Electric car range: everything you need to know

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The desire to do something to help save the planet, along with the opportunity to save money on fuel and vehicle maintenance, are typically among the top reasons car buyers explore the automotive market. electric vehicles.

However, the range of electric cars can contribute to the anxiety buyers might experience when deciding to trade in their traditional gasoline engine.

Improvements in electric car batteries have come a long way in recent years. As manufacturers continue to make strides in capacity and charging times, today’s electric vehicles can easily accommodate most daily commutes.

Drivers who still find the longest-range electric car are not long enough to consider partial electrification with plug-in hybrids that use gasoline to achieve longer ranges.

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Short to long range

Most drivers know EPA fuel economy estimates for gasoline vehicles. Electric cars have EPA ratings to explain how far the EV can travel before the battery runs out.

While traditional cars can regularly exceed their EPA mileage ratings, electric vehicles typically fall below their EPA combined range rating.

Long and short range electric vehicles can perform well when driving with start and stop during rush hour. The technology allows the battery to recover energy during deceleration by using its electric motor instead of the brakes. Electric vehicles consume much more of their battery at constant speed on highways used for longer getaways.

A long-distance electric car ride can be accomplished with careful planning based on the location of public charging stations, which are much less common than gas pumps.

What you need to know about charging

Specifications for electric vehicles include terms that are not found with their gasoline counterparts – kilowatt-hours (kWh) and kilowatts (kW). A simplified – very simplified – way of thinking about these terms is that kilowatt is similar to horsepower, and kilowatt-hours are like talking about the size of the tank.

A fully electric car needs energy from the battery to run the engine. The size of the battery is measured in kilowatt hours. Motors are listed in terms of peak power expressed in kilowatts.

Charging an EV battery can be done at home or at public charging stations. Three types of chargers are available. The charging speed of these methods is compared by looking at the miles gained per minute of charging.

  • Level 1 charging is the slowest and uses a standard household 120-volt outlet and gains about five miles per hour from charging.
  • Level 2 uses a 240 volt electrical circuit typically used in homes for electric clothes dryers. This method can capture around 35 miles or more per hour of charge. Most public charging stations have level 2 chargers.
  • Level 3 DC fast chargers provide a huge amount of power to an electric car battery. New EVs can be recharged from near empty to around 80% of capacity in as little as 30 minutes using a Level 3 charger, although such installations are rare in most areas.

Longer Range Options – Plug-in Hybrids

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, has a larger battery than a conventional hybrid, allowing short trips of 25 miles or more using only the battery. A commuter with a 20 mile one-way trip and a place to recharge at work couldn’t use gasoline. The plug-in hybrid’s gasoline engine will turn on occasionally to ensure that the fuel in the tank does not deteriorate.

As long as there is gasoline in the tank, a PHEV acts like a traditional hybrid using a combination of the gasoline engine and the electric motor. Hybrids with plugs can add a bit of load especially when driving, such as hard braking or coasting down for long distances.

Plug-in hybrids don’t take too long to charge, and you can use public charging stations along the way to long-distance destinations. Many newer plug-in hybrids allow the driver to “store” the electric charge for use when it suits him, for example at lower speeds where he can travel more kilometers than at highway speeds where the quantity runs out more quickly.

A plug-in hybrid is a good option for some drivers because it combines a gasoline engine with the desire for emissions-free driving without being anxious on a short range of electric cars.

Finding Electric Car Buying Options

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