How fast is technology is moving? Put simply, what I found in cars even three years back, have become irrelevant in today's cars.
Take the case of the Tata Nano. Before its introduction, many assumed it would have a carburreted engine with ice-age electronics and electricals. But to everyone's surprise, Tata has come out with a product that shows the way forward, by not moving backward ie - not using old and out-dated technology for cost benefits. The Nano uses fuel injection and tubeless tires, stuff that I see missing even on top-end motorcycles of this day in India.
So the point is, though these gadgets are capable of doing very little, they are the same breed as their bigger counterparts, which function in any of the modern day Honda or Toyota. Could this level of development happen in the world of electric cars? This is what I am wondering.
Actually, my question is already answered. Partly.
To verify that, I can give you a case that I came across in the last 30 days -
1) Reva Electric Car Company has initiated plans of expanding its existing facility to 30,000 cars annually by 2011. Reva is testing prototypes in Bangalore, and a L-Ion car is also production ready. Though it costs much more than the Lead-Acid vehicle, it offers superior benefits that bring it closer to the petrolium cars, which people are acustomed to.
2) I'm sure you would know, Bavina Cars is setting up a plant in my state (Tamil Nadu) to build 25,000 cars annually. These are electric cars, and tell me, how much time will it take for the others to follow in the next few years?
On the international front, Tata is making mega plans with the British government to manufacture or should I say "mass produce" its Indica Vista Electric Vehicle. Mass production and electric cars usually come together to make laughter, but now, they have come together for the first time to make sense.
Last year, I remember reading Mercedes Benz's shocking announcement. I don't know how they are going to keep it or break it. They claimed petroleum vehicles will be wiped out of their line-up in 2015. Their cars from then on, would have no relationship with a petrol pump.
If you watch Top Gear, you would not fully understand what electric cars are capable of. They bashed up a G-Wiz, since they hate it, and they drove a Prius at full speed around their circuit and claimed it was less fuel efficient than a BMW M car. The fools don't understand driving a Prius at full speed would never allow the battery and motor to drive the wheels. If they carried out the same test in London city, the results would be the opposite.
Whether they Top Gear crew like it or not, the future definitely belongs to the electric car. I'm confident it won't take a hundred years for the electric powetrain to come to this level which the IC engine has reached now. I suspect in the next ten years things are going to be very different.