The World Is Going Towards Automation, and So Are the Cars
Ever wondered why the invention of the wheel is considered the greatest invention of all time? Well, the answer to this question is quite simple, especially for those who are living in the current era. Where would mankind be without the invention of the wheel? In the dark ages may be. However, the best thing about the wheel is that man just did not stop after inventing it, rather they built a legacy over it. According to replacement car engine experts, the demand for conventional engines is decreasing on year to year basis. One of the many factors of this trend is the growing popularity of electrically powered cars.
The industrial revolution played a vital role in the automation of the many things and cars benefitted the most. From steam powered engines to self-driving cars, the motor industry has been through a great change. We can say that autonomous cars are a marvel of science and technology. Science has put brains in the cars by imparting advanced-artificial intelligence to them.
Autonomous vehicles are simply amazing. They do not need a driver on the driving seat since they are intelligent enough to drive through the roads themselves. The next era will be defined by these cars, however, there are many aspects these autonomous automobile manufacturers are putting special emphasis on and the system of fuels they will be using.
Most of the autonomous cars are based on electrical charging principles. There are batteries installed in the cars which run them. There is a serious intention of many governments all over the world to ambitiously follow the trend of ruling out the fossil fuels based on cars and promote electric cars. Therefore, the question that most of the people ask is;
How Are Self-Driving Cars Powered?
The best part of the story is that autonomous cars do not rely on conventional fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are known for their high carbon footprint and pollutants they add to the environment.
Therefore, the switch from fossil fuels to electric charge in autonomous cars is a big plus. Since most of the autonomous cars use electricity as a fuel, there are many methods devised to recharge the battery and some of them are as follows.
- Automatic charging Points
This is an easy and candid way to charge the self-driving electric vehicles. This is the facility for cars to charge themselves devised by updating existing infrastructure. Pursuing this ambition, cars are equipped with robotic arms to relieve the human hands off the duty. This snake-like fuel arm plugs into vehicle’s charging point automatically.
Although this technology is being tested in prototypes, yet you can find this robotic arms in some state of the art garages on duty.
- Under-Car Charging
Another idea of charging the car is much easier than employing robotic arms. According to this concept, the parked car is charged from underneath. Tesla, being a forerunner in the race of vehicle automation, has already filed a patent for this technology. Suggestions regarding the facility of charging the cars while they are moving are also under consideration.
The best thing about this technology is that it is already out of the production phase and many people have already installed it in their garages.
- Wireless Charging
Wireless charging or inductive charging is another technology which is taking the automotive industry by storm. This type of charging needs no direct contact between the car and the wire as the inductive technology is employed. You just have to park your car over the charging pad and there it goes.
These charging pads are usually installed in the parking spaces so that the car can keep charging while you are busy in your office or shopping in the market. However, this type of charging takes a long while before connecting. But soon after the connection is established, the charging starts at once.
This technology is being tested on prototypes, however, BMW is expected to start selling it very first wireless charging pad for its 530e iPerformance hybrid at the end of 2018. BMW is of the view that it will take only 3.5 hours to charge the car’s battery.
Limitations of Electrical Motors
Even though autonomous cars are near perfect andimpart a number of benefits such as improved fuel economy, zero or lesser emissions and an amazingly quieter ride thanks to a simpler engine, however, there are a few shortcomings that are common with the electrical motors. Some of them are;
- Lesser Recharge Points
Since electric fuelling stations are still in the development phase, there are not many electric fuelling stations around. Which means if you are planning to go for a long drive, you are very likely to go short of electric fuel and ultimately you may find yourself stuck.
- Cost of Electricity
Electricity is not free which means that whenever you charge the car at home, you are going to be billed for that. And in most of the cases, autonomous electric cars need a lot of charges before the battery gets full.
- Driving Range and Speed
Fossil fuels may produce a lot of pollution, but their output in terms of power is no match to electric fuel. Therefore, you cannot expect a lot of speed while driving an electric autonomous car. You can assume that electric powered cars are the champions of inadequate mileage range.
Moreover, there is a very short range offered by these cars as you will most probably have to recharge the car after about 50-100 miles. And if unfortunately, you do not find an electric charging station in the meanwhile, you are doomed. Therefore, if you are planning to set the destination in your autonomous car and sleep, you are deceiving no one but yourself.
- Longer Recharge Time
Not only lesser recharge points and short range are the problems, but also the recharging time is a lot in comparison to the fossil fuels. The max time for petrol and diesel refueling is not more than two minutes, on the other hand, the electric cars take at least 4 to 6 hours to get fully charged. Which means after every 50-100 miles, you will have the opportunity to throw yourself on the bed and sleep for straight 6 hours. Interesting, isn’t it?
- Power Shortfalls
What if you reside in a country where there is a major power shortfall? It is indeed a reality that not every country is self-sufficient in power generation. These countries have to conduct load shedding in order to keep up with the power shortage.
Now the electric car owners in such countries will have to face this burning issue. Moreover, the heavy recharging of these cars will add up to the power consumption which will result in even more frequent load shedding.
Autonomous cars are, indeed, a major step towards the future. It is only a matter of time now that these cars start championing the roads. However, before that, the manufacturers still have a lot to do to overcome the limitations of these cars. Also, the price range will also have to be dragged lower so that people see electric cars as a feasible replacement of fossil fuel based cars.
Abbie Ella is a car enthusiast and a regular contributor in many of the leading automotive blogs. She also has years of experience in working in auto industry. This helps her creating some interesting articles such as this, based on real time data.