What are electric cars?
Electric cars, also known as electric vehicles (EVs), are vehicles powered by one or more electric traction motors that use the energy stored in batteries to operate.
Unlike internal combustion vehicles, they are not dependent on burning fossil fuels; they instead use electricity to propel themselves. This makes them a more sustainable option that’s environmentally friendly.
The future of the automotive industry is thought to be the ACES model: autonomous, connected, electric, and shared.
When did electric cars come about?
Contrary to the popular misconception, electric cars are older than combustion cars. While precedence is disputed, it is clear that the earliest electric vehicle models were developed at the beginning of the 19th century, but we had to wait until 1859 for the arrival of lead-acid batteries and the manufacture of cars that were usable.
Though they enjoyed a certain popularity in the United States and Europe, this was related more to their curious, fun character for the elites than any real utility as a means of transportation. The capabilities of these electric vehicles were very limited (low speeds, poor autonomy, etc.), and they were quickly displaced by combustion vehicles.
The turn of the millennium saw a resurgence in electric locomotion. The eagerness to develop new technologies, along with the growing interest in cleaner energy and more sustainable lifestyle habits, pushed car manufacturing companies to revisit the electric vehicle. Since then, advances have been exponential, and the insertion of electric and hybrid cars in everyday life it has quickly gone from a futuristic fantasy to a tangible reality. Today, several countries of the world have very short-term plans to abandon combustion vehicles completely.
How do electric cars work?
The main components of the electric propulsion system are:
- Battery: the heart of the electric vehicle and the engine’s power supply. After the first lead-acid batteries, nickel-iron batteries were used; currently, lithium-ion battery technology has advanced enough to allow performance that makes the transition to an electric vehicle fleet viable.
- Electric motor: converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy to propel the vehicle’s wheels. There are direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) motor engines.
- Electrical control system: an electronic component that regulates the amount of energy delivered to the electric motor. Through the controller, the speed and acceleration of the vehicle are adjusted according to the driver’s actions.
What are the main advantages of electric cars?
The advantages of electric cars are numerous, and that is why we are looking to encourage their adoption. The main benefits include:
- Emissions reduction: by not using fossil fuels, electric vehicles do not emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases during their use, thereby improving air quality and reducing their carbon footprint.
- Reduction of noise pollution: electric motors are much quieter than combustion engines. This noise reduction is especially important in urban areas, where the concentration of vehicles is high, and noise pollution is a problem.
- Lower operating and maintenance costs: electric cars tend to be more efficient in terms of energy consumption; they also require less maintenance, which leads to lower operating costs over time. It is estimated that the price difference between an electric vehicle and a combustion vehicle is compensated for after five years from the date of purchase.
What are the main difficulties that electric cars present?
The consolidation of electric cars is making progress almost daily; however, some of the issues that are still problematic include:
- The initial cost is still higher than that of combustion vehicles, though the compensation point can be reached in a relatively short time.
- Charging infrastructure is still limited, so charging logistics can be difficult, especially when traveling outside usual, everyday circuits.
- The autonomy is still lower than that of combustion vehicles, and the charging times are much longer than the time it takes to fill a fuel tank.