice to have:

9: Be able to hover and fly.

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