The Future is Electric

With the introduction of the 21st century, humans have started becoming more environment centric than ever and with it now the car makers, both legendary and the new ones are now in a race to electrify the automotive industry.

“One in Six Cars in the World will be electric by 2025.”, a survey by UBS Global Autos reports.


Electric Vehicles or simply EVs are simply vehicles with one or more electric motor that is used for propulsion. With the advancements in battery technology from countries such as China and Japan, EV’s can now challenge vehicles with internal combustion engines in terms of range as well as performance, such that EV’s have now resurged from long absence and have started taking the market. The EV’s are categorized into a lot of types which includes hybrid cars which combines a combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to reduce fuel consumption and carbon footprints, plug-in hybrids that can be charged for short range travel in battery power alone and the combustion engine kicks in when battery reaches end of range or on driver’s demand, battery electric cars that runs completely on batteries producing zero emissions. Also, as an alternative, tests have already begun for fuel cell vehicles which uses hydrogen gas to power an electric motor which virtually has no emissions if hydrogen comes from renewable sources. And also for the terrains like that of our country, plug-in hybrids are the suitable ones as charge stations are distant and battery power alone is not reliable enough.

The Future is Electric (and Clean)

Electric vehicles will one day push fuel powered ones out of the automotive business map -but how soon? Sooner than we might think, according to reports from the International Monetary Fund, by 2040 more than 90% of all passenger vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other rich countries could be electric. Along with a rush of recent commitments to electric vehicles by governments and car companies, the study offers hope about the prospects for ceasing the transportation sector off carbon. Of more than one billion registered vehicles on the road today, only two million are electric (with one million of those in China alone). But if EV’s catch on as fast as the researchers project, it could reduce oil use by 3.34 billion liters a day and cut CO2 emissions 3.2 billion tons a year.

Established car manufacturers like BMW and Daimler AG are spending billions in a race to gain market share in electric-car market, hoping their existing scale will help them leapfrog newer companies like Tesla that focus exclusively on electric vehicles. A policy in China makes electric-vehicle sales and production compulsory in coming future. According to analysts, by the middle of the next decade, global sales of electric vehicles should hit 16.5 million, a 16% increase from the previous estimate. They predict electric vehicles will make up 16% of all car sales by then, up from a previous estimate of 14%. “The shift to electric cars will come faster and in a more pronounced way, fueled by the diesel demise in Europe, battery technology advancements and regulation in China and Europe,” Patrick Hummel, the leading analyst said. Below are some of the electrified models that are making global impacts or are set to revolutionize the car industry.

Nissan Leaf, a compact five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan which was introduced in Japan in December 2010 is the bestselling electric production car in the world. Powered by a 30 kWh battery, with a 147hp motor and a class toping range is 172 km on a full battery charge, Leaf battery packs can be charged from fully discharged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes using fast charging. More than 300,000 units have been sold worldwide till January 2018.

The BMW i8 is the ultimate evolution of plug-in hybrid technology, with an environmental conscience and a carbon fiber body promising sports car like performance. Having 2 electric motors and a 3-cylinder petrol engine producing a combined 357hp and a low weight carbon fiber body of 1567kgs, this car can give the world’s best sports car series, the Porsche 911 and BMW’s own M4 run for their money. That’s why more than 10000 units of this car have been sold despite having a high price tag of $150,000.

Tesla Roadster, a production ready supercar concept recently launched by the revolutionary Elon Musk have claimed the title of the world’s quickest car with an acceleration of 0-100kmph in just 1.9seconds. Having a range of almost 1000km per single charge, this supercar has a top speed of 400kmph, even Bugatti Chiron or Koenigsegg Agera RS  cannot defeat this roadster priced at just $250,000 that’s 10 almost 10 times less than the above mentioned hypercars. Even the hypercars have adopted the electric technology, then why can’t we!! 

-Siddhartha Shakya

Bird Strike Events and Incidents

Bird strikes are accidents occurring mostly in civil aircrafts that can lead to fatality and/or destruction of an aircraft as a result of collision with birds. The first known bird strike was recorded to be September 7, 1908 when Orville Wright was flying in Dayton, Ohio and was chasing birds. The first fatal accident was recorded in 1912 in at Long Beach, California, which killed Cal Rogers, the first person to fly across the USA. Although birds are small creatures as compared to large aircrafts, the accidents caused by bird strikes should be taken very seriously. This is because the bird strikes cause direct damage to wing structure and propeller.

But the majority of bird strikes (around 65%) cause little damage to the aircraft. From 1912 to 1995, bird strikes have caused 30 fatal accidents, the destruction of more than 52 civil aircrafts and 190 deaths. In the recent years, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reports 65,139 bird strikes from 2011 to 2014. The Kathmandu Valley is the home of more than 500 varieties of birds. In addition, the Tribhuvan International Airport is at the center of the valley. The valley also has problems with solid waste management and dumping sites. The earthworms that dwell below the ground and die on the runway also attract a large number of birds to the airport. Also, the smell of food from nearby restaurants contributes to the large number of bird strikes in Kathmandu. There are also grains lying around Pashupati which is quite near the airport. Hence, there are many causes of bird strikes in Kathmandu in particular and the concerned authority should take concrete steps to reduce these risks.

-Purak Adhikari 


Solid State Propulsion

MIT engineers recently made a plane that has no moving parts. It neither has turbo engine nor propellers. Isn’t it interesting? This tiny light aircraft is powered by an “Ionic Wind”. What actually is ionic wind? It is a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced abroad the plane and that generates enough thrust to propel the plane over a sustained steady flight.

Source: MIT Electric Aircraft Initiative

Unlike engine-powered planes which produce noise pollution, consumes huge amount of fuel, this aircraft is powered by mighty ionic wind which doesn’t produce any noise nor consumes fuel. This design is solely environment friendly and could revolutionize modern aviation in near future.

Now, let us talk about its working principle. We might think is it possible to fly a plane without moving parts? It is insane idea. But looking to this plane this query seems to be normal. This plane is just a combination of electrostatics and aerodynamics commonly known as electro-aerodynamics. This plane is propelled via ionic wind. Batteries in the fuselage supply voltage to electrode strung along the length of the plane, generating a wind of ions that propels the plane forward. This is the first-ever sustained flight with no moving parts in the propulsion system. Looking to its prototype, this could remind us about Wright brother’s era. The principle that Wright brothers used about 100 years ago and this solid state airplane is completely different. This plane is idea of EAD thrust- a physical principle that describes a wind, or thrust, that can be produced when a current is passed between a thin and a thick electrode. If enough voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small aircraft.

The fuselage of the plane holds a stack of lithium-polymer batteries which provides power that would convert the batteries’ output to a sufficiently high voltage to propel the plane. In this way, the batteries supply electricity at 40,000 volts to positively charge the wires via a light weight power converter. Talking about the future scope of this plane, this could transform the modern aviation from persistent unpleasant buzz to silent and environment friendly flight in the sky.


– Tilak Bhusal