2008 saw a revolution in electric vehicle manufacturing occurred due to advancement in batteries, concerns about increasing oil prices, and the desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Several national and local governments have established tax credits, subsidies, and other incentives to promote the introduction and adoption in the mass market of new electric vehicles depending on battery size and their all-electric range.
What is an Electric Car?
An electric car is an automobile that puts out no emissions and is propelled by one or more electric motor, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries. The first practical electric cars were produced in the 1880s. Electric cars gained popularity in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Compared with cars having internal combustion (IC) engines, electric cars are quieter and have no tailpipe emissions. When recharged by low-emission electrical power sources, electric vehicles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to IC engines. Where oil is imported, use of electric vehicles can reduce imports.
Recharging usually takes up to an hour, with constant improvements going on this field. A major identified disadvantage could be inadequate recharging infrastructure. Battery cost limits range and increases purchase cost over IC vehicles, but it is also declining. Drivers sometimes suffer from range anxiety- the fear that the batteries will be depleted before reaching their destination. In many respects, especially because of range, charging time, and unavailability of charging infrastructure, people who own electric vehicles use them as a secondary vehicle, with petroleum-powered vehicles being their primary mode of transportation. This notion might change with the improvements in technology.
Related: Upcoming Electric cars in India
How Electric Car Works?
The electric vehicle’s power source is the battery which acts as a “gas tank” and supplies the electric motor with the energy necessary to move the vehicle. This gives the car acceleration. When the vehicle is idle there is no electrical current being processed, so energy is not being used up. The controller acts as a regulator and controls the amount of power received from the batteries so the motor does not burn out.
The battery powers all of the electronic devices in the car, just like the battery in a gas-powered car. Everything else in the electric car is basically the same as its gas-powered equivalent: transmission, brakes, air conditioning, and airbags. Since electric vehicles use an electric motor, the driver can take advantage of the motor’s momentum when pressure is applied on the brakes. Instead of converting all the potential energy in the motor into heat like a fossil fuel-powered car does, an electric car uses the forward momentum of the motor to recharge the battery. This process is called regenerative braking – regenerating energy and power from momentum.
Advantages of Electric Cars
There are many environmental benefits and personal benefits of having an electric car:
- Most electric motors can travel up to 150 – 180 km before they need to be charged
- No tail pipe exhaust means no greenhouse gases such as CO2, NOx, and PM10s
- No oil consumption means less reliance on fuel
- Cars can be recharged whenever is convenient to the user
- More cost-effective than regular cars because of long-lasting battery use
- Cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts
- Creates less noise pollution because the engine is silent
- Emission: At first sight, electric cars are completely green cars: sometimes they’re even referred to as ZEVs (zero-emission vehicles).
- Efficiency: Electric cars are considerably more efficient than gasoline cars because electric motors are inherently more efficient than internal combustion engines, which waste a high proportion of the fuel they burn as useless heat.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy An Electric Car?
Purchase cost: As of 2013, electric cars are significantly more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles due to the cost of their battery pack. However, battery prices are coming down about 8% per annum with mass production, and are expected to drop further as competition increases.
Battery first Cost: Tesla Motors uses laptop-size cells for a cost of about $200 per kilowatt hour. Based on the three battery size options offered for the Tesla Model S, The New York Times estimated the cost of automotive battery packs between US$400 to US$500 per kilowatt-hour.
A 2013 study reported that battery costs came down from US$1,300 per kilowatt hour in 2007 to US$500 per kilowatt hour in 2012. McKinsey estimates that electric cars are competitive at a battery pack cost of $100/kWh (around 2030), and expects pack costs to be $190/kWh by 2020.
Electricity cost: The cost of charging the battery depends on the cost of electricity. According to Nissan, the operating electricity cost of the Leaf in the UK is 1.75 pence per mile (1.09 p/km) when charging at an off-peak electricity rate, while a conventional petrol-powered car costs more than 10 pence per mile (6.21 p/km). These estimates are based on a national average of British Petrol Economy 7 rates as of January 2012 and assumed 7 hours of charging overnight at the night rate and one hour in the daytime charged at the Tier-2 daytime rate.
Battery depreciation: Much of the mileage-related cost of an electric vehicle is depreciation of the battery pack. To calculate the cost per kilometer of an electric vehicle it is therefore necessary to assign a monetary value to the wear incurred on the battery.The Tesla Roadster’s battery pack is expected to last seven years with typical driving and costs US$12,000 when pre-purchased today.
Total cost of ownership: A 2010 report, by J.D. Power and Associates states that it is not entirely clear to consumers the total cost of ownership of battery electric vehicles over the life of the vehicle, and “there is still much confusion about how long one would have to own such a vehicle to realize cost savings on fuel, compared with a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). The resale value of HEVs and BEVs, as well as the cost of replacing depleted battery packs, are other financial considerations that weigh heavily on consumers’ minds.”
Electric Cars in India
- Mahindra e20 Plus
- Mahindra E Verito
- Small Toyota EV
- Renault Kwid EV
- Mahindra KUV100 EV
- Mahindra XUV500 EV
- Tata Tigor EV
- Tata Tiago EV
Related: Mahindra To Launch 3 New EVs in 2020