Common Misconceptions On How Electric Cars Work

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How Electric Cars Work and Some Common Misconceptions

Electric cars, commonly referred to as EVs and PHEVs, are becoming increasingly popular as people seek environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional fossil fueled cars. The stock of electric cars has increased exponentially in recent years and many of the early vehicles are now appearing on the second-hand car market as quality, used vehicles. As with the traditional used-car market, a car history check is a vital safeguard when considering buying a previously owned electric vehicle. 

Here, we'll explore how electric cars work, modern improvements in battery technology, and common misconceptions about electric vehicles in general.

How Do Electric Cars Work?

Electric cars are powered by an electric motor in place of a traditional petrol or diesel engine. This motor is connected to a battery, which stores the electrical energy to power the car. When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the electric motor converts the energy from the battery into mechanical energy, which drives the wheels directly.

The battery in an electric car is made up of a series of cells that are connected together to form a battery pack. The range of an electric car depends on the size and capacity of the battery pack. Most modern electric cars have a range of between 180 and 480 kilometers, although some high-end models can travel in excess of 600 kilometers on a single charge. To recharge the battery, electric cars can be plugged into a standard household socket or a dedicated charging station. Depending on the charging rate and the size of the battery, it can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, to fully recharge the battery.

Modern Improvements in Battery Technology

Battery technology has been a major focus of research and development in the electric vehicle industry. Advances in battery technology have led to improvements in range, charging time, and durability.

One of the most significant improvements in battery technology has been the development of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more compact, and more efficient than traditional lead-acid batteries. They can store more energy per unit weight and have a longer lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries have become the standard for electric vehicle batteries, and they are used in most modern electric cars.

Another significant development in battery technology has been the use of nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) and nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathodes. These cathodes allow for higher energy density, which means that the battery can store more energy in the same amount of space. This has led to huge improvements in range and performance for electric cars.

In addition to improving the battery itself, there have been significant advancements in charging technology. Fast-charging stations are becoming more common, and they can charge a battery to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. Wireless charging technology is also being developed, which would allow electric cars to be charged simply by parking over a charging pad.

If you are considering buying a used electric car, a car history check can help you make an informed decision about running costs alongside all of the usual safeguards such as mileage verification, accident history, manufacturer recalls and outstanding finance.

Common Misconceptions About Electric Cars

There are several common misconceptions about electric cars that can put people off considering them as a viable alternative to diesel or petrol-powered cars. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  1. Electric cars are too expensive: While it is true that electric cars can be more expensive, the price is coming down as the technology improves and economies of scale are achieved. The Irish government also currently offers tax incentives and grants that can help offset the cost of purchasing the car and installing a home charging system, although these grants are being scaled back gradually as the move to electric cars gathers momentum.

  2. Electric cars don't have enough range: As mentioned earlier, most modern electric cars have a range of between 180 and 480 kilometers on a single charge. This is sufficient for most people's daily driving needs. Additionally, charging infrastructure is becoming more widespread, making it quicker and easier to recharge when away from home.

  3. Electric cars are not powerful: Many people assume that electric cars are not as powerful as petrol-engine cars, but this is not necessarily true. Electric motors can provide instant torque, which means that electric cars can have excellent acceleration and performance. In fact, some electric cars have better acceleration than their petrol-powered counterparts.

  4. Electric cars are not as convenient: People often assume that electric cars are less convenient because they need to be charged regularly. However, as mentioned previously, with the growing network of charging stations, it is becoming easier to charge an electric car while out and about. Additionally, many electric cars come with features like regenerative braking that can help extend the range of the car.

  5. Electric cars are not environmentally friendly: While it is true that electric cars still require energy to re-charge, they are still more environmentally friendly than fossil-fueled cars. Electricity can be generated from renewable sources like wind and solar power, which means that electric cars can be powered by cleaner energy. Additionally, electric cars produce zero emissions while driving, which helps to reduce air pollution in the local environment. 

As electric car technology continues to advance, improvements in battery technology have led to extended range, faster charging and durability. Common misconceptions are gradually being dispelled as more people switch to electric cars and gain first-hand experience of their many benefits. Electric cars are not only better for the environment, but they also offer excellent performance and driving experience, making them a great alternative to traditional petrol and diesel-powered cars.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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