With sustainable energy making its mark globally, electric cars have been receiving a lot of coverage in the news for some time now. However, they have been around for almost 150 years, but how much do we know about this 'new' technology and is it enough to make an informed decision when the opportunity presents itself to buying one?
The Wikipedia description of an electric car is as follows:
"An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries or another energy storage device… " Essentially,it is a car that runs on electric motors, that uses stored electricity eitherin rechargable batteries or other energy storage pack.
Electric Car Sales
As of April 2016, the United States has the largest fleet of plug-inelectric vehicles in the world, and a total of 27,611 plug-in cars were sold during the first quarter of 2016, up almost 20% from the same quarter in 2015.
Plug-in Cars in the Retail Market
As of March 2016, there are 26 highway legal plug-in cars available in the American market for retail sales.12 being all-electric cars and 14 being plug-in hybrids.
By the end of the year, approximately 10 more models are expected to be introduced, most of these being plug-in hybrids.
Up to 80% of battery energy is directly transferred to poweran electric car compared to up to 26% or as little as 14% of fuel-driven vehicles, making electric cars a highly efficient mode of transport.
Under the hood, an electric car's motor contains a couple of moving parts; an internal combustion engine contains hundreds. So there's not much there that needs repairing or replacing. Furthermore, an electric car's brake pads tend to last longer due to the use of regenerative braking that converts the braking energy into power and stored in the battery.
Ultimately, it is the external parts of an electric car suchas the tyres and windscreen wiper blades that would need replacing before anyof the internal parts need attention, and even then, replacing these are arelatively simple exercise.
While the overall maintenance of an electric car is minimal, the biggest expense lies in the battery. The array of power cells that make up a typical lithium-ion battery is complex, and the main reason for the high cost of electric cars.
The typical lifespan of anelectric car’s battery is approximately 8 years/160,000km.
As with any electrically charged device, a battery gradually loses its ability to hold a charge, eventually fading and needing to be replaced. But battery prices have decreased dramatically over the years and may continue to do so as the technology advances.