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Electric Cars: How Do They Work?

electric car

Thanks to the likes of the pioneering car brand Tesla, electric cars sales continue to grow at an astonishing rate with the trend to continue into the 2020s.

Other major manufacturers are well following up with their own models, and driving down prices.

So before you dive-in into this car trend, it is still important to know how they work.

This will give you a better understanding of the car you are planning to buy. Additionally, you would be better at troubleshooting your vehicle or choosing the right type and model because they all aren’t the same, and that’s a good thing.

Making The Electric Engine Work

The first thing to figure out is how these kinds of cars work. Basically, you have an engine that runs on electricity. Instead of a combustion engine, which is found on traditional cars that run on fuel, it has an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by the rechargeable batteries stored in the vehicles. These batteries are charged at a designated charged point.

The great thing about electric cars is how light it feels to drive. This may be due to the faster rate of acceleration as compared to other vehicles that have fuel engines. Another great thing about electric cars is the lack of exhaust because it runs on electricity and no fuel is burned while it is driven.

Charging The Electric Cars

With traditional fuel-engine vehicles, you need to fill up your tank with fuel so you can run your vehicle. That’s also similar to electric cars. However, you don’t get fuel in your tank but you get electricity and store it in the rechargeable batteries. You can plug-in your vehicle in public charging stations so you don’t have to be afraid of running out of electricity when you’re out. Another great thing about electric cars is that you aren’t limited to charging them in public charging stations. You can also easily charge them at home.

The Electric Vehicle Range

One of the common questions and main concerns of people is how far electric cars can travel before it runs out of electricity. Well, that depends on the model you own. There are different electric car models and they are fitted with different battery sizes and efficiencies.

They are also fitted with different engines. Moreover, the range may also depend on the weight of your vehicle and how much energy the motor needs to use to push the wheels to turn and run.

Types Of Electric Cars

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are different types of electric cars. Some will only run on electricity while there are also others that can run on both electricity and fossil fuels.

They are classified into three different types.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs are very common and they have been around for decades already but the spotlight on them shone with the Toyota Prius, which was introduced in 1997.

It is one of the most popular hybrid vehicles. Along with Toyota, other car brands like Ford, Kia, and Hyundai also offer hybrid electric cars.

This type of electric vehicle, like the name implies, combines the use of a conventional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. The main engine that works here is the combustion engine and the electric motor simply provides assistance. The main goal of having an electric motor with this type of electric car is to improve fuel economy.

Hybrid vehicles aren’t recharged, they get recharged through regenerative braking systems, and through the use of the combustion engines. What makes hybrids so attractive is their lower cost of ownership as compared to other traditional cars.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The second type of electric vehicles is what is called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. Compared to hybrid vehicles, the battery of the PHEVs are much larger and they are plugged-in to recharge. Their electric motor also does most of the work that is why they have bigger ones than hybrid electric vehicles.

With larger batteries and engines, these cars are capable of propelling the vehicle without assistance from combustion engines for long periods of time. Some of the known car brands that produce PHEVs are Ford, Honda, and Chrysler.

For those who are looking for a better range than the hybrid electric vehicles, the PHEVs are a great option. They can be used for long-distance drives on electricity but are still versatile enough to run on gasoline when there are no charging stations available. There is also an option to run entirely on electricity as long as the car is driven within its range. The combustion engine just acts as a back-up when it is needed.

While it is best to use the electric engine so charging the car as often as possible is advised, you can still use it as a hybrid electric car. In case you forgot to charge it, it will use the combustion engine and recharge the batteries as a hybrid would.

Battery Electric Vehicles

Lastly, we have the battery electric vehicles or the BEVs. These may also be known as electric vehicles because they are fully powered by the batteries. They have a full-electric drivetrain and are very simple. Due to the fewer number of moving parts, they require much less maintenance as compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles.

This helps owners save on maintenance expenses, which could pile up over time. The only limitation of electric vehicles is that they depend on the battery to run. That’s why they need to be recharged quickly and often to use them efficiently.

Tax And Eco-Friendly Cars

eco-friendly car incentives

Over the years eco-friendly like those of the Hybrid variety have made a consistently good case that they can save owners money in the long-term with reduced costs at the fuel pump.  On top of that they help the environment through lower emissions.

However, their benefits don’t stop there.

They can also offer financial incentives for owners throughout the year. Nowadays, most states have hybrids and electric cars easily accessible and affordable.

Although some people might be surprised at just how much eco-friendly car costs, the long-term financial benefits can outweigh that price. Plus, it also provides long-term environmental incentives, which is why many consider it as an investment.

Tax Incentives

One benefit that people who buy eco-friendly cars have is tax deductions. With it, the government hopes to encourage more people to choose eco-friendly vehicles instead of combustion engine vehicles. Taxpayers in the US can experience tax refunds and lower income taxes due to this incentive.

Energy Laws For Tax Incentives Of Eco-Friendly Car Buyers

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows taxpayers who bought new hybrid cars to have an income tax credit for up to $3400. However, this is limited to those who purchased the new vehicles from January 1, 2006, up to December 30, 2010.

The Energy Independence and Security Act is another law that was passed in 2007. This policy includes plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles in the tax-saving incentives. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was also passed. Rather than affecting personal tax incentives, this act is more focused on the infrastructure affecting eco-friendly vehicles. This act has affected various aspects including alternative fuel, diesel engines, and electric vehicles. Some states even allow hybrid cars to pass through carpool lanes even when there are no passengers as an added incentive.

Incentives For Those In California

California is one of the states that offers great incentives for those who have low or zero-emission vehicles. High occupancy vehicle lanes can be used by those who have a minimum of two people inside the vehicle. In California, the eco-friendly vehicles are exempted from this rule. The drivers must also get a special decal so they can travel high occupancy toll roads for free.

Various cities like Santa Monica, San Jose, and Hermosa beach offer an added incentive such as free parking for eco-friendly vehicles.

Through the Consumer Assistance Program, those who have vehicles that cause much pollution can get an incentive of $1000 to $1500 if they decide to voluntarily retire those cars. Another great incentive for eco-friendly car owners in California is the insurance discount. The insurance discount can range from 10% to 30%.

Incentives For Those In Florida

Just like California, those in Florida can use the high occupancy vehicle lanes even if the only person in the car is the driver, provided that the car is certified by EPA as a low-emission vehicle. Although this doesn’t save money, this does save lots of time for eco-friendly car drivers. Additionally, Florida gives out tax incentives for businesses that own alternative fuel cars. They will receive rebates for owning alternative fuel vehicles.

On top of that, some car insurance companies also provide discounts. However, this would vary from one provider to another. The discount will also range from 10% to 30%.