Electric vehicles (EV) aren’t that well-known yet as compared to the ICE cars, and there are a couple of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Here are some of the common questions.
What is an EV?
An EV (Electric Vehicle) is simply a vehicle that uses the energy stored in batteries on board to move the car.
To be sufficiently attractive, the battery on board (traction battery) has to store enough energy to move the car a reasonable range before recharging.
Many EVs coming to the market are having ranges that exceed 250 miles. This is more acceptable than earlier versions which has a range of less than 100 miles.
Tesla Model S Long Range has an EPA range of 373 miles which is the highest among all EVs.
Why use an EV?
An EV is widely regarded as an environmentally friendly and green vehicle. It has no tailpipe and therefore has zero emission.
EVs do not pollute the environment unlike conventional ICE cars. Many city authorities have recognized this and enacted monetary incentives to promote the use of EVs.
Additionally, EVs have superior acceleration from 0 to 60 mph compared to conventional cars. It is quiet and gives smooth ride and comfort.
EVs have greatly increased their range which for a long time had restricted their acceptability. With ranges now exceeding 300 miles, more buyers are increasingly purchasing EVs.
How does an EV work?
Traction motors (which could be AC or DC electric motors) provide the power which is transmitted to the vehicles tires.
A gearbox enables the high motor speed to be reduced at the tires and also the torque to be multiplied.
The batteries provide DC power. This DC power needs to be converted into a suitable form (AC or DC) for the traction motors.
Tesla’s system uses a three-phase induction motor for traction. This means that the DC power needs to be converted to AC.
An inverter is interposed between the battery output and traction motor to provide this specialized AC power.
A sophisticated computer provides an accurate and precise control of the power delivery of the motor and can unleash the huge power that is stored in the batteries in an efficient manner.
What does an EV traction battery look like?
Tesla utilizes a broad and wide structural enclosure to contain the more than 7000 small Lithium Ion cells. These cells are arranged in parallel and series arrangement and configured into 16 modules.
Tesla’s battery pack has an output of 400 V DC with a capacity of about 80 – 90 KWH.
An elaborate system of cooling flat tubes is incorporated into the battery pack to contact each individual cell and keep them at an optimum temperature. This will help to maintain battery performance and extend the life of the battery.
How does a battery pack provide stability to the car?
The whole battery pack is bolted to the underside of the car. This strong and wide enclosure helps to strengthen the rigidity of the car.
The lower positioning of the battery pack ensures that the car has a low center of gravity which greatly improves the stability of the car.
Where are EV most popular?
Up to the end of 2019, USA, Europe and China have the most EVs registered. The large number of EVs have created a large number of supporting charging infrastructure across these countries.
This in turn helped to accelerate EV sales in these regions.
In USA, 2 out of every 100 new cars registered are EVs. China already has 3 million EVs on their roads.
In 2019, China added about 900,000 EVs. Norway has the largest penetration of EVs in 2019 wherein every 1 in 2 cars registered there is an EV.
As a company, Tesla produced 367,000 EVs in 2019. In short, sales of EV looks very promising.
Sales of EVs are closely linked to the monetary incentives provided by the Government.
In China when government incentives were rolled back, sales of new EVs have dwindled slightly in 2019.
When should the batteries be charged?
The energy in the traction batteries will be utilized as the vehicle is operated. This gradually reduces the energy in the battery. It is recommended that charging is done before the battery energy drops to about 10 percent.
This can be done by charging at home or even in public superchargers when one is travelling longer distances.
All EVs come fitted with a charger. Just plug into any 110 V electricity supply to charge up.
A home charger should be able to fully charge the car to 90% overnight. A fast charger can charge up more rapidly within the hour.
Usually the car is charged up to about 90% of full level only. This can promote the long life of the battery.
What is Regenerative Braking?
Many EVs may employ “regenerative braking’ to charge up the battery. To slow down the car, you ease off from the accelerator pedal.
When this happens, the cars drive the rotor of the induction motors. The same induction motor acts as a generator. This generates a voltage which is used to charge the battery.
The energy used to charge the battery slows the car down.
To fully stop the car, you press the brake pedal as in a conventional car. Regenerative braking helps to convert the mechanical energy into the stored electrical energy in the battery.
This helps to increase the car’s range and reduce electricity consumption of your EV.
Who are the key EV makers?
Tesla leads the world in making and selling EVs. The company sold the most number of EVs in the world for a number of years.
It still provides the standard by which EV performance is frequently bench-marked against.
In contrast, many car makers have not focused their efforts in this arena. Things however have changed.
Climate change has caused a re-think in the way cars should operate. There is now an impetus to think green and EV.
Many of the top big names are now rushing to put their EV models into the market if they do not already have EVs in their showroom. This surge promises to provide more excitement in the EV landscape when more and more variety are offered.
More research and development in this arena will provide better and more efficient cars. The larger volumes of EVs produced will provide more economy of scale which augurs well for EV buyers.
Prices are expected to drop further when compared with conventional cars. EVs are optimistically touted to be replacing conventional cars by 2025.