Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How practical and ecological are electrical cars really?

In the current issue of Auto Motor und Sport they test crew compares two electrical cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Smart Fortwo ED.
While they are positive about many things, they criticize the reach. The Mitsubishi got them to 77 km (instead of 144 km as promised), the Smart lasted for 106 km (versus the 135 km promised by the vendor). Now, the test was done during the Winter and cold weather has a strong influence on batteries as we know. But going from 144 km to 77 km is quite a negative surprise.
What is worse is the "fuel consumption". The Mitsubishi needs 21.9 kWh/100 km, while the Smart asks for 22.4 kWh/100 km. Using the German mix on how electrical energy is produced (a lot by using coal), this results in equivalent of 125 versus 128 g CO2 per km. That's actually comparable or higher than what a good Diesel car like the Seat Ibiza Ecomotive (106 g CO2 in the test of Auto Motor und Sport) can do. So, what this means is, that electrical cars only make real sense if the energy need to "fuel" them can be produced in a clean way. Not new, but always good to remember.

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