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Beginner's Guide: What is Electric Vehicles (EVs)?

Updated at 26 Jul, 2021

— Electric vehicles are really exploding in popularity nowadays, but do you really know what it is? Discover how EVs work, how chargers work, etc.

Beginner's Guide: What is Electric Vehicles (EVs)?

Electric vehicles account only for a small portion of the entire automobile industry today, but their popularity is growing as automakers enhance their range, performance, and appearance – in addition, charging gets faster, simpler, and more convenient.

Despite the fact that the first prototype electric vehicle was invented in the 1800s and numerous versions were constructed in the 1900s, the EV industry only began in earnest after the turn of the twenty-first century. According to Marketsandmarket, it is expected to expand from 4 million units to 34 million units by 2030, at a CAGR of 26.8 percent.

What is Electric Vehicle?

The acronym for electric vehicle is EV. Basically, EVs are cars that are partially or entirely powered by electricity.

An electric vehicle is one that runs on electricity and have minimal operating expenses due to fewer moving parts to maintain and are particularly ecologically beneficial due to their usage of little or no fossil fuels (petrol or diesel).

While some EVs used lead acid or nickel metal hydride batteries, lithium-ion batteries are generally regarded the norm for current battery electric cars since they have a longer life span and are good at retaining energy, with a self-discharge rate of just 5% per month.

Electric Vehicles operate by connecting into a charging station and drawing power from the grid. The electricity is stored in rechargeable batteries, which power an electric motor, which moves the wheels. Electric vehicles accelerate more quickly than vehicles powered by traditional gasoline engines because they are lighter.

EVs have 90% less moving components than gas/petrol vehicles. These are the components that keep an EV running (these will be explained further in the next chapter):

  • Electric motor/engine | Provides the necessary torque to turn the wheels. It can be either DC or AC; however, AC motors are more prevalent.

  • Inverter | Converts direct current (DC) electric current into alternating current (AC).

  • Drivetrain | Electric vehicles feature a single-speed transmission that transfers power from the motor to the wheels.

  • Batteries are used to store the electricity needed to power an EV. The greater the battery's kW rating, the greater the range.

  • Charging | To charge your battery, connect it to an outlet or an EV charging station.

How does an Electric Vehicle work?

The components and functions of electric vehicles vary depending on the vehicle type. The many sorts of electric vehicle components affect how it functions.

In general, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) functions as follows:

  1. You press the pedal.

  2. The controller collects and regulates electrical energy from batteries and inverters.

  3. Once the controller is set, the inverter transfers a predetermined quantity of electrical energy to the motor (depending on the pressure on pedal).

  4. The electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy (rotation).

  5. The rotation of the engine causes the gearbox to revolve, causing the wheels to turn and the automobile to move.

Electric Vehicle

The following are the primary essential features of electric cars installed in practically all types:

Battery Pack for Traction

In an electric car, the battery serves as an electrical energy storage device in the form of direct current (DC) power. If the battery receives a signal from the controller, it will provide DC electrical energy to the inverter, which will then be utilized to power the motor. The battery utilized is a rechargeable battery that has been configured in such a way that it forms what is known as a traction battery pack.

Inverter of Power

The inverter converts the direct current (DC) on the battery into alternating current (AC), which is then utilized by an electric motor. Furthermore, the inverter on an electric car includes a function that converts the AC while regenerative braking to DC, which is then utilized to replenish the battery. The bi-directional inverter is a type of inverter that is utilized in various electric car types.


The controller's primary role is to regulate the flow of electrical energy from batteries and inverters to electric motors. In a nutshell, the controller controls the flow of electrical energy given by the traction battery, as well as the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it creates. This component will govern how electric cars operate.

Traction Motor, Electric

The electric traction motors will turn the gearbox and wheels because the controller delivers electrical power from the traction battery. Some hybrid electric vehicles employ a generator-motor that serves as both propulsion and regeneration.

There are still a number of key electric vehicle components to consider, such as:

  • Charger

  • Transmission

  • DC/DC Converter

  • Battery

  • Thermal System – Cooling

  • Charge Port

What are charging stations and how do they work?

  • An electric vehicle charging station is a piece of equipment that links an electric vehicle to a power source (grid) in order to recharge electric vehicles such as automobiles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids. Some charging stations are equipped with modern features such as smart metering, cellular capabilities, and network connectivity, while others are more basic.

  • An electric car may be charged by hooking it into a public charging station or a home charger. These chargers are classified into three types:

  • Three-pin plug | A three-pin plug that may be plugged into any 13-amp socket.

  • Socketed | A charge point to which either a Type 1 or Type 2 cable can be connected.

  • Tethered | A charge point with a cable connected to either a Type 1 or Type 2 connector.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle

  • Slow | Typically, they are rated up to 3kW. Frequently used to charge overnight or during work. The charging time ranges between 8 and 10 hours.

  • Fast | Typically, they are rated at either 7kW or 22kW. Car parks, supermarkets, recreational facilities, and residences with off-street parking are common places for them to be built. The charging period is about 3-4 hours.

  • Rapid | Typically starting at 43kW. Only compatible with EVs that support quick charging. The charging time ranges between 30 and 60 hours.

The range of an EV is determined by the size of its battery (kWh). The larger the kWh of the EV battery, the more power, and the greater the range of the car.

EV Charging Time

Types of Electric Vehicles

In general, any type of vehicle may be outfitted with an electric powertrain. These are three major instances of what electrification can achieve for vehicles:

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

Battery Electric cars are those that are completely electric, have rechargeable batteries, and do not have a gasoline engine. The battery pack, which is recharged from the grid, provides all the energy for the vehicle.

BEVs are zero-emission cars since they produce no hazardous exhaust emissions or air pollution threats like typical gasoline-powered vehicles do.

Battery Electric Vehicle

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles are powered by both a gas engine and an electric motor.

The battery receives all its energy from regenerative braking, which recoups otherwise lost energy in braking to aid the gasoline engine during acceleration.

This braking energy is generally wasted as heat in the brake pads and rotors of a standard internal combustion engine car. Regular hybrids cannot recharge by plugging into the grid.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are powered by both an engine and an electric motor. They, like ordinary hybrids, can recharge their batteries via regenerative braking.

PHEVs vary from ordinary hybrids in that they have a considerably bigger battery and can be recharged by plugging into the grid. While normal hybrids can go 1-2 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in, PHEVs can travel 10-40 miles before the gas engine kicks in.

When the all-electric range is reduced, PHEVs behave like ordinary hybrids and may drive hundreds of miles on a single tank of gasoline.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

7 Distinctive Characteristics of an Electric Vehicle

EVs are well-known for their comfort, innovative features, and good environmental effect. They've been a big subject for the past decade, and businesses have been working hard to rid the world of CO2 emissions.

So, what is it about electric vehicles that makes them so popular? Here are seven distinct characteristics of an EV:

  1. Noiseless Driving

    Because electric vehicles are significantly quieter than gas-powered vehicles, you never know when one will sneak up behind you. EVs do not have a gearbox, clutch, or exhaust pipe, thus they are much quieter and smoother to drive.

  2. Luxurious Interior

    Because electric vehicles use electric motors rather than internal combustion engines, there is more space to build a luxury interior, and most EVs offer big seats and roomy baggage compartments for comfortable seating and additional storage.

  3. Thermostatic System

    Vehicles are susceptible to overheating. It is one of the most serious issues in combustion fuel engines. Thermal systems fitted in EVs, on the other hand, maintain and monitor an appropriate operating temperature range of the motor, power electronics, electric motor, and other components.

  4. Mechanism of Regeneration

    One of the unique aspects of an electric car is regenerative braking. During braking, kinetic energy is recycled back to electrical or chemical energy and stored in the battery via regenerative braking. It extends the vehicle's driving range by 10% since the stored energy is not wasted.

  5. Intuitive Electric Vehicle Displays

    On the dashboard of electric vehicles is a high-resolution OLED display that shows the available range and charging capacity. When you input a location via the satellite navigation system, the EV's dashboard displays various routes.

    It also displays whether the car's charge is sufficient to take any of the marked routes. Many modern displays will also plot the route to your chosen destination and suggest current charge locations for longer excursions.

    The display also reveals your driving style, such as whether you are or are not driving in an environmentally responsible manner. It allows the vehicle to preserve battery energy while maximizing remaining vehicle range. Most of the display also highlights the amount of electricity utilized by the vehicle's accessories.

  6. Parking Assist in 360-Degrees

    One of the simplest features offered in EVs is park assist. It makes use of powerful AI technology and is almost as good as a fully automated system. The combination of reversing (rear-facing) cameras, 360-degree cameras, and sensors aids with automobile parking.

  7. Autonomous Self-Driving Vehicles

    Although it is merely a concept, a completely autonomous automobile represents the future of electric cars. Companies such as Tesla, Ford, and others will soon offer fully automated EVs that are ideally suited to electric engines. Electric motors will be used in self-driving vehicles since they are compatible and adaptable.

Electric Vehicle Benefits

Environmental advantages of electric vehicles

It is hard to write about electric vehicles without mentioning one problem — global warming. The recent years, in particular, has witnessed significant shifts in climate compared to a decade ago, and the situation will only deteriorate if nothing is done.

Electric cars are critical to fulfilling global climate change targets. They play an important role in mitigation strategies that restrict warming to well-below 2°C or 1.5°C, which is consistent with the Paris Agreement's objectives.

However, while EVs emit no greenhouse gases directly, they run on power that is still mostly produced from fossil fuels in many areas of the world. Energy is also used in the production of the electric vehicle, namely the battery.

Simply said, electric vehicles provide cleaner streets, making our towns and cities a better environment for walkers and cyclists. According to EDF, just one electric car on the road may save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2 over the course of a year.

The world's leading players in the electric vehicle market

Established firms such as Tesla (US), BYD (China), Volkswagen AG (Germany), BMW Group (Germany), and Nissan Motors (Japan) lead the electric vehicle industry. The market ranking was calculated by using a proportion of the segmental revenue for each of the firms mentioned.

These businesses also provide a wide range of products and services to the automobile sector. Furthermore, they have extensive global distribution networks and invest substantially in R&D.

The important market trends or technologies that will have a significant influence on the electric vehicle industry in the near future include EV battery price reductions, connected cars, battery management systems, Smart charging, and wireless on the go charging.

Market for Electric Vehicles Worldwide

The worldwide electric vehicle market is estimated to sell 34 million units by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 26.8 percent during the forecast period.

Factors such as rising demand for low-emission commuting and government subsidies and tax breaks for long-range, zero-emission cars have driven manufacturers to produce electric vehicles globally. As a result, there is an increasing market demand for electric automobiles.

During the first months of the epidemic, most EV manufacturers suffered losses owing to a drop in sales. Sales rose in the latter months as demand for zero-emission vehicles increased, although the firms generally faced varied degrees of loss.

The History behind Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle Timeline

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated during the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders that it will take many decades for the globe to transition totally to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). According to Elon Musk, it will take 30-40 years to replace all of the world's cars with BEVs.

Today, there are several transportation alternatives on the market, ranging from electric trains to one-wheel skateboards. Technology sure is amazing, and we can't wait to see what the future will bring.

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