Electric cars (EVs) are gaining significant popularity. By 2020, there will be around 1.8 million registered electric cars in the United States—three times the number in 2016. In 2020, an estimated 10.2 million EVs will be sold worldwide.
So why are electric cars gaining popularity? In this article, we’ll address ten of the most frequently asked questions concerning electric cars.
How Do Electric Cars Work?
Unlike conventional cars that run on gasoline to power combustion engines, electric cars operate exactly as their name implies—electronically.
They are equipped with battery packs that are recharged by the grid. These battery packs are composed of thousands of rechargeable lithium-ion battery cells (in most cases). They are capable of storing a significant amount of electrical energy that is used to power the electric motor. Additionally, the batteries require sophisticated cooling systems to maintain the battery’s efficiency, life, and safety.
Surprisingly, electric cars are much simpler than conventional combustion engines. Electric motors are classified into two types: alternating current induction motors and permanent magnet direct current (DC) motors. Permanent-magnet direct current motors are often smaller, lighter, and more efficient at peak current.
Additionally, electric automobiles often feature a single-speed transmission, which allows them to accelerate more quickly than most internal combustion engines.
How Far Are Electric cars Capable of Traveling?
The distance an electric automobile can go is referred to as its “range.” The larger the battery pack, the more energy it can store and the greater the range. The range of the car is expressed in miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
Numerous contemporary electric cars have a range of slightly less than 200 miles on a single charge. Certain models, such as the Tesla Model S, have a range of over 300 miles.
What Happens If the Battery Runs Out?
If the car’s battery runs out, it must be towed to the nearest charging station. This can cause damage to the battery, shortening its life. However, once recharged, the car will resume normal operation.
How Long Will A Battery In An Electric Car Last?
A battery in an electric car should last between 100,000 and 200,000 kilometers. This translates to approximately ten to twenty years. According to Tesla, the Model S battery will lose approximately 5% of its capacity after 50,000 miles. Following this, the battery life will degrade much more slowly.
The majority of electric car manufacturers offer 5- or 8-year or 100,000-mile battery warranties. During this time period, the majority of respectable manufacturers will replace a battery that has degraded to 60-70 percent capacity
There are several things you can do to extend the life of your electric car’s battery:
- Make sure that you get an electric car with superior thermal regulation.
- Avoid excessive fast-charging, as this can affect battery life.
- Charge the charger to 80% of capacity. Overcharging the battery might have a detrimental effect.
- Avoid allowing the battery to reach zero percent capacity.
- Maintaining the battery between 50% and 80% capacity is ideal.
Where Can Electric cars Be Charged?
Electric cars can be recharged at specified charging stations. You can also purchase charging stations for your home, depending on the model, and some companies offer charging equipment that plugs effortlessly to any power outlet. Charging stations are typically available at three or four speeds: 3.7 kW, 7 kW, 22 kW, and 40 kW rapid charging.
The global network of charging stations is expanding at a breakneck pace. There are almost 100,000 charging stations located throughout the continental United States.
How Long Does a Battery Take to Charge?
This is dependent on the battery’s size and the charger’s type. A 60 kWh battery-powered electric car will take around 8 hours to charge using a 7 kW charger.
The majority of household charging stations will be 3.7 kW or 7 kW and will charge at a somewhat sluggish rate (adding 15 or 30 miles per hour of charging, respectively). Additionally, several sites provide fast-charging outlets that charge a battery in less than an hour but may affect battery life if used regularly.
The majority of EV owners will plug their car in every time they park it, allowing the charging station to periodically “top-off” the battery.
Are Batteries for Electric cars Toxic, and Can They Be Recycled?
Lithium-ion batteries contain a number of hazardous compounds that can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment. While they are recyclable, the current global rate of Li-ion battery recycling is less than 5%.
Lithium-ion batteries can be recycled in two ways: through pyrometallurgy, which is less effective and less environmentally friendly, or through hydrometallurgy, which is more expensive but more environmentally beneficial.
Typically, the majority of lithium-ion batteries wind up in landfills—a problem that regulators are working to address before electric cars gain even more traction. Finding a more sustainable energy source may be the best solution to this situation.
Are Electric cars a Fire Risk?
Not always. Electric cars, like internal combustion engine cars, include numerous combustible components. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted research [PDF] and concluded that lithium-ion electric cars have similar, if not lower, fire risks as internal combustion engine cars.
Are Electric cars More Environmentally Friendly Than Conventional cars?
Electric cars emit no toxic exhaust gases and are also more efficient than gasoline-powered automobiles. Additionally, EVs often emit less pollution, despite their reliance on coal-fired power to some extent. For example, the electric Chevrolet Bolt emits 189 grams of carbon dioxide each mile, compared to 385 grams for a gasoline-powered Toyota Camry.
However, their emissions are contingent upon the quality of the electrical infrastructure from which their batteries are recharged. For instance, if a power grid relies entirely on coal-fired power plants, an electric automobile may emit more pollutants than a gasoline car.
Additionally, electric cars require rare earth elements, such as lithium and cobalt, which are environmentally toxic and highly polluting to mine and refine. Cobalt is also strongly associated with human rights concerns, and lithium production requires vast amounts of water.
Thus, while EVs are generally more environmentally friendly than conventional cars, several issues remain unresolved in order to make them more ecologically beneficial.
How Much Do Electric cars Cost to Operate and Maintain?
Due to the fact that electric cars have fewer moving components than conventional cars, they are often less expensive to service. This is due to the fact that there are fewer components to inspect and replace. However, it’s critical to consider additional costs such as the installation of a charging system, replacement batteries in the event of a failure, and the cost of power in comparison to petrol. Service prices will also vary by manufacturer.
The cost of power per mile is determined by the cost of electricity and the efficiency of the electric car. If your battery requires 40 kWh to recharge and the cost of electricity in your area is 15 cents per kWh, that’s a $6.00 fill-up. If your EV, like the Tesla Model 3, has a 24 kWh/50-mile range, a 50-mile drive will cost roughly $3.60.
As electric cars gain popularity, it’s natural for people to have concerns about how they work. Hopefully, we’ve cleared any doubts you may have had regarding EVs!