Fuel Efficiency

Why should I consider buying an electric (and/or hybrid) car? What are their advantages and disadvantages? 

1460346605970_priusIf you have been keen on recent headlines, you may form the opinion that this is the time to get rid of your gas powered car for an electric model. But a lot of people who want to purchase an electric car do not look at the details of the same. If you are interested in buying one, there are some things you should know.

Technology advancement has allowed for vehicle manufacturers to venture into battery powered vehicles. These vehicles basically use a battery instead of gas to run the engine. There have been significant leaps, thanks in part to Tesla, in battery technology over the last few years. Even with this progress, manufacturers are still struggling to meet expectations of an average driver.

However, there are some vehicles that are considered to be popular among motorists in the United States and Europe. These are not the only vehicles with electric technology, but those that have been tested by consumers and ranked highest among other models. The most popular are Chevy Spark, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S Sedan. According to specifications from manufacturers, these vehicles are designed to reach a range of 82 miles, 84 to 107 miles and 207 to 208 miles on a single charge respectively.

This may seem to be quite impressive. When you consider that a fuel=powered Honda Accord (2016 model) can drive about 640 miles when the tank is full, it is quite obvious that electric cars have a long way to go before they start breaking any distance related records. There are charts comparing fuel models to electric powered models on the internet. 

At the same time, the numbers can vary depending on the driving styles and the region you plan on going. Windy roads up a mountain and straight stretches of flat highway will return vastly different ranges. Sometimes they may even undercut the minimum range rated by the automaker. EVs (electric vehicles), like their gas guzzling counterparts, lose a substantial amount of their efficiency during spats of cold weather. Battery only vehicles lose a staggering 57% or their range in temperatures that are at or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Fuel powered car lose 12% – 15% percent in similar conditions. Such facts show batteries do not operate effectively in cold climates. This is basically due to the physics involved with lithium ion cells transferring energy to the rest of the car and the engine.    

To solve the problem, some EVs have range extenders. They exist in form of a gas generator (towable) that can jump a battery in case of emergencies. When they are fully charged, the range extender can provide an additional 15 to 30 miles. This gives someone who is stranded an option of going to somewhere safe on fuel until they can find a way to charge their main battery.

Clearly, electric vehicles are only realistic for use within major cities. For long distance travelling, fuel powered cars should be the option. People should keep this in mind when shopping for an electric car.

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