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What are electric cars?

What are electric cars?

Cars propelled by one or two electric motors, using energy typically stored in a rechargeable batteries are called electric cars

Electric cars saw their rebirth in 2008 when and advancement in their batteries was made and also due to the gradual increase in oil prices coupled with the desire to pipe down greenhouse emission. Subsidies, tax credits and lots of incentives have been established by many governments both national and local to promote the introduction and are now adopting the mass production and marketing of these new electric cars depending on the sizes of their batteries, their buying prices and their all electric range. When compared with cars with internal combustion engines cars, electric cars are very quiet and do not emit tailpipe gases.

Charging station of electric cars

There are several charging stations where these cars are charged which can be installed at home or in public areas. Nissan Leaf covering 151 miles when fully charged and Tesla Model S covering 335 miles when completely charged are the two bestselling electric cars now.

Power grids installed at owner’s home are usually used to charge the electric cars overnight for the battery electric cars. Not all electric car owners have these charging stations at their homes. This electricity used to charge the electric cars with is generated from different sources like hydroelectricity, nuclear or coal, and many other ways. For those who are very much concern about gas emission and want to prioritize zero-emission, they use energy from sources like photovoltaic solar cell panels, micro hydro or wind energy. Any charging station has its own charging speed. The slower charging stations are mostly installed at home an d the fast ones are installed in public places where an electric car can take less than thirty minutes to charge up to eighty percent of it battery.

Energy efficiency

Over three million electric and plug-in hybrid cars were in used around the world in 2007 with Nissan Leaf being the best-selling high-capable electric ever, with over 300,000 units sold globally by early 2018. This was closely followed by the Tesla Model S with almost two hundred and thirteen thousand units sold worldwide to by the end of 2017.

Electric motors convert stored energy into driving a car unlike making the more efficient than internal combustion engines. They are energy efficient and do not idle like the internal combustion engines.

Cabin heating and cooling

Electric cars generate waste heat in very little quantities compared to the internal combustion-powered cars, so their interior may need extra heating for occupants to be comfortable. Higher efficiency heating and a built-in cooling can be obtained with a reversible heat pump though heating can also be provided with an electric resistance heater. Positive temperature coefficient junction cooling is quite impressive and simple. Tesla uses this kind of system in their Tesla Model S electric car.

For the battery of the car not to be used for heating and cooling in the electric car so as not to reduce the range of the car, certain models will only allow the cabin to heat up when it is charging. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV uses this system to heat the cabin of the electric cars. Some electric cars instead use an auxiliary heating system like the gasoline-fuel units manufactured by Webasto or Eberspacher systems used in the Citroen Berlingo Electric but do this against the “zero emissions” or “green” credentials. Solar power is also used to add the cabin cooling or by the outside air flowing through the car. Toyota Prius has these two last features.

 Safety of electric cars

An international standard ISO 6469 document is used to deal with the safety issues of BEVs. This document is divided into three parts dealing with specific issues like

  1. on-board electrical energy storage, i.e. the battery,
  2. protection against failures and functional safety means
  3. protection of persons against electrical hazards

Electrical cars fire risk

Electric cars batteries can catch fire just like the batteries of their counterparts’ internal combustion engine after a crash or mechanical failure. Incidences of fire have occurred in plug-in electric car. The first of such incidence happened in China in May 2012 after a high car speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen, and the second occurred in October 1st , 2013 in the United States when a Tesla Model S caught fire over ten minutes after hitting a metal debris on a high way in Kent, Washington state. This occurred because one of the 16 modules within the battery was punctured by the metal debris during the impact. Another was reported the same month two weeks later on the 18th of October, 2013 in Merida, Mexico. The Merida case happened because the car was driving at high speed through a roundabout and crashed through a wall and into a tree.

Manufacturers are putting in a lot of effort to reduce the mass of the electric car as much as possible to improve its range and endurance. But the batteries of these cars always make them heavier than comparable diesel cars. Though this is an advantage when it comes to collision because occupants in heavier cars get more protection.

Many electric cars use low rolling resistance tires that typically offer less grip than normal tires.

Because they produce less noise than internal combustion engines cars, visually impaired or blind people or even distracted pedestrians might just head right into them unnoticeably.