Electric Car Facts


There are different types of electric cars.  All electric cars use an electric motor.  Electric hybrids use a combination of an internal combustion engine and and electric motor to propel the car. Energy may be stored in a car in the form of gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, hydrogen, batteries, ultracapacitors, flywheels or compressed air.  This energy is then recovered and converted to mecanical energy by a motor which uses the appropriate energy source.  Cars that use rechargeable batteries only do not emit pollution.  Electric cars charged from a coal fired grid are still more efficient and produce less pollution than gas engines.  Electric cars come in all sizes and performance.  Generally, lighter more aerodynamic cars perform better.


Batteries can be used until they are dead just like gas tanks can be run empty.  It is good to watch the gauge and refill them before this happens. Car batteries are recharged just like cell phone batteries.  It typically takes overnight to charge a battery.  They should not be charged faster than in 3 hours.  However, they can be charged as fast as 20 minutes, but then they don't last as long and special charge stations are needed.  Charging overnight can be done with any normal electric outlet.  Charging in 3 hours requires a 220 Volt Dryer or Stove Plug.  Most parking lots in colder climates have normal plug-ins.  In Vancouver many private parking lots such as restaurants and parking garages may have plug ins.  The infrastructure exists now, it needs to be identified and publicized.  Batteries can be exchanged.  In Nepal over 400 small electric buses exchange their batteries twice a day and operate continuously. 


The range of most electric cars is plenty for daily city needs so a second car is not needed, unless you travel long distances regularily. A hybrid electric car can go unlimited distances.  According to Statistic Canada the average Canadian commutes 7.5 Km each way to work and over 10 million commute less than 50 Km / day.  Delivery truck drivers average 200 Km in an eight hour day.  The range of electric cars varies from 50 Km to over 200 Km.  100 Km is typical.  Range is affected by weight, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, energy management driving habits and  accessories.  If a battery is run until almost dead, simply recharge it at the nearest electric outlet, which is usually any nearby house or building.  There are more electric outlets in Vancouver than gas stations in the world


Electric cars can go very fast.  The current record 1/4 mile drag race for electric cars is about 8.8 seconds and 230 KPH.  Three cars nearing production have acceleration of 0 to 100 Kph in about 5-7 seconds (Similar to a Ferrari or Corvette) and 1/4 mile in about 16 seconds and 130 KPH.  This is because electric motors have very high torque.  Cars that are designed with the batteries low have excellent cornering.


The price of an EV is set by market factors not cost.  For equivalent production volumes battery EVs should be cheaper because they have many fewer parts.  This also means they are cheaper to maintain.  Only the cost of battery replacement every 3-5 years is about $3000.  They are less expensive to operate by a factor of ten over gasoline.  Hybrids get about double the fuel efficiency of regular cars.


EVs are equally as safe as similar sized cars.  Due to the low energy density of batteries and significance of weight to range, many electric cars are small.  Hybrids come in all sizes including SUVs and Trucks.  The batteries can use up some cargo space depending on the design of the car.  Batteries are either heavy or expensive and last longer.


Most major car manufacturers now sell hybrid cars.  Due to California laws most manufacturers made a few battery electric cars until this year when the laws were relaxed.  A few small car companies are starting to design and sell a variety of electric cars.  The industry is changing.  Crash testing is the only expensive limitation.


The benefits of EVs include less air pollution, quieter, and lower cost to operate.  They are potentially more reliable due to fewer parts and mature technology (140 years).  They have similar power and the smaller EVs may be more maneuverable in traffic and be easier to park.


EVs are similar to normal cars in comfort, road handling, safety, performance, durability and sturdiness, and repair.  It is not practical to use solar energy to recharge but wind mills have been used. 

Do you have a place to park and plug in an EV at home as a second or only car ?

Do you have a parking space with a plug-in that other EVs could use?  If so where?