Living in the 21st century, there are indeed a lot of recognizable technological trends that are revolutionizing our daily livelihoods and living circumstances. For instance, there is the recent three dimensional printing for the manufacture of airplane engine parts, the internet and its related softwares. However, two recent technological trends have caught my attention: The electric car and the LED light bulbs. The electric car has indeed affected the way I lead my day-to-day life while the recent innovations related to the LED light bulbs have caught my attention. Herein, there is a discussion of the history and origin of these two technological trends. Thereafter, there is an evaluation of how the electric car has affected me and why the LED light invention has caught my attention. Finally, the perceived impact of these technologies in society is evaluated and discussed.
The preference of electric cars has not been very forthcoming in relation to the fossil fuel vehicles. This can be attributed to their varied limitations in terms of performance and driving range. However, recent advancements in technology related to the electric car have made me to reconsider my stance. For instance, today’s electric cars have a wide range of choices from hybrid electric cars to plug-in electric cars. This will definitely make them popular in the future. In the face of dwindling oil reserves and the unpredictable future of oil prices, I have resorted to using the electric car. This choice has really improved my ability to save money and even enjoy the comforts of any fuel car in the market today. I now know that using the electric car shall forever affect me in a way I never anticipated before. Technological trends involving the electric car have not been exhausted and this has left me speculating about their future.
The first electric car was made in the 18th century but its popularity dwindled due to its limitations. There were also technological limitations that contributed to its unpopular nature, such as, the lack of transistor based electric technology. Moreover, they were mostly limited to achieving maximum speeds of 32 kilometers per hour. At that time, the only vivid advantages were that they did not have the odor, noise and unwanted engine vibrations that were common in gasoline engine cars. The need for gear changing while on the road was also absent. Its widespread use and acceptance was notably hampered by the inadequate development of power infrastructure during the 18th and early 19th century. It is also important to note that the development of the hybrid electric car had begun by this time. Despite this observable advantages, the electric car did not gain favor over the gasoline car in the 20th century.
During the entire period of the 21st century, innovations in the electric car were not hampered by the lack of acceptance and low sales. Companies such as the American Motors Corporation and Tesla began revolutionizing the electric car’s battery and its abilities to recharge. During this period, Tesla was able to develop an electric motor (both the alternating current and direct current types) that would easily use electric energy from the car’s battery system to power the electric car. This was the first step towards the improvement of efficiency in speed and driving range commonly associated with the electric car today. Many models of the electric car were to be seen in the market since this invention and received widespread variations in acceptance, denial and management by the government and the world at large. General Motors (GM) launched these vehicles all over the world from America to Europe and Japan. Today’s electric cars, for instance, have the potential to reach speeds of over 120 kilometers per hour. Their range is even better reaching approximately 200 kilometers depending on whether the electric car is used in the highway or driving within the confines of city streets and roads (JCTrip, n.d.).
However, towards the end of the 20th century, air pollution from the gasoline engine has made the use of fossil fuel vehicle to be reconsidered. Climate change due to the combustion of fossil fuels in the internal combustion engine is now a big concern and may soon bring the electric car to the lime light once again. As the prices of petroleum fuel become unpredictable (especially in the 1970s to the 1980s) and expensive and as the world reserves continue to dwindle, the electric car will come in handy because of its ability to use the current, already developed, electric infrastructure in the use. Plug-in charging innovations for the past three to four years have made recharging the electric car’s batteries more easy and convenient. This is the most notable technological trend in the modern day electric cars.
In 2011, the plug-in electric car was the first electric car to be legalized and considered safe to be used on the US highways. Tesla’s production of the Roadster was to see acceptance since it had the ability to travel for 320 kilometers without the need for recharging. The result was widespread sales. Delivery of electric car models similar to the Roadster began in China by the last year.
I currently own the Tesla Model S and its effect on my goals of economically managing my fuel expenditure for the month has been profound. It is simply a luxury car and can be compared in performance to its counterpart in fossil fuel cars, especially when travelling to and fro the city and my home in California. It has five doors and can accommodate four passengers at a go. The fifth door comes in handy when I am shopping since the cabin is very capable of holding all my shopping needs for the month. The vehicle is capable of travelling for 400 kilometers without giving me the need to refuel. Furthermore, its plug-in capabilities enable me to recharge at predetermined destinations and it does not take me more than a half an hour on most cases. The maximum time I have ever spent on a recharge station is 21 minutes. Assuming that the battery was empty by the time of recharging, full charging can take up to one hour in Tesla’s Supercharger stations.
The car is also efficient especially during the rain and when it snows and its performance can again be compared to the fossil fuel car. This car comes with a combined dual motor system that is able to instill propulsion for all the four wheels. Furthermore, in instances where I happened to leave the vehicle running for about five minutes, it automatically switches to the sleep mode whereby it conserves energy. In the sleep mode, the display on the dashboard and other vehicle electronics are temporarily switched off. Since the battery may offer challenges in the long term, it usually comes with and eight year warranty package or once the car has travelled at least 200, 000 kilometers.
The latest trend that is interesting to me is that of the use of the LED lights. Personal experiences have shown me that this kind of light is even more economical (in the long run) than even the recent energy saving fluorescent lamps. Furthermore, some LED bulbs are able to emit light that is twice brighter than their fluorescent counterparts but with lesser energy requirements. Their history and origin emanates from the first invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison.
In the late 19th century, the greatest American scientist (Thomas Edison), invented incandescent light bulb. His invention saw the creation of an incandescent light that had an overall lifetime of about 1200 hours. This invention initiated the first pace of electric bulbs. This invention saw the creation of the first power utility in the world, the Pearl Street Station. The use of Tungsten in the filament revolutionized the incandescent bulb to a modern day bulb. This filament’s longevity and the ease of production has made it popular in third world countries where the purchasing of fluorescent tubes and bulbs is still costly in the first start.
The next invention was the fluorescent bulb. It was invented in Germany and was majorly driven by electric energy shortages and costs attributed to the incandescent bulb. By passing and electric current through a partial vacuum in a glass, the Geissler tube (a predecessor to the fluorescent tube) was invented. After tainting the glass with a diffuser (phosphor), the fluorescent tube was invented. However, this tube did not gain popularity until the start of the 20th when lighting efficiency (which the incandescent bulb could not achieve) became a major concern for researchers. By the 1930s, American companies had begun showcasing the capabilities of the fluorescent bulb and its efficiency in energy utilization. The 1970s oil crisis saw more enthusiastic development of the fluorescent bulb for residential and commercial applications.
Finally, a more efficient lighting source (light emitting diodes) was invented. The LED light basically uses a semiconductor to convert electric energy into light energy. Its luminous efficiency also surpasses that of the fluorescent and incandescent bulbs by far. This means that these lights have the capability to save energy and lower the general cost of electric bills in the long run. The LED light is thought to have been invented by Nick Holonyak in 1962. Red, pale yellow and green diodes were the first to be used in LED lighting by the 1970s. These first began appearing as car indicator lights on the dashboard and as calculator displays. The discovery of the blue diodes in the 1990s facilitated the discovery of the white diode that is commonly used in LED lights today. LED light thus became potentially applicable in traffic lights, flashlights and on lighting up television screens.
It is fundamental to note that, in the beginning the luminous efficiency of the LED lights was comparable to that of the incandescent bulbs. This was a major reason why the fluorescent bulbs and tubes entered the 21st century as being favored over the LED light bulbs. Inventions and research during the first decade of the 21st century saw the light quality, cost of production and energy efficiency for the LED bulb to improve tremendously. By 2011, the cost of producing LED light bulbs had fallen to less than 85% with a single bulb costing around $10. Technological trends since 2011 have seen the LED bulb become more than five times efficient, 80% energy saving and able to last 25 times longer than the incandescent bulb. This advancement has seen approximately 50 million LED bulbs installed throughout the USA in 2012 alone. The number has since grown tremendously. The energy saving costs when compared to the incandescent and fluorescent technologies was approximately $700 million in 2012 alone.
As elaborated in the foregoing discussions, the LED luminous efficiency surpasses that of the incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Nevertheless, the major interest is that this kind of technology still offers a wide range of improvements in the future. The LED lighting industry will most definitely be different in the next thirty to forty years to come. By 2030, the LED market would reach a value of 30 billion from its current values of approximately 3 billion.
Moreover, apart from the energy efficiency and longevity, the LED light bulb has other subtle advantages. For instance, LED bulbs are able to immediately adjust and attain their optimum capacity brightness without the necessarily allowance for adjustment commonly associated with fluorescent lamps. Furthermore, the lifespan of a fluorescent tube is usually reduced by frequent on-and-off switching; a phenomenon that does not affect LED lights. Their ability to generate unidirectional light in varied ranges (red, blue, yellow) have seen them being employed to illuminate museums. This is further facilitated by the fact that the LED bulbs generally have a small bulb.
The interesting this, with costs of between $2 and $30 per LED light bulb, I have been able to illuminate virtually every area of my house (from the deep corridor outside to the bathroom sink and window. I happened to have very many LED bulbs installed in my house but the energy bill is even significantly lower than when I used fluorescent bulbs. Furthermore, I have the ability to choose from a wide variety of colors and different luminous intensities. Thus, I am able to light up my aquarium to a revered scene of beauty that is very discerning indeed. I bought these LED light bulbs about one and a half years ago and I have only replaced the Kitchen one so far. The other bulbs are still intact as they were when I first replaced the fluorescent bulbs.
Since 2011, the consumer price has improved rapidly and novel technology trends in the LED lighting are being discovered after every year. It is interesting and important to note that currently, the US government has actually banned the importation of the common 40 watt to 60 watt incandescent bulbs. Thus, the era of this bulbs in the US market can be considered to be over.
The contemporary society is majorly concerned about the effects of energy cost fluctuations and air pollution caused by the ever increasing combustion of fossil fuels by internal combustion engines. These two technological trends illustrated herein offer a great opportunity at advancing the strides society intends to make in alleviating the effects of high energy costs and air pollution from conventional automobiles. However, currently both technologies are at their epitome levels of development with new inventions coming up every year.
In order to conserve the environment and reduce the total carbon emissions as per every developed country, the use of the electric car will come in handy. The hybrid system shall be a good place to start government regulations since this system of electric cars combines the use of a fossil fuels and electric energy. The combination is so versatile that the electric car is no longer limited by range. For residents of cities who require to travel less than 300 kilometers to work and back, the electric car is the best way to go economical of fuel consumption per month. The society should then consider a complete transition to the electric car which shall completely reduce the reliance of America on fossil fuel imports.
The recent advancements in the plug-in recharging system for electric vehicles and the establishment of recharging centers by companies such as Tesla is going to facilitate the market entry of the electric car. Technological advancement since 2011 has seen fast electric motors being invented capable of driving the car in high-speed highways of America. This simply means the soon the society is going to view Formula 1 racing using electric sport cars as the norm. However, this shall require further improvements in terms of the acceleration speeds (moving them higher than the current 120 kilometers per hour mark).
In America today, huge chunks of monthly salaries for the employed middle and upper class citizens usually go to the purchase of fossil fuels to power their automobiles. Furthermore, the use of this energy source is the main cause of higher commodity prices as the producer and distributer pass the overall costs to the consumer. The future development of more intense electric infrastructure recharging systems all over the US shall enable transporters to use electric vehicles to transport commodities over long distance. Given the speculation that electric energy is immune to the unforeseen fluctuations in fossil fuels, the prices of common commodities will remain fairly immune from these fluctuations and their inflation rate will be controllable.
The use of LED lighting in both American households and industries will most notably contribute to overall electric energy savings. The savings made from reducing the overall use of fossil fuels will further improve when households and industries begin using LED lights to illuminate their homes and industries. Today, for instance, for a household that used 10 fluorescent bulbs to light up its rooms and had an electricity bill of $2000 a month, the number of bulbs could be more than doubled with the use of LED bulbs but still generate the same bill at the end of the month. This simply means that more lighting opportunities are available for the household to light up its pavements, corridors and even fences in order to ascertain their security and cordon off intruders at night.
Future improvements will enable LED lights to be used in a cost effective way to illuminate and improve the aesthetic impact of interior designs. As the costs of popular LED bulbs continue to be lower each year, so will these magnificent bulbs be affordable to individual middle class Americans. This will be significant especially for the middle class that adores art. Furthermore, their use in torches and television screens will see the cost of these products reduce significantly in the future.
Finally, the technology trend that shall make the use of LED lights integrated into an electric car shall further improve the energy efficiency of the vehicle. This shall simply mark an era of LED lights and fluorescent lights shall become a thing of the past. An electric car is only efficient in its attempt to attain long driving range by minimizing its energy utilization. In this case, the installation of LED bulbs as car lights shall improve range. This shall further contribute to a positive outlook and perspective by the society in as far as the limitations of the electric car are concerned. The only way the electric car shall gain favor in the eyes of majority of Americans is through the improvement of its driving range. The current speed of 120 kilometers per hour is a trend that has gained favor since most road laws restrict driving (except in highways) speed to about 80 kilometers per hour in country roads.
To sum it up, the latest technology trend that has affected profoundly is the electric car. This is due to the latest improvement in its plug-in technology and the availability of recharging stations set up by Tesla all over California. This car has saved my monthly usage on fuel when compared to the internal combustion engine car I used to drive. Furthermore, its efficiency and internal luxury is very comparable to its fossil fuel counterpart. On the other hand, I see the current technological trends in LED bulb and tube designs to be fascinating. It is also interesting the even the government has begun plans to phase out the popular and conventional incandescent lighting systems.
Consequently, these two technologies are bound to have a bright future especially with the current trends the keep on improving year after year. Societies and governments concerned over their annual carbon footprint shall in the long run adopt these technologies to lower their reliance on fossil fuels and facilitate energy saving. The American middle class family shall thus have more money to save as per their monthly income salaries.