The vehicle industry has changed dramatically over the last decade. The domination of internal combustion engines has finally started decreasing with the rise in popularity of electric vehicles. Gasoline engines have ruled the roads since the early 1900s without much competition, however with the growth of modern day technology and advancements in engineering, the future of automobiles evokes a different image. The rise in consumer interest of EV technology has led to an increase of investments made by vehicle manufacturers into this new technology. As with any new technology or product, consumer interest started off slow, but many factors have played a part in increasing such enthusiasm. EV technology has increased rapidly, making EVs more affordable and more comfortable than ever before. Another factor for the rise in demand of EVs is the fact that consumers are now actively looking to make more conscious choices for the planet’s health including the reduction of carbon emissions. There are now more than 20 vehicle manufacturers investing in electric vehicles, which has led to an increase in competition, in turn leading to more innovation and lower prices for the consumers.
So, why should a consumer switch from a traditional gas powered engine to an electric vehicle? The first reason that might come to mind is the benefit an electric vehicle provides to the environment. Around the world, the reduction of carbon emissions remains a high priority. Protecting the planet and reducing the general populations dependance on fossil fuels is of utmost concern. EV technologies have become of paramount importance to those consumers who wish to play a part in the United States’s greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets that are in place to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from the 2005 levels. Unfortunately, the vehicles most of us continue to drive are a in fact a driver of increased carbon emissions into the atmosphere. One of the biggest advantages of an EV is the reduction of pollution caused by the vehicle itself. There is no tailpipe on an EV, so there are zero exhaust fumes excreted. In the course of a single year, just one electric car on the road can save an average 1.5 million grams of CO2. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from Houston to Miami. Another benefit to an EV is a decrease in noise pollution. . Most EVs are so quiet that they are now required by law to have an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), which is an accessory that generates sounds to surrounding pedestrians while the vehicle is travelling below 12mph.
Another great reason to switch is the economic impact on the consumer. The return on investment of an EV is much greater than the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Although the investment upfront might appear greater, an EV is ultimately cheaper in the long run with the main reason being that electricity is significantly cheaper than natural gas which in turn leads to lower costs at the gas pump. In today’s climate this is especially true, where we are seeing a massive shortage of natural gas in areas all around the globe. There are fewer moving parts in an electric engine than in a traditional internal combustion engine, therefore there are fewer parts that need to be replaced. Remember how annoying it was to change out your car’s oil every few months? Imagine a world in which this becomes unnecessary. An EV battery has a much longer lifespan than that of a traditional ICE. EV batteries also come with warranties that are valid for either 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever is reached first. . This results in reduced maintenance costs and trips to the mechanic.
Not only are EVs a smarter option for both the environment and your wallet, but they’re also a better experience for the consumer in terms of comfort and fun. EVs have a substantial amount more of torque than ICE vehicles, which leads to quicker acceleration. This increased toque is generated by electric motors from the start, resulting in quicker 0-60mph times while the ride remains very comfortable with no worries about G-force in the vehicle cabin. EVs are also some of the safest vehicles on the market due to the weight and location of the battery. The low center of gravity leads to better handling and comfort and is the leading reason why the Tesla 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car tested. With quicker acceleration, a need for “quicker” braking abilities comes into play which is why EVs feature Regenerative Braking. By braking your EV, you are ultimately charging your car. The friction between the brake pad and the wheel causes a build up of energy which is then harnessed and stored in the EVs battery.
There are many options in regard to the type of EV charger a customer may choose to use. There are both in-home, as well as commercial EV chargers to choose from. There are rapid, fast, and slow chargers, all of which come with connectors suitable to the consumer’s specific vehicle type. The first option is a level 1 charger, which is the standard c that comes home with the majority of EV buyers. This is a relatively slow charge, with some taking 30-40 hours for a full 60kW load. Level 2 chargers are found both in residential areas, as well as commercial lots. A level 2 charger can add 12-80 miles per hour of charging, requiring between 2.5 and 4.5 hours for a full charge. A level 2 charger is much faster than a level 1 due to a more powerful 240-volt power supply. The final option EV customers may choose is a level 3 charger. These level 3 chargers are larger than level 1 and level 2 chargers and are similar to a gas pump which one would expect to find in typical commercial areas. A level 3 charger can charge an average vehicle in 30-40 minutes. Many customers wonder where they would find public charging stations, but the reality is that there are many to choose from. Public charging stations can be found at major truck stops or near major roads. With today’s technology, consumers are able to locate charging stations simply by typing “charging station” into their map app of choice. Some vehicles, like the Tesla, are able to find stations for the consumer, bringing even more simplicity to the consumers everyday life.
With EVs becoming more and more popular, many consumers are beginning to inquire about the possibility of their first EV purchase. Like with many new technologies, many consumers have questions before purchasing their first EV. One might wonder who the major manufacturers of EVs are? Manufacturing giants like Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota have invested highly into EV technology. Tesla is an industry giant, with sales reaching nearly 300,000 vehicles in 2020. BMW, Volkswagen and Cadillac are also major players in the market GM has announced 30 new models that will make an appearance into the market by 2025, encompassing a large portion of their company’s lineup. It seems that more and more companies and consumers are switching to EV technology today..
Some consumers might confuse the difference between all-electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models. A hybrid is simply a combination of a traditional ICE and electricity. Using a balance of the two between driving modes improves mileage and reduces emissions. The electricity in a standard hybrid vehicle comes from the regenerative braking which adds electricity to the motor. A true plug-in hybrid charges while inside the consumers home, then uses all of this electricity while on the road before switching over to natural gas fuel.
Many consumers worry that the price tag on an EV might be out of budget. Of course, with any new technology, the upfront price might appear abnormally high. However, in today’s day and age, prices are increasingly reasonable and it’s easy to see when you factor in a return on investment analysis. The average price for a gas-powered car was nearly $41,000 in April 2021, compared to electric vehicles coming in at around $51,000. Although the upfront price is higher, the consumer must take into account the benefits previously discussed (lower maintenance costs, lower fuel costs, environmental impact etc). There are also government programs offering incentives between $2,500 to $8,000 for these EVs. The only companies not eligible for this incentive are Tesla and GM, since they sold over 200,000 units.
Life expectancy is a major factor when a consumer is making a new vehicle investment. Just like your cell phone, EV batteries lose life through charging over the year. Unlike your cell phone however, EV batteries typically last about 100,000 miles. The federal government mandates that manufacturers offer at least an 8 year warranty, or 100,000 mile warranty to ensure the longevity of the battery. Companies like Hyundai will actually warranty the battery for its lifetime.
Utilizing the level 1 charger is a relatively slow charge, with some taking 30-40 hours for a full 60kW load. A level 2 charger can add 12-80 miles per hour of charging, requiring between 2.5 and 4.5 hours for a full charge. It is much faster than a level 1 due to the utilization of a more powerful 240-volt power supply. The last option is a level 3 charger. These are larger, similar to a gas pump which one would expect to find in commercial areas. A level 3 charger can charge an average vehicle in 30-40 minutes.
There are two main types of connectors for EV chargers, CHAdeMO and Combined Charging Systems (CCS). The type of connection a customer needs depends on the type of vehicle. Every manufacturer of electric vehicles in North America, except Tesla, uses the SAE J1772 connector, also known as the J-plug for level 1 (120 volt) and level 2 charging (240 volt). Tesla does however provide an adapter for ease of use though. CHAdeMO can be found in older EVs, especially in Asian manufacturers. These CHAdeMO connectors have a slower rate (up to 150 miles in 30 mins of charging) of charge compared to CCS (up to 525 miles in 30 min of charging). CCS types are found with most models, including Tesla and GMC.
Transportation electrification has gained significant momentum in recent years, largely due to policymakers providing incentives for consumers to make the switch. 90% of energy consumed in US transportation comes from petroleum. Federal tax credit for the purchase of a new plug in EV can range from $2,500-$7,500, depending on the car’s battery capacity. Many states have also implemented incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles, however, it differs from state to state. Texas, for example, provides rebates up to $5,000 for leasing or purchasing a new EV. Any vehicle purchased after September 1, 2019 is eligible for this rebate. There are many other incentives offered, but the list varies widely depending on location, and make and model of vehicle.