Electric vehicles like electric cars, electric motorcycles and electric scooters are becoming a more a popular type of transportation. They are usually quieter and mechanically simpler than internal combustion engine vehicles. The cost of recharging is much less than gasoline; it is like paying 60 cents per gallon of gas. Electric vehicles are typically directly powered by external power stations that are powered by stored electricity. Electric vehicle charges may take up to a few hours for normal everyday usage.

CAN is a communication protocol that is commonly used in the Automobile Industry. Electric vehicles can communicate with charging stations through CAN to Wi-Fi converters like I-7540D-WF. Serial to Wi-Fi converters like M2M-711D can bring the charge pump to communicate with the electric vehicle. Cellular modems like GTM-201-3GWA can allow electric charge pumps to communicate back to a central location and can report pump usage or problems with the pump.

CAN converters allow vehicles to communicate véhicule électrique with different types of devices and networks. They translate CAN protocol to another type of protocol other devices and networks can understand. I-7540D-WF is a CAN to Wi-Fi converter which supports the wireless transmission of CAN data between various CAN networks or allows communication between a CAN network and a WLAN network according to 802.11b/g standards. CAN converters like I-7540D-WF are set up with a software utility, support encryption and can be used in point to point or point to multi point topologies.

Serial to Wi-Fi converters allow pump stations to communicate with electric vehicles by allowing serial data to communicate with the WLAN network. M2M-711D supports data tunneling between two RS-485 or RS-422 serial devices through virtual COM ports. They support a wireless transmission distance up to 100 meters, support encryption and are set up with a software utility.

Cellular modems like GTM-201-3GWA allow pump stations to report back to a central server. The pump and alarm data can be collected and stored for analysis. They can also allow the charge station to send electric vehicle operators an SMS text message when the vehicle is done charging. GTM-201-3GWA supports 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz and 3G networks.

M2M devices allow electric vehicles to communicate with charge stations and charge stations to communicate back to central servers. Machine to Machine solutions help make our lives simpler and more convenient. Text message notifications help drivers to know exactly when their vehicles are done charging so they can more easily make it to their next destination.

For years we have been promised cheap practical electric cars. However they never quite seemed to materialize, that is until now. Apart from the obvious cost saving advantages, in this article I hope to highlight the main reasons you should drive an electric vehicle.

The oldest type of car:

Not many people realize that there were electric vehicles around before fossil fuel powered ones. The first ‘electric carriage’ was built around 1840. All through history vehicles powered by electricity have been available. They have always been vastly outnumbered by diesel and petrol versions however. At one time it was in fact cheaper to power them with fossil fuel, as we all know this is no longer the case.

The next few years will be an exiting time for the electric motorist. Many mainstream car manufacturers are planning to launch electric versions of their cars, or completely new models designed to be powered this way from the ground up. The public perception of these vehicles is changing, and take up will grow and grow, leading to a drop in price.

High tech:

The modern electric vehicle (EV) is highly technologically advanced. They have a usable range of well over 100 miles between charges, and can travel at highway speeds. Plus their power plants are clean, and virtually maintenance free. The engines in oil burning cars are still very dirty and need regular servicing, including repairs from their many moving parts wearing out, and frequent oil, air filter, and fluid changes.

Waste of precious resources:

The faster we can cut our consumption of oil the better. Our dwindling supply of fossil fuel can be used for better reasons than just burning it in our cars. Plus we will reduce the harmful gases we pump into our environment. Oil is fast becoming a luxury we can’t afford to just burn.

Even the dirtiest electricity is cleaner than oil:

Many argue that the electricity we produce  is still quite dirty, as much of it is produced by coal and gas fired power stations. However imagine if you could fuel your car by connecting it to your own wind or solar power plant, as will be the case in increasing number of homes in the future. Plus all our generating methods are bound to get cleaner, whereas if you use oil there is no way you can make it less environmentally damaging.

The main reasons you should drive an electric vehicle is much more than reducing your motoring costs. It also helps to preserve our planet. We all should try to do this, as its the only one we have.

Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs), or Range Extended Electric Vehicles (REEVs) like the Chevy Volt, may be the up-and-coming, but are they the answer in the high-efficiency vehicle race?

The Challenge: Find an alternative fuel vehicle that is cost effective and efficient.
The Contenders: the fully electric vehicle (EV) and the plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The Problem: traditional EVs have a limited range, usually 100 miles or less, requiring extensive highway and city infrastructure to support longer trips.
The Solution: Integrate another fuel source to supplement and extend the range of the EV.
The Caveat: The need for additional infrastructure for the supplemental fuel source.

Obviously the infrastructure for gasoline as a fuel source is already established, so that is the logical choice. However, while the gasoline-based PHEV may reduce consumption, it doesn’t eliminate the use of polluting, petroleum based substances. You’ll notice that I am not even discussing typical hybrids, because, as I have said in other articles, they are not an alternative fuel vehicle. They run on gasoline only. You can’t supplement them with any other form of energy. They merely use the electric drive system to reduce fuel consumption (which is, incidentally, a testament to the fact that electric motors are highly efficient). Thus the rising popularity of enthusiasts who convert their Prius’ into PHEVs. Therefore, the PHEV seems a good intermediate solution to weaning us from the oil companies. But it comes at a price. While retail prices have not been released, most experts are anticipating plug-in hybrids to cost between $30,000 and $40,000. You can add a Hymotion plug-in kit to your Prius today for around $10,000.

The electric hydrogen hybrid seems a good candidate for extending range. Hydrogen cell vehicles use an electo-chemical reaction within the fuel cell as the hydrogen is mixed with oxygen to make water to create a powerful electrical current. However, most hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being produced and slated for production use only the single fuel source, requiring a hydrogen infrastructure to support them. It has been shown that hydrogen can be easily produced with domestic sources, but fueling stations must be implemented or they will run up against the same problem as the EV – short range travel only — albeit a bit longer than the EV (200 miles or more). Even to make a plug-in hydrogen vehicle wouldn’t address the range/infrastructure problem. But it would make it more versatile.

There are a myriad of other combustible fluids that could be used as an alternative fuel source. Some examples: compressed natural gas (CNG), Propane (LPG), ethanol, methanol (and all the other ‘anols), ammonia — keeping in mind that hydrogen is also a carrier for combustible fuel and a usable supplement when mixed with one of these other sources, making it a diverse flex-fuel and fuel-efficiency option as well. Each has their own advantages and drawbacks. When each solution is considered against public goals of pollution control, independence from foreign oil and improving domestic economy, each of them ranks differently for each goal. Alternative fuels are the future. It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.” Which car you will be driving in the next 10 years will likely come down to regional availability of fuels and which option your community and region embraces.

But electric cars have a universal advantage: Electricity is everywhere. There is already an infrastructure in place that is easily accessible at small capacity and requires only the “fueling” facilities and the “quick-charge” technology to scale up to larger capacity. Granted, you can’t take a cross-country trip in your electric car today. But tomorrow is approaching faster than you think. The initiatives are already in place in many states to launch the infrastructure that can handle larger capacity electric driving. As it catches on, it is only going to be a matter of time before you can drive across country in your EV.

Buy a PHEV if you must, but first consider the alternative: convert a car to electric for short range driving and keep a gas or diesel powered vehicle for longer trips. Or, even rent a vehicle for longer trips. That’s something you can do today, and then you will be a step ahead of tomorrow.

“To reduce oil dependence, nothing would do more good more quickly than making cars that could connect to the electric grid.” – David Sandalow, U.S. Department of Energy.

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