There are many reasons for buying any electric smart car, hybrid electric or plugin hybrid electric vehicle. The soaring costs of gas is likely the biggest and most pressing issue when considering buying an electric car. The environment and the planet is another concern. Whatever the reason, buying any BEV, PHEV or green planet-friendly automobile instead of that fossil-fuel burning internal combustion engine car, we’ll certainly have a positive effect on helping save the planet and save you money as well.
In order to make a smart electric car buying decisions, it is important to understand what the different types of electric-powered vehicles, and how smart electric cars work.
There are three types of electric assisted vehicle that utilize an electric motor of some kind. The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is as the name suggests-a battery powered vehicle. There is no other power source for the vehicle, no internal combustion engine (ICE) running on gasoline, and therefore the battery must be charged between uses, and will discharge during use until it runs out. At this point the vehicle can no longer run, so you’ll need to be near a charging point before you run out of gas, I mean electric juice.
Two types of hybrid electric vehicles offer the best of both the electric and the ICE vehicle worlds. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an electric motor to either propel the car or to increase the power. Generally the result of this is to extend the distance that it can travel on a tank of fuel, giving the hybrid electric car better fuel economy.
Lastly there is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). This runs in a largely similar way to the HEV but with one major difference-the battery can be plugged into a charging point, in order to completely charge the battery to its maximum capacity. The HEV by comparison can only charge its battery with the current generated by its ICE, or through regenerative breaking (a process in which energy is reclaimed during breaking rather than lost). By fully charging the battery the use of electrical power can be prolonged, and the use of gasoline reduced, making the PHEV the more economical of the hybrid electric vehicles.
The drive-train of a BEV is very simple-a battery powers the motor, which propels the electric vehicle. The hybrid electric vehicles will run an ICE and electric motor either in parallel or in series, with both the ICE and electric motor being able to move the electric or hybrid electric vehicle. A capacitor allows energy to be channeled back into the battery too, and in the case of the PHEV a separate charging circuit like that of the BEV is included to separately charge the hybrid electric vehicle.
There are two types of battery that are used in BEV, PHEV and HEV cars. Nickel metal hydride batteries are an older technology, and one that suffers from battery degradation more quickly than others. Newer, lithium-ion batteries are far more efficient, as well as longer lasting in both electric and hybrid electric vehicles. They don’t suffer from memory formation like nickel metal hydride batteries, and tend to be able to provide more power for the engine than the alternative.
Older hybrid electric vehicles may still use lead-acid batteries, but these are generally now considered bad for the environment, and are no longer used.
There are pros and cons to making the move to an electric or hybrid vehicle. They are cheaper to run than ICE cars and have good speed, and hybrid electric vehicles have good range too. But the BEV class can run generally for only up to 40-200 miles, leading to what is known as range anxiety. Hybrid electric vehicles overcome by using the ICE as well, giving vastly superior range.
Another downside is that the batteries wear out and need replacing. This is an expensive part on the car, and on a BEV the battery failure means that the car will completely fail to run. A hybrid at least has its ICE on which to fall back.