It appears electric vehicles are becoming a prominent part of the new and greener world we are gradually entering. However, can the electric vehicle really reshape the future as more environmentally and economically sustainable? Let’s explore the world of electric vehicles together!
What is an electric car?
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). These vehicles are powered only by an electric motor and charged from an external source of electric power. They are zero emissions vehicles.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). These vehicles also run on an electric motor but combine a fuel or diesel engine. These vehicles are therefore driven by either power source; fuel or electricity. When in electricity-only mode they too emit zero emissions.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). Similar to PHEVs, these vehicles also have an electric motor/battery but one that is smaller and charged by braking or cruising. These vehicles cannot be plugged in and charged and are often referred to as ‘self-charging hybrids.’ When in electric-only mode they emit zero emissions.
How does an electric car work?
The battery pack located within the vehicle powers an electric motor that turns the wheels of the car. The electric motor distinguishes these vehicles from fuel vehicles which operate via an internal combustion engine.
What makes an electric car different to a regular, fuel car?
Because an electric vehicle runs on electricity the vehicle emits zero exhausts or harmful emissions from a tailpipe. An EV also lacks any of the typical liquid fuel components, such as a fuel tank, found in a gasoline car.
What are the other key differences between an EV and a fuel car?
- The health benefits: An EV does not emit the same harmful pollutants into the air that contribute to and/or exacerbate dangerous respiratory health conditions.
- EVs provide fuel savings and lower maintenance costs. Electricity is cheaper than fuel, and EVs are more efficient than fuel cars. Moreover, the fact that fewer working parts make up an EV means less components are likely to break down or need replacing.
- Unlike a fuel car that can only be topped up at a petrol station, you can charge your EV at home, workplace or even when shopping. The ability of an EV to recharge almost anywhere with a charging point adds a level of convenience to this product.
- Despite the lack of a revving engine, an EV can accelerate as fast as (and even outperform) fuel cars. A traditional combustion engine takes longer to get power to the wheels, whereas an electric motor is much simpler, resulting in instant acceleration.
Points to consider when opting for an electric vehicle
Before becoming an EV convert, it is important to consider the following when thinking of making such an investment:
- There is a shortage of charging stations but the number of places to charge an EV is growing rapidly. For those fortunate enough to have access to off-street parking, drivers can utilise private charging points to top up their EVs.
- Although more efficient to run than fuel cars, the battery capacity of an EV will limit the distance the car can be driven between charges. In terms of battery replacement, however, newer models are predicted to have a battery life that will last 10-20 years before the need to be replaced.
Electric car usage in the UK
Before the market launch of mass-produced EVs in 2010, only 1,096 EVs were registered in the UK between 2006 and 2010. As of December 2019, the UK had the second-largest European stock of plug-in vehicles in use after Norway.
Just how electric are Britain’s roads?
- By the end of May 2021 there were approximately 260,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads.
- More than 535,000 plug-in models (including plug-in hybrids) were also on British roads by the end of May 2021.
- According to 2021 statistics, the best-selling EV in the UK with more than 31,000 vehicles sold is the Nissan Leaf.
What makes an electric car ‘green’?
- Reduction of local air pollution, especially in cities. The electric model of the average midsize car outperforms its fuel-powered counterpart in terms of being better for the environment.
- Have a smaller carbon footprint than fuel-powered cars, no matter where the electricity comes from. The greener the source of electricity, such as from renewables, the cleaner and greener the EV.
- Since EVs are more efficient in converting energy to power cars, electricity across the board is cleaner and cheaper as a power source for vehicles.
What does the future of electric cars look like?
- We are seeing an exciting shift to electric public transport. The UK government announced £120m worth of funding for electric buses in March 2021. The multi-million-pound scheme will enable local transport authorities to roll out zero-emission buses as the government continues to build a greener Britain.
- According to investment bank UBS, 20% of all new cars sold globally will be electric by the year 2025. By 2030, this figure will leap to 40%, and by 2040, all new cars sold across the world will run on electricity instead of fossil fuels.
- Based on statistics from BloombergNEF, electric cars will be cheaper to produce than fossil fuel vehicles by 2027. EVs, however, are currently much cheaper to buy and more affordable in the long run compared to fuel cars.
- Manufactures are figuring out ways to repurpose and/or recycle an EV battery once it has hit retirement age. One idea includes repurposing EV batteries to power homes and buildings!