The technology from Electric vehicles (EV) is drastically cutting emissions and reducing the carbon footprint in the transportation sector. Buildings within urban areas produce more emissions than vehicles. However, vehicles are still the biggest source for city air pollution. This is because buildings and vehicles emit emissions in different ways – the indirect building emissions occur at the power plants not the building itself. Whereas, vehicles release emissions directly into the air.
Even though fossil fuels supply the power to the grid that charges the battery in an EV, emissions are moved away from the cities improving the air quality among the interior of the city streets and buildings.
So other than the obvious environmental benefits, what are some truths about Electric Vehicles?
Electric Vehicles Are Cheaper to Maintain
There are always variables when calculating savings on anything and EVs are no different. However, there are a few constants as well. One fact is that EVs are cheaper to operate than their fossil-fueled counterparts. With the energy provider discounted electricity rates, the average annual savings in the United States of $760 per year.
Other than lower fuel cost – maintenance costs are also less expensive. Since EVs do not have combustion motors, they do not need tune-ups, oil changes, spark plugs, or timing belts. In fact, they only need routine electrical systems and battery performance checks.
Charging Electric Vehicles
Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) need to be charged on a regular basis to get the full benefit of owning an EV. How long it takes to charge the battery is determined by these two main factors –
- Charging Station Features – capacity limits and charging speeds.
- Battery capacity – PEV batteries are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), they range from 4 to 90 kWh depending on the vehicle specifics.
Other than those factors mentioned, there are three classifications of charging stations –
- Level 1 – The weakest of the three to add 40 miles of range a battery will take 8-20 hours to charge.
- Level 2 – This level works best if the vehicle is available for overnight or all day charging times. It charges at a rate of 10 to 30 miles of range per hour charged.
- DC Fast Charge – The most robust of the three normally found in public charging stations designed by electrical engineers to provide a quick charge. The DC Fast Charge provides 100-200 miles of range in just 15 to 45 minutes. Of course, that depends on the capacity, depletion and type of battery in the vehicle.
As EV charging stations are easier to find in metropolitan areas and even some rural areas, it is highly advised to carefully plan your route and charging times in advance before the onset of any long trip. Even though the fuel cost will be reduced, it takes a lot longer to charge a vehicle than simply stop and refuel one.
According to the Energy.gov, EVs are required to meet all safety standard requirements as any other vehicle sold in the US. Some concerns are chemical spillage from a battery and to prevent electrical shock from the high-voltage system have been addressed with protection systems in place.
Another safety concern is with pedestrians. In operation, EVs are silent making it less likely a pedestrian will “hear” the car coming.
As the automakers use the evolutionary advance technology, the future of the EV will be a smarter, more sophisticated and eco-friendly vehicle.
AUTHOR’S BIOMichael Tobias is the founder and principal of Chicago Engineers. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech class of 2004, with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with honors. His innovative approach to MEP engineering comes from graduating GE’s Engineering Leadership Program, where he designed wind turbines and biofuel power plant engines. Michael’s passion within design is energy efficiency and green technology.