Professor promotes electric car use
Paul Pancella discussed his experience with creating and operating an electric car in his speech Wednesday.
The Western Michigan University professor of physics installed an electrical engine into his car, replacing the car’s failing engine.
“I’ve always been interested in the use of energy worldwide and through a physics point of view,” Pancella said.
In 2007, Pancella inserted an electrical engine into his car and attached it to the transmission. His car has run smoothly since then.
“His speech brought in his own personal experience, and I enjoyed that,” said Rob de Ruyter, biophysics and program in neural science professor at IU.
Pancella made an initial investment of $15,000 into the project, and he projects after driving 38,000 miles on his new engine, he’ll break even.
He’s also reduced his gasoline consumption by greater than 30 percent.
Electric cars benefit drivers because through time, they will save money with an electrical engine rather than a gasoline-powered one, Pancella said. He said the engine also decreases the reliability on oil and other non-renewable resources for energy.
“The limited supply of oil is an increasingly large issue,” Pancella said.
de Ruyter described one of the difficulties the innovation faces as it attempts to find success on the commercial market.
“It is my opinion that what has to happen is for the battery’s power storage to improve,” de Ruyter said. “Once that starts to happen, the flood gates will open to many more people.”
Another issue is cost. Electrically powered cars generally cost more than gasoline-powered cars and take longer to refill. Ultimately, though, electrical engines provide a clean source of energy that oil cannot, he said.
“If I can do it at a reasonable cost, major manufacturers should be able to as well,” Pancella said.