Electric Vehicles: The Rising Technology

Electric Vehicles often referred to as EV’s are vehicles that are either partially or fully powered by electricity. These are electric power-driven vehicles and they may use more than one electric motor for propulsion. Electric vehicles broadly include electric cars, electric trains, electric trucks, electric lorries, electric aeroplanes, electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters, and electric spacecraft.

History of EVs.

Explaining the complete history of EVs is not feasible in a single blog post. SO this one is just a brief introduction to it. EVs first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. Internal combustion engines were the main propulsion method for cars and trucks for about a century, but electric power remained common in other vehicle types, such as trains.

In the 21st century, EVs have reappeared due to technological developments, and an increased focus on renewable energy They have the potential to reduce transportation’s impact on climate change and other environmental issues. Project Drawdown describes electric vehicles as one of the 100 best contemporary solutions for addressing climate change.

Types of Electric Vehicles:

Types of EVs

Different types of electric vehicles changed and are developed continuously giving users a variety of options. In the 21st century, EVs can be broadly classified into four types BEV, HEV, PHEV and FCEV. Let’s understand what all these terms actually mean.

BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles)

Battery Electric Vehicles, also called BEVs are completely electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries and no gasoline engine. The energy to run the vehicle completely comes from the battery pack which is recharged from the grid. These electric cars do not have an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). BEVs are zero-emissions vehicles, as they do not generate any harmful tailpipe emissions or air pollution hazards caused by traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or HEVs, consists of both a gas-powered engine and an electric motor for propulsion. All energy for the battery is gained through regenerative braking, which recovers the energy lost in braking to assist the gasoline engine during acceleration. In traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, this braking energy is normally lost as heat in the brake pads and rotors. The difference between HEV compared to BEV is that the batteries in HEV can only be charged by the ICE, the rotational motion of the wheels or their combination. There is no charging port so that the battery cannot be recharged from outside of the system, for example from the electricity grid.

PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, have both a gasoline engine and electric motor to drive the car. Like regular hybrids, they can recharge their battery through energy gained by regenerative braking. They differ from regular hybrids as they have a much larger battery, and being able to plug into the grid to recharge. While regular hybrids can (at low speed) travel 2-3 km before the ignition, PHEVs can go for about 15-60 km before using their gas engines. Once the electric power is depleted, PHEVs act as regular hybrids, and can travel several hundred km on one tank of gasoline.

FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles)

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), also known as fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) or Zero Emission Vehicle, are types of electric cars that employ fuel cell technology (A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity through an electrochemical reaction instead of combustion of fuel) to generate the electricity required to run the vehicle. In this type of vehicle, the chemical energy of the fuel is converted directly into electric energy.

Advantages od Electric Vehicles:

  • EVs are set to enable a 40% cut in CO2 emissions, which may play big role in reducing the overall negative environmental impact.
  • The fuel price of EVs can be as low as 1 to 1.5 Rs/ km (estimated) which is much lower than around 9 Rs/km or petrol, 6 Rs/km for diesel and 2.5 Rs/km for CNG.
  • In 2019-20 alone, India imported crude oil worth 120 billion dollars. This BoP (Balance of Payment) can be significantly reduced by using EVs.

Challenges in front of EV technology:

Electric Vehicles Tesla

Electric vehicles have low running costs as they have fewer moving parts for maintenance and they may prove environment friendly as they use little or no fossil fuels (petrol or diesel) directly. However, they may use fossil fuels indirectly. For e.g. in most developing countries electric power is generated by burning coal. While some EVs used lead-acid or nickel-metal hydride batteries, the current standard for batteries is lithium-ion batteries as they have greater longevity and are excellent at retaining energy, with a self-discharge rate of just 5% per month. Despite this improved efficiency, these batteries can experience thermal runaway, which has caused fires or explosions in the Tesla Model S. Although, efforts have been made to improve the safety of these batteries.

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