Motoring corner : “The Electric Car”

When one talks of an “Electric Car” (or vehicle), what comes to mind is the fact that, that car uses electricity to power its movement.  True, that is the basis of its operation. There are different types of electric cars. 

When one talks of an “Electric Car” (or vehicle), what comes to mind is the fact that, that car uses electricity to power its movement.  True, that is the basis of its operation. There are different types of electric cars. 

All electric cars use an electric motor.  Electric hybrids use a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to propel the car. Energy may be stored in a car in the form of liquid, solid or gaseous form, or ultra-capacitors, flywheels or compressed air.  This energy is then recovered and converted into mechanical energy by a motor which uses the appropriate energy source.  Cars that use rechargeable batteries only do not emit pollution.  Electric cars charged from a coal fired grid are still more efficient and produce less pollution than gas engines. 

Electric cars come in all form factors.  These are generally; lighter and use aerodynamics to perform better.
That said and done, the electric cars must depend on batteries that store the energy they use. Batteries can be used until they are dead just like fuel tanks can be run empty.  It is good to watch the gauge and refill them before this happens. Car batteries are recharged just like mobile phone batteries. 

Typically, it may take an overnight to charge a battery.  They should not be charged faster than 3 hours because fast charge rapidly deteriorates the overall battery life.  However, they can be charged as fast as 20 minutes, but then they won’t last as long as necessary, special charge stations are needed.  Charging overnight can be done with any normal electric outlet.  Charging in 3 hours requires a 220 Volt Dryer or Stove Plug.  Most parking lots in colder climates have normal plug-ins.  In North America, many private parking lots such as restaurants and parking garages may have plug ins.

The range of most electric cars is sufficient for daily city needs so a second car is not needed, unless you travel long distances regularly. A hybrid electric car can go unlimited distances.  According to Statistic in Canada the average Canadian covers about 10 Km each way to work and nearly more than 10 million people cover less than 50 Km a day.  Delivery truck drivers average 200 Km in an eight hour day.  The range of electric cars varies from 50 Km to over 200 Km.  100 Km is on average. 

Range is affected by weight, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, energy management driving habits and accessories.  If a battery is run until almost dead, simply recharge it at the nearest electric outlet, which is usually any nearby house or building

Electric cars can go very fast.  The current record 1/4 mile drag race for electric cars is about 8.8 seconds and 230 KPH.  Three cars nearing production have acceleration of 0 to 100 Kph in about 5-7 seconds (Similar to a Ferrari or Corvette) and 1/4 mile in about 16 seconds and 130 KPH.  This is because electric motors have very high torque.  Cars that are designed with the batteries low have excellent cornering.  When it comes to cost, the price of an EV is set by market factors not cost. 

For equivalent production volumes battery EVs(electric vehicles) should be cheaper because they have many fewer parts.  This also means they are cheaper to maintain.  Only the cost of battery replacement every 3-5 years is about $3000.  They are less expensive to operate by a factor of ten over petrol.  Hybrids get about double the fuel efficiency of regular cars.

The advantages of EVs include less air pollution, quieter, and lower cost to operate.  They are potentially more reliable due to fewer parts and mature technology (140 years).  They have similar power and the smaller EVs may be more maneuverable in traffic and be easier to park.

motoringcorner@live.co.uk

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