Electric Cars: How Do They Work?

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.

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