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A Beginner's Guide to Electric Cars

More and more car buyers in the UK are choosing electric cars over conventional petrol or diesel engine vehicles. Whilst Electric Vehicles, or  EVs, are becoming a popular choice, it’s still important to ask yourself whether an electric car is the best choice for you. Reading about it is one way to determine if an EV is the most suitable type of car for your driving needs. That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to electric cars. Let’s begin!

What are Electric Cars?

EVs use electricity, either fully or partially, to power their wheels. Cars that have both electric motors and conventional diesel or petrol engines are called hybrid vehicles. As you will learn in this article, there are many types of electric and hybrid cars. But what’s common among them is that they produce little or no harmful gases into the atmosphere, making them an environmentally-friendly choice for car buyers. 

How Electric Vehicles Work

Electric cars have battery packs that provide power to their electric motors. The motors then drive either the front-wheel drive or the rear-wheel. However, there are some EV models that have motors on all axles or even on all wheels. 

As for driving an EV, it’s actually not that complicated. Electric cars have controllers that manage how much power gets delivered to the motor whenever you put your foot on the pedal. It helps you in controlling your speed while on the road. 

The battery packs of electric vehicles are also easy to recharge. It is as simple as plugging them into a power source. It’s also possible to recharge the battery packs as you’re driving the car but this feature depends on the type of EV you have. 

Electric Vehicles vs. Hybrid Cars

Types of Electric Vehicles

Both hybrid and electric cars are types of EVs. The main difference between them is whether the car runs fully on electricity or if it has a combustion engine along with an electric motor. Full-electric cars produce no exhaust and are the most eco-friendly type of car.

Zero-emission vehicles do not have a combustion engine so their wheels get power from the electric motor completely. There are two types of zero-emission cars, one is called battery electric vehicles and the other, fuel-cell electric vehicles. 

Battery electric vehicles have a big traction battery that needs to be charged into an external power source. This is the more common type between the two zero-emission vehicles. These cars can also generate electricity whenever the vehicle brakes. For fuel-cell electric vehicles, hydrogen is used and is combined with the oxygen in the air to produce electricity to make the car run. 

Types of Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid cars, on the other hand, produce some harmful gases since they have still have conventional petrol or diesel engines, although not as much as traditional combustion-engine vehicles.

If you choose to drive a hybrid using only the electric motor, then the car will not produce exhaust. But this is only ideal for short drives in the city. For longer journeys or when you’re battery is already low, you would have to depend on the combustion engine. 

There are four types of hybrid vehicles. 

  • Mild Hybrid - these cars use electric motors and batteries to assist their combustion engines. However, it cannot be driven using electricity alone. 
  • Hybrid Electric - under this type are two more sub-types, the series and parallel. What’s common between the two sub-types is that you can drive them using electricity only. Their batteries are charged through braking and cruising, as well as through their diesel or petrol engines, not by plugging into an external source. 
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric - this type of hybrid are cars with larger batteries. They can be charged externally. If you use your car in city-driving more often than for long journeys, this is a good choice. You can then switch to using the combustion engine for road trips.   
  • Range-extended Electric - these cars have wheels that are powered by electric motors directly. You may charge their batteries by plugging them into a power source. The combustion engine for this type of hybrid is smaller though but you can still use it to drive on long journeys. 

Should I Buy an Electric Car?

An EV is actually a practical choice for a car, especially if you live and work in the city. When it comes to the cost of the electricity to power your EV, it can only be as little as 2p. Also, if you buy an electric vehicle, you don’t have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), plus you get to enjoy an exemption from the surcharge for vehicles over a certain amount. 

And then you have congestion charges that you don’t have to think about because electric cars are also exempt from that. Of course, apart from all the practical benefits of owning an electric car, it’s much better for the environment. You get to enjoy the freedom and convenience of having your own car without contributing to the air pollution in your city. 

Takeaway

When electric cars were first introduced to car buyers, many thought that they were not as practical since they were expensive to buy and they can’t be driven on long journeys without having to charge them. That’s no longer the case today.

You don’t have to worry about getting “range anxiety” when you’re driving an electric car because they’re very much capable of the long road trips you’re planning to have. And with so many makes and models to choose from, you’ll surely find one that fits you best.  👍🚘

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