Electric vehicles are becoming more popular across the globe. While there are many reasons this is true, the vast improvement of the cars themselves is certainly a primary motivator.
One simple reason more people are buying electric cars globally these days is that they are readily available.
People are more exposed to EVs than they were just a few years ago. This is because many more models are available in many parts of the world. Most of these models are much more compelling than they once were. This development has brought about curiosity in the minds of car owners who are not familiar with electric vehicles as their heart yearns to know more about electric cars. Continue reading to understand how electric cars work.
As its name suggests, electric vehicles rely on electric batteries rather than gasoline or diesel to provide the energy required for movement. Electrical energy is drawn from a large and rechargeable battery and sent through a series of components before reaching an electric motor or motors that power the wheel moving the vehicle.
Before electricity can reach the motor, several things need to happen. The direct current (DC) produced by the battery must be changed to alternating current(AC) and the correct amount of power must be transferred to the motor to maintain the desired speed. These goals are achieved with the two essential components of electric vehicles, the potentiometers, and the controller.
There are two main types of electric vehicles which are battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES (BEV)
Battery electric vehicles compared to an internal combustion engine, battery electric vehicles have approximately 99% fewer moving parts that need maintenance. It doesn’t burn fossils fuels; instead, it uses rechargeable batteries. It also does not have exhaust, spark plugs, clutch or gears. The typical charging time for a battery-electric vehicle can range from 30 minutes to more than 12 hours. This all depends on the speed of the charging station and the size of the battery.
PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES(PHEV)
Rather than relying solely on an electric motor, hybrid vehicles offer a mixture of battery and petrol (or diesel) power. This makes them better for travelling long distances as you can switch to traditional fuels rather than having to find charge points to top up the battery. The same disadvantages that apply to combustion engine vehicles also apply to PHEV’S, such as the need for more maintenance, engine noise, emissions and the cost of petrol. PHEVs also have smaller battery packs, which means a reduced range.
BASIC COMPONENTS OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
POTENTIOMETERS: Potentiometers are a type of variable resistor; they can resist the current flow through an electrical circuit to a greater or lesser extent. In an electric vehicle, they are connected to the accelerator pedal by cable. When the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, the more pressure they apply, the less resistance the potentiometers apply. Electric vehicles have two potentiometers which ensure a vehicle come to a gradual stop rather than lose control on high speed.
THE CONTROLLER: As its name suggests, the controller ultimately controls how much electrical energy reaches the motor of an electric vehicle. The controller reads how much pressure has been applied to the accelerator pedal by receiving data from the two potentiometers.
BATTERY(ALL-ELECTRIC AUXILLARY): In most electric drive vehicles, the auxiliary battery provides electricity for start-up and to power vehicle accessories like the clock. This is not to be confused with the main traction battery pack.
CHARGE PORT: The stored energy in a battery cannot last forever and it needs to be recharged from time to time. This is where the charge port comes into play. It allows the EV to be connected to an external power supply.
DC/DC CONVERTER: Typically, the traction battery pack will have a higher voltage than many other components in the car. This device converts the higher-voltage DC into lower-voltage DC for safe use.
ELECTRIC TRACTION MOTOR: Since the electric vehicle is expected to move at some point, a means is needed to convert electricity into rotational force to move the wheels. This is where the traction motor comes in. Some vehicles also have energy regeneration functions at the wheels, too to recoup some of the lost energy.
ONBOARD CHARGER: As electricity from external sources is typically AC, this device converts it into DC for use in charging the battery. It is also used to monitor battery characteristics such as voltage, current, temperature and state of charge while charging the pack.
POWER ELECTRONICS CONTROLLER: This device actively manages the flow of electrical energy delivered to the battery and controls the speed of the electric traction motor (not to mention the torque it generates.
THERMAL COOLING SYSTEM: This system maintains the proper operating temperature range of the engine, electric motor, power electronics and other components.
TRACTION BATTERY PACK: This is the fuel tank of the electric vehicle and is the source of all electricity used to run most of the other components in the vehicle.
ELECTRICAL TRANSMISSION: This device transfers mechanical power from the traction motor to drive the EV’s wheels.
In the real world, the range is one of the biggest concerns for electric vehicles, but it is something that is being addressed by the industry. These vehicles are slowly creeping into the Nigerian automotive market. Hyundai Motors is on the verge of introducing a fully electric vehicle into the Nigerian market.
Would you buy one, what are constraints you envisage to owning one?
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