Starting In Space, Now Down To Earth. Electric Propulsion Systems Are Taking Over

Remember The Jetsons cartoon series? It can still be found on streaming services today. It was a highly popular and comical look at life in 2062. George and Judy Jetson represented the typical family of that era. They enjoyed a large number of improbable products and technologies. Pure fantasy when the series first aired in 1962. 

Today, many of those unbelievable technologies are a part of our daily lives. Flat screen TVs, smartwatches, drones, video calls, tablet computers, personal robots, and more. Were the writers for the Jetsons visionaries, or did they just get lucky? Likely a little of both.

A personal favorite was George Jetson’s car. It was a true automobile of the future, and still is. Many have debated what actually fueled his car. Our only hint is an episode where George pulls into a “self-serve” fuel station and asks for two bucks of high-octane pellets and to make sure the radium is checked. We can assume it was a hybrid of some sort. There was power for vertical antigravity movement, and a system for horizontal propulsion, maybe electric. It didn’t sound like any combustion engine we know of.

Ironically, the same year The Jetsons aired on TV, mankind started experimenting with electric propulsion systems in space as a technique for satellite orbit transfer and stabilization. In 1964 the world’s first satellite, with electric propulsion, was sent to space. There was a specific reason scientists went down this path. The yield for electric propulsion was very efficient and much cheaper. 

If it worked in space, why not on earth’s surface? It took several decades, but here we are today with the adoption of electric powered vehicles teetering on the edge of an electric takeover. And more and more we are starting to understand the concept of “very efficient and much cheaper” as prices fall, the technology gets better, and charging options expand.

You might be one of those that isn’t interested in electric propulsion today. Maybe you love the roar of a big block V8 and the smell of burning tires and exhaust. But your future will most likely include the adoption of electric propulsion, at some point.

Even though electric propulsion systems were created in the 1960s to move satellites around, its use for transportation closer to the earth’s surface is still in the very early days. Fortunately the technology and usage is progressing rapidly as the world finds more and better ways to move people and goods around the world. It might have started with “going green,” or “saving the planet” but the reality is most people today are more interested in the reliability and performance that electric propulsion provides. 

It was these performance factors that gave birth to Hypercraft. We could see how that aspect of EV alone could reshape entire industries and set new benchmarks. Originally we set out to build a high performance electric powersports vehicle. When we couldn’t find anyone that sold agnostic EV powertrains for our planned machine, we shifted gears and became a powertrain company. We now offer 18 complete powertrains from 150 hp to just over 1,000 hp. 

Our EV powertrain options will now accelerate the shift to electric propulsion. We’ve engineered the complexity out of the process giving OEMs of all sizes the ability to quickly and affordably deliver anything they’re passionate about. 

It’s going to get harder and harder to resist going electric. Eventually, it’s going to be all the software-powered options, reliability, and of course the performance factors that will have you adopting the technology. It’s only a matter of time. It’s crazy exciting stuff and at this point there’s no way to put the cat back in the bag. 

Why is it crazy and exciting stuff? Unlike conventional combustion powertrains, electric propulsion systems offer instant torque, which translates into smooth and responsive acceleration with very little noise and vibration. 

At first, this plays games with the brain. Psychologically, it isn’t what we expect. We’ve been conditioned by sound to anticipate the acceleration, and for that acceleration to ramp up. You get over it quickly as you experience a much better driving experience, all characterized by overall enhanced responsiveness, agility, and precision. It’s why the racing world is getting so excited about electric options — more power, more control, better performance, and very little maintenance to keep them running.

Electric propulsion isn’t just about cars. It’s versatile and can be adapted to a wide spectrum of performance requirements. We all see the growing number of EV passenger cars on the road, but consider the growing number of buses, trains, boats big and small, as well as an increasing number of concepts for electric aircraft. Even our militaries are going electric.

If you’re not up to speed on electric, or just fighting the shift, consider this list of primary benefits. Some might surprise you: 

  • Fewer moving parts
  • Simplified/less maintenance
  • Lower fuel costs
  • Higher performance
  • Quieter operation
  • Lower or no emissions

This EV revolution is just getting started. Just like computers and phones, the technology is only going to get better and less expensive in the future. There will likely be new related technologies we’ve yet to conceive. There are already countries in Europe where your car automatically charges as you drive down certain roads, essentially pushing your range beyond anything fossil fuels could ever achieve.

If you’re in the transportation business and don’t have a strategy to make the transition to electric, you might become as obsolete as that folded paper map your dad kept in the glove box. New companies are popping up to fill the gap that slow movers are creating by avoiding the inevitable. 

If this prediction of an electric propulsion future sounds unrealistic, go back to a few episodes of The Jetsons and count the number of totally unrealistic technologies they had in that silly cartoon that we all enjoy today. 

Yes! Electric propulsion is absolutely in your future.