EV Attracting Extensive Attention
Petroleum crisis and worsening environmental pollution has been forcing automobiles to diversify their fuels and electrify their power. Against such a background, worldwide extensive attention is being paid to electric vehicles that are highly fuel efficient, of low or zero emission.
Many countries have listed R&D of electric vehicles in their governmental programs. For example, the U.S. government has entered an agreement on PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles) with the US three automobile giants, which are Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. The EU also developed programs for electric vehicles and energy ?C the Framework Program, EU Demonstration Fuel Cell R&D Program, EU Program for R&D of Fuel Cells for Buses, and EU Program for Electric Vehicles for Urban Transport etc. Japan, being extremely populous and comparatively small-sized, and being the second in the world as for ownership of cars, pays great attention to R&D of electric vehicles, especially in the area of hybrid vehicles, where Japan is a leader in the world. Japan has programs for developing low-pollution vehicles and for promoting them, and dedicated demonstration programs for fuel cells etc.
To Put New-Energy Vehicles in Mass Production: Hybrid Vehicles
Electric vehicles fall into three categories: hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), pure electric vehicles (PEV) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV). So far only HEV are in mass production.
About 400,000 HEV were sold in 2006 worldwide, and the similar figure was 1 million in 2008, 2.1 million are expected to be sold in 2010, and 6 million in 2015.
Currently, the demand for HEV mainly comes from the U.S. and Japan, with Toyota and Honda as the major suppliers. Generally speaking, the production of HEV has become an industry, and the production capacity will be much large in the future. China also has plans for HEV, with goals to deliver an annual output of 1 million HEV by 2012, accounting for 10% of the total output of cars in China.
Bottleneck in PEV production: performance of batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries and Li-ion batteries are two the most promising power sources for electric vehicles. But the mass production of nickel-metal hydride batteries would make resources of nickel metal fall short and the rare earth for hydrogen-storage alloy would fall short too, while Li-ion batteries have problems of safety and reliability, which have to be overcome.
The ultimate trend of automobiles:
Fuel-cell vehicles would be the end of the development of automobiles. A fuel-cell vehicle would be really of zero emission, while it is also very fuel efficient, noiseless, without vibration and of long service life. But for fuel-cell vehicles, the major problems (i.e. bottlenecks)
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