A Guide on Electric Vehicles


Introduction:

A person sitting in front of a computer

Electric vehicles are great alternatives to gasoline cars. They are much more environmentally friendly and can save you a lot of money in the long run. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular but there are still not so many of them on the roads which means that if you decide to buy one, your car will most likely be unique. But whether you decide to go with an electric or gasoline-powered vehicle, it’s always beneficial to learn about what you’re dealing with before making a decision. Here is some information on electric vehicles (EV) and hybrids (HEV).

History:

A truck is parked on the side of a road

The first patent for the EV was filed way back in 1886, but it took until around 1900 before early prototypes of EVs began popping up. Apart from being incredibly inconvenient because of their low range and long recharging times, EVs were also pretty hard to start in harsh weather conditions so they never really caught on. In the 1950s and 1960s oil prices rose dramatically which increased public interest in electric vehicles, but still, they never became mainstream. The main reason for this is because of the limited range EVs had and the time it took to recharge batteries.

Even though there were many different makes and models of commercially available EVs since the 19th century, only in 1997 did Nissan release the first modern production EV called LEAF. Since then other automakers soon followed suit and Tesla Motors released their flagship model S which became one of the most popular (and expensive) EVs on the market. However up until early 2000s most major car manufacturers were not developing any large scale electric vehicle programs; instead focusing on research into fuel cells, hybrid cars or hydrogen-powered vehicles (see more information about these technologies below). This all changed in 2010 when GM decided to cancel its plans for a hydrogen-powered car and instead invest heavily in the development of EVs.

Battery types:

All EVs use one or multiple batteries as their energy source. There are three main types of batteries: lead-acid, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). The type of battery used depends on what kind of vehicle is being produced.

Lead-acid batteries:

Lead-acid batteries were the first commercially available EV batteries and because they were made by companies like Panasonic, their cost was already low enough that many automakers decided to go with them. Despite this lead-acid technology has some major downsides such as safety issues, limited life span and limited range which means that most big car manufacturers have now moved on to other battery technologies.

Nickel-cadmium batteries:

Nickel-cadmium batteries were once the most popular type of battery for EVs but are now being phased out because they have a high recycling cost, low energy density and short life span.

Nickel-metal hydride batteries:

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are currently the most commonly used type of battery for EVs because they offer high energy density, long life span and are relatively affordable. They are used in vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Tesla Model S.

Charging:

One of the main disadvantages of electric cars is that it takes significantly longer to recharge them than it does to refuel a gasoline-powered car. This is because electric current (amperes) is much lower than liquid fuel flow (liters per minute). This means that even if you have a high capacity battery, it will still take longer to recharge than it does to refuel.

Many automakers are now installing fast-charging stations in an attempt to address this issue. Tesla Motors has its own Supercharger network which offers a much faster charging time than regular charging stations.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter