All Electric Vehicles

How Electric Cars Work
How Do Electric Cars and other Electric Vehicles Work?

Some people will ask how electric cars work - but I know this section isn't for everyone!

Do you really CARE about How Electric Vehicles Work? - yeah - maybe you're curious at first, but then you're sorry you asked the question!

Well - let's see if we can stick to the basics.

When I started to look at this - it became quickly apparent that an equally important question was "What DOES NOT work when it comes to Electric Vehicles?" as there seemed to be all sorts of hype and claims.

Let's start with how they are MEANT to work:

You get up in the morning - you plug out your Electric Car - or pick the bicycle battery off the charger. You go to work - or go about your business for the day. You're feel SMUG for lots of different reasons:
  • The cost of Electricity is SOO cheap compared to petrol!
  • You are saving the planet without all those emissions.
  • You are feeling COOL and THE CENTRE OF ATTENTION because you are the first in your neigbourhood with an Electric Scooter - and everybody is stopping to ask you about it.

Maybe this is how they ACTUALLY DO work - but - why doesn't everyone have one???

Well - at this stage it seems there are a number of reasons - WHAT doesn't WORK about Electric Vehicles (although they MIGHT JUST change some day):
  • Take the manufacturers published RANGE and divide it in two - apparently you don't live in a PERFECT region.
  • There's something dodgy about the battery - but the dealer says what do you expect - they are new technology!
  • Recharging takes 6 hours - I think I'll have another cup of tea.
  • The guy I bought it from has just gone bust - he hoped to sell more - but the banks would'nt support him. Now - where do I go with my problems?
  • Things start to fall apart a bit sooner than I hoped - well - I was told I'd get what I paid for - that is - the battery and motor!
  • Why am I paying extra again for this stuff???
  • I'd like my ride to look something like a normal car/bicycle!!!

I realise that a lot of the comments are a "little" unfair - but the funny thing is that most dealers/manufacturers I have spoken to agree with most of them. Until Electric Vehicles go more mainstream - a lot of these problems will stay in place.

Also - I have found that Electric Bicycles and Electric Scooters have overcome a lot of those problems and are becoming very close to beating mainstream scooters and bikes - but it seems Electric Cars have a bit to go... -

... at least until 2010 until cars like the Mitsubishi MiEV come onto the market (I think it will be a Renault/Citreon in Europe.)

So - let's have a look at this wagon to see more about how Electric Vehicles work, on a ahem!, "Technical Basis".

Most cars and motorbikes are powered by the internal combustion engine - which runs on petrol or diesel.

Electric cars like the Mitsubishi look like these “normal” vehicles from the outside - except for the exhaust pipe.

Inside there is no petrol/diesel tank and they are replaced by Electric Car Batteries which provide the electric "fuel". These are typically found under the vehicle to keep the centre of gravity low.

You need quite a few batteries to store enough energy to power the vehicle and give it a good range.

A regulator is connected to the battery pack to ensure the amount of energy used is constant and prevent battery burn out.

The next thing that is different is the "engine" - you won't find one. At least not one you are familiar with. But, before we go on, I'd like to point out that almost everything else is the same as that in a petrol-powered vehicle. The transmission, brakes and various electrics all work in the same way.

Now - what drives the wheels?

The Electric Car Motors are what REALLY makes the difference.

The motor is located close to (or in) the wheels and drives the wheel axle directly (rear wheels for the MiEV).

When you press on the accelerator pedal a connected potentiometer measures the force and sends a signal to a controller that tells it how much energy the battery should give the electric motor. This happens in a smooth fashion with great torque available from standing speed. (Electric cars often have Ferrari-like acceleration).

Right - what else? - oh yes. Recharging. Plug it into a standard household system for full recharging over about 8 hours. And - fast rechargers are being developed for 80% charge in 30 - 60 minutes.

The last thing about the Mitsubishi is that it is being developed as a car that can be All Electric OR Plug-in Hybrid OR Fuel-Cell Driven.

Now that sounds like the Car of the Future!

Other Electric Cars Articles

Tesla Electric Car
The electric sports car that everybody wants, but not everybody can afford!

BMW has a new electric brand and two new cars to go with it!

Zenn Electric Car
A nice practical NEV from Canada.

GEM Electric Car
An NEV with doors as an option! Mainly used for getting around a resort clean and fast.

Zap Electric Car
Three-wheeler cars, mini trucks and minivans are whats on offer from Zap electric cars.

Nissan Leaf
The 2011 world car of the year. What more can I say?

Nissan Leaf Test Drive
A Test Drive of the 2011 world car of the year. Now what more can I say?

Tango T600
A zippy two seater that can beat any sports car off the line. George Clooney has one too!

Think Electric Car
Norways answer to an electric car.

Electric Cars Available Now
Electric cars for sale right now nad also a glimpse of what's coming up in the next few years.

Solar Electric Cars
Electric cars that are powered cleanly and safely by the sun!

Ford Focus Electric Car
The electric version of the popular Ford Focus, as seen on the Jay Leno show.

Electric Car Design
What does it take to design a great electric car? Is it any different from a regular one?

Electric Car Conversion
You can always just convert the car you already know and love to run off clean electricity instead of the engine it already has.

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