Electric Vehicles: Everything you need to know updated [2021]

Electric Vehicles: Everything you need to know updated [2021]

Electric Vehicles: Everything you need to know updated [2021]

Westrafo.com

The world is facing a rising concern of climate change and environmental degradation. To prevent climate change and protect the environment, humans have introduced many technological innovations like electric vehicles. These vehicles operate on electric motors with batteries and fuel cells.

People have started using renewable sources like solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, etc., to generate energy. Such energy sources help to operate energy services and also reduce carbon emissions to the environment.

Further, manufacturing companies are considering energy efficiency while creating new technological equipment and appliances. The Energy Star label assures energy efficiency in various household products and appliances.

Electric vehicles are among the environmentally friendly technological innovations that have been rising in popularity. Today, they can compete with non-electric automobiles in terms of design, performance, and luxury.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Electric vehicles are vehicles that operate either partially or fully with electric power. Conventional vehicles run with gasoline or diesel and have an internal combustion engine. They burn fuel and gas to generate energy. As a result, it makes a negative impact on the environment, causing pollution and emissions.

Electric Vehicles run with one or more electric motors that take power from batteries and fuel cells. They are environmentally friendly and produce less carbon pollution than conventional vehicles. They use little or no fossil fuels to operate.

Electric Vehicle Glimpse

                                         Source: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The batteries in EVs are recharged by plugging in an electric source. Some EVs are hybrid, which means they can operate on both electric power and fuel. So they have a combustion engine as well as an electric motor.

Non-hybrid EVs operate entirely on electric power. They are often also called all-electric vehicles (AEVs).

Here are some interesting facts about EVs:

  • EVs are compared to gasoline-fueled cars that go over 100 miles per gallon.
  • There is a new technology called "breathable" batteries that inhales and exhales air. But, unlike humans, these batteries do not exhale carbon dioxide. Instead, they exhale oxygen back to the environment.
  • If we use renewable energy sources like solar and wind to charge EVs' batteries, there will be zero carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Now, let's look at some of the advantages of using electric vehicles overall conventional ones.

Benefits of Using Electric Vehicles Over Conventional Vehicles

Electric Vehicles have been gaining popularity because they are suitable for the environment. But that is not the only reason why buyers are considering switching to electric versions. With the latest technology, EVs can compete with conventional vehicles in terms of features, design, performance, luxury, and reliability.

The main advantage of using EVs over classic cars is that they produce less carbon that causes harm to the environment. Further, electric vehicles also save money and energy. They are simple to operate by charging with electricity at our home, office, or charging stations.

Electric vehicles reduce fuel consumption as they require less or no fuel. Fuel prices can rise and fall. But electricity is available in every household and can also be generated through various renewable sources. As we said, using renewable sources like solar or wind can minimize carbon emissions to almost zero.

Advantages of Electric Vehicles Over Conventional Vehicles

Below are some of the advantages of using EVs over conventional vehicles.

1. Low Cost

In comparison to gasoline or diesel, the cost of electricity is low. For example, it is nearly 40 percent cheaper to charge an EV with electricity than to use petroleum sources for a similar-sized vehicle to travel the same distance.

The price of electricity is stable, and it does not fluctuate as much as that of gasoline. Using other sources (like solar) to generate electricity can reduce the cost even more. Generating electricity is flexible because of the availability of many renewable sources.

2. Reduce Emissions

Carbon emission is one of the leading causes of climate change. EVs can reduce carbon emissions significantly. Hybrid EVs still cause emissions due to the use of combustion engines while operating in non-electric mode. But emissions produced also depend on the type of hybrid power system installed in the electric vehicle. All-electric and plug-in EVs do not have tailpipes. Hence, they cause no emissions. Hybrid EVs do the same when operating in electric mode.

The only emissions caused by electric vehicles come from sources used to generate electricity. If the electricity is produced from natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy, they release emissions to the environment. Conversely, if electricity is produced from renewable sources like hydropower, solar energy, wind, biomass, and geothermal, the carbon emission is very low (even zero).

Low emissions reduce environmental pollution, and it will not harm our health.

3. Fuel Economy

EVs have better fuel economy and low cost compared to conventional vehicles. In plug-in EVs, fuel consumption is zero as they run on electric motors that operate from batteries. Plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) rely partially on fuel and partially on electric power.

In EVs, we measure fuel economy in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. So, for example, EVs can drive 100 miles on 25-40 kWh compared to 130 MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent) by conventional vehicles.

The fuel economy depends on how the vehicle is driven, the load it carries, and its maintenance. As a result, EVs have a fuel-to-cost advantage over conventional ones.

4. Easy Availability of Electricity For Charging

Electricity is available almost anywhere—at home, office, and public places. So it is easy to charge an EV wherever there is a charging grid. Conventional vehicles have to be taken to a gas station for refueling. But electric vehicles require a place where electricity is available. So charging an EV is flexible.

PHEVs are even more flexible as we can charge them with electricity or fill them with fuel. We can choose whichever is more convenient. However, the number of charging stations is increasing in many places around the world. It is a good step for EV owners.

5. Low Maintenance

In comparison to combustion engine vehicles, EVs do not require frequent maintenance. So it reduces the maintenance cost in the long run. However, conventional vehicles with combustion engines have more parts in motion. So there is a lot that can go wrong. EVs do not have as many moving parts.

The maintenance of EVs is also comparatively easy. But the batteries used in EVs can become less efficient with more usage. Most EV manufacturers provide 8 years warranty on batteries. Later, the batteries might need complete replacement.

PHEVs require frequent maintenance as they have a combustion engine too.

6. Other Advantages

Comparatively, EVs produce less noise. In conventional vehicles, the engine causes more vibration. But EVs run from electric motors, which do not vibrate much and have less sound.

There is more storage space in EVs as they have fewer components.

EVs generally have a regenerative braking system. When the driver applies brakes in an EV, it converts kinetic energy into electric energy. This energy is saved to the battery and can be used by the vehicle for other purposes.

How Do Electric Vehicles Work?

EVs operate with an electric motor that gets power from batteries. They do not have combustion engines like conventional vehicles, except hybrid EVs. Instead, the batteries in EVs are present in a large traction battery pack.

Parts of Electric Vehicles

Source: Alternative Fuels Data Center

Main Components and Functions of an EV

Below, we will be discussing the main components of an EV.

a. Electric Motor

An electric motor is one of the main components of an EV. To run an electric motor, we need batteries. As you can imagine, the batteries for an EV have to be powerful. The controller takes power from the batteries and sends it to the motor to start the vehicle.

An electric motor converts electricity into mechanical energy by creating a magnetic field, which moves the vehicle's wheels. It transforms DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current).

b. Traction Battery Pack

A traction battery pack is a large battery that stores power for the electric motor. These are usually rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that require electricity for charging.

These batteries have a high kilowatt-hour capacity. The battery's capacity determines the maximum driving distance.

c. Charging Port

Charging ports allow EVs to connect to a power supply like an electric grid. The batteries start charging once the port is connected to the power supply.

d. Thermal Cooling System

A thermal cooling system maintains the appropriate temperature of the EV's different components, like the electric motor, engine (in hybrid EVs), power accessories, etc.

e. Onboard Charger

An onboard charger converts AC power from the charging port to DC power for charging the battery. It also monitors voltage, temperature, and charging conditions when charging.

f. Controller

In an EV, the controller controls the speed of the tractor motor and the torque it produces. Further, it checks the flow of energy from the battery pack. The controller also reduces the RPM (Revolutions per minute) to an appropriate level.

g. Low Voltage DC-DC Converter

A DC-DC converter converts high-voltage DC power from the battery pack to low-voltage DC power for the vehicle's electronic systems and accessories.

h. Transmission

The transmission's job is to shift the mechanical power from the motor to the wheels.

i. Auxiliary Battery

An auxiliary battery is a regular battery that is found in all vehicles. It supplies power to the electronic systems and other components. In an EV, the auxiliary battery receives power from the traction battery pack.

j. Inverter

The inverter converts DC power to AC power. It is used to change speed during the acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle. So it plays an essential role in the vehicle's drivability.

Additional components like the combustion engine, fuel components (fuel tank, fuel filler, etc.), and an exhaustion system in plug-in hybrid EVs.

Types of Electric Vehicles

Modern technology has allowed manufacturers to experiment with different types of electric vehicles. In general, there are three types of electric vehicles—battery, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. Let's look at each of them in detail.

Types of Electric Vehicles

Source: Evgo.com

1. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Also called EVs or plug-in EVs, battery EVs operate entirely on batteries that power up the electric motor. They have no fuel components like fuel tanks and fuel fillers.

The battery pack is the only energy source in BEVs, and it is recharged by supplying electricity. The electricity to charge BEVs can be generated from various non-renewable sources (natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy) or renewable sources (solar, wind, hydro, etc.).

There are no tailpipes in BEVs, so they do not cause emissions to the environment. Therefore, unlike petroleum or diesel vehicles, they do not cause pollution and emit harmful gas.

2. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Hybrid EVs consist of both electric motors and combustion engines. They use the internal combustion engine to recharge the battery pack and run the electric motor. The presence of an electric motor increases fuel economy and assists the combustion engine. The regenerative braking system is also used to recharge the batteries in HEVs.

Unlike BEVs, they can not operate on batteries alone (not for a long time, at least). They can go a maximum of 1 to 2 miles on batteries. The combustion engine has to be running when the vehicle is in motion.

Hybrid EVs come with two different options—with or without charging ports. A hybrid EV with a charging port is called a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV).

3. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-in hybrid EVs are similar to hybrid EVs because they also consist of electric motors and combustion engines. However, the electric motors in PHEVs are usually larger than those in HEVs.

PHEVs have a charging port so that they can be charged from electric grids (like BEVs). They have all the components similar to BEVs, along with additional combustion engine and fuel components.

Batteries in PHEVs can be recharged in many ways—by the combustion engine, the wheel's motion, regenerative braking system, and electric points. In addition, PHEVs can run solely on electric motors without help from the combustion engine until they do not exceed their all-electric range.

The plug-in hybrids are more flexible because of the dual features. They produce lower emissions when they operate in the all-electric mode. However, when working in fuel mode, the emissions produced are just like other non-electric vehicles.

Batteries in Electric Automobile

An electric motor runs from a battery pack. It is the primary source of power for an EV. In combustion engine vehicles, energy comes from burning fuels like petrol and diesel. So the fuel is the source of power for those vehicles.

Batteries in Electric Vehicles

Source: EDF Energy

EVs use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. These are the same as those we use in our phones, laptops, and other portable electronic devices. But the Li-ion batteries in EVs are much larger in size and number. In addition, these batteries have a higher energy density than lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries. So they save space and decrease the size of the vehicle's battery pack.

Li-ion batteries in EVs are rechargeable and store energy when charged. This energy is used to run the electric motor(s), which turns the vehicle's wheels. The acceleration applied controls the motor's power. And, the charge of the battery will depend on the energy consumed when driving.

Battery Life and Charging

The battery in EVs is discharged when the vehicle is running and charged when it is plugged in. This frequent charging and discharging affect the battery life in the long run. Most EV manufacturers provide a warranty of up to 8 years on the batteries (160,000 Km drive limit). They are working on making more efficient batteries in the future.

The battery life depends on several factors like vehicle maintenance, driving style, driving frequency, and vehicle weight. In EVs, the regenerative braking system also helps to store the energy of the battery. The battery's charging speed depends on the car model, and it could take anything from 30 minutes to a few hours to fully charge the battery.

How to Extend Battery Life in an EV?

Below are a few tips to extend the battery life of an EV:

  • First, do not charge and drain the battery life completely.
  • Do not charge the battery frequently.
  • Accelerate gently and avoid parking under the sun as it triggers the thermal system.
  • Make use of the regenerative braking system by driving slowly and using brakes more often.

Once the battery of an EV wears out, we can use it to power homes and buildings. We can also use renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind energy to recharge these batteries.

Top-Rated Electric Vehicles and Their Prices in 2021

EVs are gaining high popularity as they provide outstanding performance, style, range, comfort, and luxury. In addition, they are environmentally friendly and offer various options to buyers depending on price, features, technology, etc.

Below are some top-rated EVs in 2021.

1. 2021 Tesla Model 3

2021 Tesla Model 3

Source: Car And Driver

Tesla is one of the most popular brands of EVs. It provides diverse choices of vehicles to buyers. When you hear the brand name Tesla, you automatically think of electric cars. With a maximum range of up to 263 miles, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 has a sporty look, includes more space, and has improved quality. It is quicker and more luxurious too.

The Model 3 has fast acceleration and comfortable handling with features like a touch screen, Wi-Fi hotspot, integrated dashcam, emergency braking, etc. It also comes with Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving technology.

  • Starting price: $38,690
  • Range: 263 miles (Long-range: 353 miles)
  • Vehicle type: Sedan
  • Engine type: Electric
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Top speed: 141 mph
  • Find more: https://www.tesla.com/model3

2. 2021 Porsche Taycan

2021 Porsche Taycan

Source: Car And Driver

The new 2021 Porsche Taycan comes with a pair of motors that powers up all four wheels. As a result, it has a high-performance potential in all aspects. With high charging speed and acceleration, the Porsche Taycan can make multiple high-speed runs without losing performance.

Its driver-assistance technology includes a forward-collision warning, automated braking during emergencies, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

3. 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

Source: Edmunds

The 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric is the Hyundai Kona SUV's electric version, which operates on a gasoline engine. The Kona Electric is driver-engaging, and it has a high-speed and high-range capacity of up to 258 miles in all-electric mode.

It has almost similar functionalities to other EVs from Tesla, Chevrolet, and Kia. But Hyundai Kona's unbelievable price and warranty are what sets it apart from others. The Kona Electric is available in three models: SEL, Limited, and Ultimate.

Being one of the best EVs in the market, Kona Electric has an adjustable regenerative braking system. In addition, it provides a 10-year warranty on the powertrain and the battery for 100,000 miles. Similarly, it also provides a 5-year warranty for 60,000 miles.

4. 2021 Chevy Bolt EV

2021 Chevy Bolt EV

Source: MotorBiscuit

The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV might not be as stylish and luxurious design-wise as other competitors, but it is known for its high performance. Further, it provides an experience of a smooth ride with better cabin space. Its features are standard but impressive.

The Chevy Bolt EV has a driving range of up to 259 miles in the all-electric mode. Moreover, it includes one-pedal driving and a DC fast charging capability. Overall, it is a good choice for its price.

5. 2020 Kia Niro EV

2020 Kia Niro EV

Source: CarBuzz

Like the Chevy Bolt, the 2020 Kia Niro EV also does not have exciting features than other competitors in the market. This is because Kia initially began manufacturing hybrid models (Niro Hybrid), and later it shifted to all-electric.

The price and features of the Kira Niro EV are reasonable and affordable. It has an EPA range of up to 239 miles. In addition, it has excellent assistance, DC fast charging, and regenerative braking, along with a fantastic warranty feature. Further, it is speedy, user-friendly, and has suitable storage compartments. Other features include lane assistance, energy braking, pedestrian section, voice recognition, etc.

  • Starting price: $40,265
  • Range: 239 miles
  • Vehicle type: SUV
  • Engine type: Electric
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Top speed: 108 mph
  • Find more: https://www.kia.com/us/en/niro-ev

6. Toyota RAV4 Prime

Toyota RAV4 Prime

Source: CarBuzz

The Toyota RAV4 Prime is one of Toyota's first hybrid technology vehicles. It is the fastest four-door vehicle among the Toyota lineup. It consists of a four-cylinder gas engine and three electric motors (two in the front axle and one for the rear wheels for high acceleration).

This plug-in hybrid EV is the best choice if you are looking for a hybrid EV with similar features as a gas-engine vehicle. In addition, its features make it easy to switch between electric and gas modes. The all-electric model has a range of 42 miles, and the engine mode has a range of 600 miles.

  • Starting price: $39,425
  • EV Range: 42 miles
  • Vehicle type: Hybrid
  • Engine type: Gas/Electric I-4
  • Transmission: CVT w/OD
  • Top speed: 120 mph
  • Find more: https://www.toyota.com/rav4prime/

7. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Source: Carscoops

When we think of a Ford Mustang, we have the classic Mustang image on our heads. However, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is not like the regular Ford Mustang in terms of style and design.

With a range of up to 305 miles, it is highly luxurious and includes high-performance technology. Vehicle testers have said that the Mustang Mach-E is excellent to drive. Moreover, Ford offers various front- and all-wheel-drive models whose range varies according to the model.

  • Starting price: $42,895
  • Range: 305 miles
  • Vehicle type: SUV
  • Engine type: Electric
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Top speed: 114 mph
  • Find more: https://www.ford.com/suvs/mach-e/

8. 2021 Audi e-Tron

2021 Audi e-Tron

Source: Edmunds

The 2021 Audi e-Tron can go up to 222 miles in the all-electric mode, which is comparatively low compared to peers. But it is one of the most luxurious EVs available today. It has incredible driving dynamics and technology features.

The Audi e-Tron has a pair of electric motors in the front and the other in the rear. It has a DC fast charging with long battery life. The EV also has a comfortable and luxurious space for five adults.

9. 2021 Volkswagen ID.4

2021 Volkswagen ID.4

Source: BookCarCare

Volkswagen is a well-known car brand that has been in the market for a very long time. Like other brands, it has been providing electric options to its customers. The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is among the finest EVs by Volkswagen.

The ID.4 can go up to 260 miles with a full charge. The SUV-shaped and highly stylish ID.4 has many features with great technology and a good storage cabin space. It has a battery pack of 82 kWh and an electric motor of 201 horsepower. Its motor, however, only drives the rear wheels. But the newer versions of Volkswagen EVs include all-wheel drive too.

Volkswagen ID.4 is available in three models: Pro, Pro S, and 1st Edition. Further, the company provides unlimited DC fast charging at Electrify America Stations for 3 years for free.

Conclusion 

With new and innovative technology, electric vehicles have been able to gain fast popularity. Each year, electric automobile companies introduce new and advanced EVs with high-performances and elegant designs. The non-electric manufactures have also begun to consider electric options for customers. It shows that there will be more EVs in the future.

Electric vehicles have a significant advantage over conventional ones. First, they are environmentally friendly as they produce low emissions. All-electric EVs produce zero emissions to the environment. Furthermore, EVs save energy and cost, and they are a better fuel economy. Readily available electricity and low maintenance are also the reasons buyers are switching to EVs.

EVs, however, are yet to compete with conventional vehicles with high speed and cover an increased range. But as the technology enhances further, EVs will soon be able to replace conventional ones entirely.

Electric motors in EVs run from batteries. The manufacturers need to produce more reliable and long-lasting batteries as they are the significant component of an EV. The battery life depends on the driving style, maintenance, and weight of the vehicles.

Buyers can select from the different types of EVs in terms of style and performance. However, if they need more flexibility, they can go for plug-in hybrid EVs as they run on both electric motors and combustion engines.

Climate change is an ongoing issue, and it is our responsibility to think for the environment. Every individual's job is to take daily actions that help save the environment, like switching from gasoline-engine vehicles to EVs. It is easier now than ever to make the switch because of the availability of many high-performing and luxurious EVs.

FAQs on Electric Vehicle

Is an Electric Vehicle worth it?

An electric vehicle produces fewer emissions to the environment. There a variety of EVs that provide high-performance and elegant designs too. Further, EVs are cost-effective, cheaper to maintain, and affordable. So, yes, EVs are worth it.

What are the best Electric Vehicles in the market?

Tesla is one of the most popular EV manufacturing brands. The new Tesla Model 3 is among the most luxurious and high-performing EVs in the market. Now that EVs have become very popular, many automobile companies have started manufacturing electric cars and electric SUVs. Some of the best EVs in the market today are:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Porsche Taycan
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Chevy Bolt EV
  • Kia Niro EV
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Audi e-Tron

These are among the best electric cars and SUVs in the year 2021.

Which are few popular Electric Automobile companies?

There are many electric automobile companies in the world today. Some of them are:

  • Tesla
  • Hyundai
  • Chevrolet
  • BMW
  • Nissan
  • Zotye
  • BAIC

  • Memory Quiz


References:

  • https://www.ergon.com.au/network/smarter-energy/electric-vehicles/benefits-of-electric-vehicles
  • https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_benefits.html