Top Gear host James May has hit upon what he calls an "obvious answer" to the problem of electric cars and "the treachery of their almost entirely useless batteries": overhead wires.

Now, May is no Jeremy Clarkson (May's Top Gear co-host with a wee bit of disdain for electric cars). In fact, May is quite positive about them, writing: "I like the idea of one; the smoothness, the futuristic whooshing noises and twinkling dashboard displays, the low maintenance, the mechanical simplicity. ... Electric is obviously better." What he doesn't like is how little energy you can get in one battery.

So, if we were to take out the battery from an electric vehicle but keep the efficient electric motor and make the car a new kind of plug-in hybrid, that'd be just about perfect, May thinks:

I have in mind a sort of hybrid. On the side streets and remote country roads it will run from its petrol engine in the usual way, and we can enjoy it. Once on the motorway, the big antenna connects with the overhead power supply and the car runs off the mains. The electric motor needed to cruise a car at motorway speeds can be quite small and easily incorporated.

The solution is basically a bumper car without an enclosure because, May writes, "The dodgem, if we free it of the constraint of its poxy little arena, is an electric car with an infinitely long flex." Wonder why we didn't think of that. Oh, wait. Thanks to Andy for the tip!

[Source: The Telegraph | Image: Darren Decker/AFP/Getty Images]


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