Welcome to the first in a series of articles in which Tom Denton examines different aspects of EVs each month.
We will cover technology, tools, issues, systems and much more. I do know, some of you love EVs and some hate them. I definitely love them, so maybe I can change your mind if you don’t!
What is an EV?
The term Electric Vehicle tends to be used to refer to any vehicle that is powered, in part or in full, by a battery that may or may not be directly plugged into the mains. There are three main types of EV:
> Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) – powered by a battery and/or an internal combustion engine (ICE). The power source is selected automatically by the vehicle. The battery cannot be plugged in and is charged during braking using regeneration.
> Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – powered by a battery and/or an ICE like the HEV, but can also be plugged in and charged. Most have a pure-electric range of 10–30 miles (a few do more). After the pure-electric range is used up, the vehicle reverts to normal hybrid operation.
> Battery electric vehicle (BEV) – runs only on electricity and is sometimes described as a pure EV. Must be plugged in to recharge.
Why are the becoming popular?
The EV market has increased year on year, and the number of battery technology native drivers (meaning that this technology has been easily available to them from their first car) is also increasing. The UK government’s intention to disallow ICE car sales from 2030 has been met with mixed reaction, but has increased sales of EVs.
The main thing that concerns drivers about pure EVs is ‘range anxiety’. This is the fear that the vehicle could not complete a journey before the battery runs out. However, as the range of vehicles increases, and the charging network improves, this problem is much reduced. Because of the time it takes to charge a car, a motorist used to the convenience of fuelling an ICE may find the transition to electric more difficult than an electric car native.
Slow charging at home is, however, very convenient (often overnight when electricity is cheaper). Rapid charging can dump a lot of energy into a battery in a much shorter time.
EVs deliver power faster than the ICE counterpart, giving swift acceleration and there are no gears to slow the progress. EVs are quite heavy, but that weight is mainly made up by the batteries, which can be placed to give the car a low centre of gravity and an excellent driving experience.
With no engine noise, the compartment is very quiet and without vibration. The cost of running an EV is much less than its equivalent ICE vehicle – on average about 1,300 less per year.
Maintenance and repair of EVs requires specialist equipment and qualified technicians. For this reason, next month we will consider if you should be preparing for repairing and servicing EVs now?