What is an electric vehicle?

Electric Vehicles

An electric vehicle is a type of vehicle in which the engine is replaced by an electric motor for propulsion. It is mostly driven with the help of a self-containing battery, solar panel or electric generator.

The EV’s were first introduced in the mid 19th century, due to its ease of operation and comfort. EVs are not limited to, road and rail vehicles, but are also used in surface and underwater vessels, electric aircraft and electric spacecraft.

Commonly, the term EV is used to refer to an electric car. In the 21st century, due to technological developments, EVs saw a resurgence, and an increased focus on renewable energy.

A great deal of demand for electric vehicles developed and a small core of do-it-yourself engineers began sharing technical details for doing electric vehicle conversions. Government incentives to increase adoptions were introduced, including in the United States and the European Union.

As of 2015, more than 500,000 highway-capable all-electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles had been sold worldwide since 2008, out of total global sales of about 850,000 light-duty plug-in electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are expected to increase from 2% of the global share in 2016 to 22% in 2030. Cumulative global sales of all-electric cars and vans passed the 1 million unit milestone in September 2016.

Classification of EV’s

  • Hybrid Electric vehicle
    • Mild hybrid electric vehicle
    • Full hybrid electric vehicle
      • Series hybrid EV
      • Parallel hybrid EV
      • Series parallel hybrid EV
      • Complex hybrid EV
Next Generation of EVs & HVs – Electric And Hybrid Vehicles News
  • Plug-in hybrid EV
  • All Electric vehicle
    • Battery electric vehicle
  • Fuel cell electric vehicle

Hybrid Electric vehicles

Text Box: Plug-in hybrid EV : BMW i8

The hybrid Electric vehicles are usually powered by the Internal combustion engine (ICe) and there is an electric motor which is for the only purpose of either producing extra power or for cruising. By doing so the efficiency of the vehicle is increased and also increasing its mileage. The battery present in a hybrid vehicle is usually either chargeable through a plug-in socket as in the case of a plug-in hybrid EV or is charged with the help of ICe and regenerative braking as in the case of mild or full hybrid electric EV.

All-Electric vehicles

Unlike the hybrid electric vehicle, the All-electric vehicle or also called battery-electric vehicles do not have ICe and is solely driven by the batteries. The propulsion of the vehicle is maybe done with the help of one or multiple motors. The only major drawback from the hybrid electric vehicle is that the range of the all-electric vehicle is shorter.

Why choose EVs?

  • Cheaper to run

Owners of an EV have the advantage of much lower running costs. The electricity to charge an EV works out around a third as much per kilometre as buying petrol for the same vehicle

  • Cheaper to maintain

As there are few moving parts the cost of maintenance is greatly reduced and the only cost for the maintenance are the brakes, tyres and suspension

  • Better for the environment
    • Zero exhaust emissions
    • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Eco-friendly materials used for production
  • Health benefits

Reduced harmful exhaust emissions are good news for our health. Better air quality will lead to fewer health problems and costs caused by air pollution. EVs are also quieter than petrol/diesel vehicles, which means less noise pollution.

The cons of EV’s

  • They have a limited range
  • Long time to charge
  • More expensive to purchase

Differences between ICe and EM

Internal combustion engine Electric motors
Requires more maintenance Requires less maintenance
Produces noise Doesn’t produce noise
Fast refuelling Slow refuelling
Causes pollution in large scale Causes pollution in small scale
Prices of fuel increasing Cheaper to fill up once again

Future of EV’s

The critical part of an EV is the battery. All EVs use lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Limitations of LIBs will prevent widespread adoption of EVs. LIBs are expensive and do not support long-distance travel. The raw materials required to make LIBs are in short supply. The battery consists of hundreds of large lithium-ion cells that use metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese. Major problem is that there are not sufficient lithium and cobalt reserves and most reserves are located in a few countries. Short supply of lithium and cobalt had made then expensive.

All EV dreams depend on the supply of cobalt and lithium. This is a big worry for large players like Tesla and all the countries except China. China has secured a supply of essential metals with purchase of half the cobalt mines in Congo and also other lithium and cobalt mines. With all the raw material supplies China has set up a global battery and EV hub and is the largest EV producer.

Many countries are investing in developing batteries that would replace LIBs. They are trying to reduce the use of Cobalt by replacing it with sulphur, sodium and magnesium. Use of fuel cells is another idea. Due to global rush to set up a large battery manufacturing units, already an enormous surplus production capacity exists. Most firms take the import route, as in India imports 90% of electric scooter components from China. EVs are the future of mobility. India has to take care of two issues. Firstly, to prepare for coming disruption in the automobile industry. Second and most important is that, India should use the next ten years to become a leader in next-generation battery technology. That would be a project worthy of investing our national pride in.

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