Fundamentally, cars haven’t changed in 100 years. The next few decades are set to transform them, from polluting gas-guzzlers to pure electric automobiles. The future of motoring is electric. (For more interesting facts visit My Car Needs This)
There is even a deadline for this future: from 2040, no new car powered by a petrol or diesel engine will be allowed in developed countries – and this includes plug-in hybrids. No petrol car will be legally allowed on sale.
If this wasn’t enough of a stretch goal, there have recently been calls to bring it forward to 2030. Some are so convinced of the electric future that they want to guarantee your next car will be electric.
What is an electric car
The wholesale transformation of the private car is going to happen before our eyes, and the revolution is already underway in British showrooms. At their most straightforward, they are conventional cars, from which the engine, gearbox, fuel tank and other complex mechanical items have been stripped.
In their place comes an electric motor, power control system and a battery pack. Electric cars are thus genuinely zero-emission vehicles or ZEVs. They are cars you can drive with a clear conscience.
Why The Incessant Demand For Electric Cars
Inner-city pollution is a hot topic at the moment, and electric cars are the automotive industry’s single most effective answer to this. Many city mayors across the world are planning regulations that will ban all vehicles apart from ZEVs from their roads.
London mayor Sadiq Khan wants a zero-emissions zone in central London by 2025. Where London leads, others will soon follow. Right now, electric cars form part of Britain’s booming Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) market.
Difference Between EVs, AFVs, ZEVs And PHEVs Explained
Included within this classification are all types of future-proofed powertrains, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But the fastest-growing AFV at the moment is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV. They’re also called electriﬁed cars, to differentiate them from fully electric machines.
These combine combustion engines – usually petrol, although diesel PHEVs do exist – with electric motors and battery packs. The batteries aren’t as large as in a full EV, meaning the range is generally limited to around 30 miles or so.
But the combustion engine kicks in seamlessly once the batteries have run low – they’re a great way to drive an electric car on short journeys, without the inconvenience for when you need to undertake longer journeys.
EVs will assert their superiority over PHEVs – but for now, a plug-in hybrid is the perfect interim step for motorists. Whether it’s a full EV or a PHEV, chances are there’s a viable electriﬁed car on the market for you right now. There has never been a better time to make the switch.
Pros And Cons Of An Electric Car
Few moving parts: An electric car is far simpler than conventional petrol or diesel car. They sound futuristic, but there are actually far fewer moving parts within them.
Their batteries are sealed for life: They’re usually guaranteed for eight or so years – and the motors are ultra-reliable, requiring minimal servicing.
Less effort: Charge is stored in the batteries and this powers the motor. You don’t have to worry about changing gear, as electric cars are always automatic – some of them have simple gearboxes with just a few ratios, while others use altered versions of today’s conventional automatic gearboxes.
Less noise: They’re simplicity itself to use. Simply press the ‘power on’ button, select Drive, and glide silently away. There’s no starter motor noise, no roar from the engine; just a genuine soothing silence. The most you’ll hear as you gather speed is a whine from the electric motor, but even this only adds to the space-age effect.
For some carmakers, one of the biggest challenges with electric cars is making the rest of the vehicle reﬁned enough to match this newfound running quietness.
Fast response: Another beneﬁt of driving an electric car is the instantaneous response. Far from being slow, it’s the instant torque you get from an electric car that surprises many. An electric motor delivers all its oomph from a standstill, rather than progressively with increasing revs like a combustion engine.
Add in the delay you get from many modern turbocharged engines, and the effect is magniﬁed. An electric car will scurry away from the instant you press the accelerator pedal – and if it’s a powerful electric car such as a Tesla (which is owned by one of the greatest innovators of all time—Elon Musk), it’s genuine pin-you into-your-seat stuff. Some roller coasters have nothing on the most powerful EVs.
All this doesn’t come without its downsides, though. Inevitably, you have to consider ‘range anxiety’ when discussing electric cars.
Battery: They have a ﬁnite range for their batteries, which will naturally be exhausted more quickly if you drive faster.
Refilling: And whereas you can reﬁll a conventional car at a ﬁlling station in minutes,
recharging an EV can take many hours. The UK has a fast-developing quick-charge network, but even using one of these demands 30-45 minutes for a full battery charge.
Very expensive: PHEVs are more affordable than long-range electric cars, too. Currently, it’s cheaper to install an engine than it is the multiple battery cells needed to cover high miles.
Charging units: New recharging points are being added at a rate of several hundred per week, but they’re still not sufﬁciently widespread to give total reassurance. What’s more, installation is focusing on city centres.
Recharging points are very thin on the ground as you move away from densely populated areas and motorways, and the perils of being stranded are much higher. This means EVs are simply not yet viable for a signiﬁcant proportion of the population
There is not an ounce of doubt that electric cars have come to stay, plus owing to the fact that electric cars have zero emissions and is more than eco-friendly with several other benefits we have listed above. It has become very glaring that the automotive industry trend is leaning towards full electric.
Image credit: Electric Cars via Smile Fight/Shutterstock