In short, to save money for the owners and to have a cleaner environment for everyone.
Let’s take cost of gasoline vs electricity. A typical passenger car in the USA costs about $3 in gasoline for 30 miles, but electricity cost will simply be $1 for Nissan Leaf EV or $0.4 (40 cents) for Aptera 2e. If you travel 15000 miles a year, your saving is $1000/year if you drive a Nissan EV, or $10,000 for 10 years. We also know EV has less mechanical parts – no engine (and so no tune up or oil change), automatic transmission, radiator, timing belt, radiator, water pump, muffler, or gas tank. So your maintenance cost will be less.
If you wonder why the environment will be cleaner. Think about the tail pipe emissions that contain toxic fumes; and oil leak that paves the road and eventually as runoff into the waterway and ecosystem. We also know gasoline refineries spill out pollutants that cause 3x cancer risk in the vicinity of the refinery. Auto emsissions have also been linked higher rate of asthma. We will have less need for oil tankers and so less accidental oil spill; less gasoline trucks and so less gasoline truck fire that could even melt a freeway.
What is an electric vehicle(EV)?
An electric vehicle is an automobile powered by an electric motor through the use of rechargeable battery packs instead of the traditional internal combustion engine(ICE).
When was the first EV conceived?
It may come as a surprise to you, but the electric vehicle was invented in the 1830s following the invention of the electric motor in 1835. The electric motor enjoyed some initial success through electric locomotives, cars, and similar pieces of impressive engineering. However, despite their implementation into the everyday machinery, the electric motor was suddenly and completely trumped by the arrival of the relatively powerful combustion engine that we know today. Only recently, in the past two decades, has the intrigue of the electric vehicle again piqued our interest. As mandated by the California Air Resources board the major automobile companies. However, in 2003, after the mandate had ended, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, and GM crushed their EVs due to their relative failure and lack of popularity. In an effort to promote a greener environment, President Obama has passed legislation with incentives to purchase hybrid and electric vehicles. For example during March 2009 President Obama announced $2.4 billion in grants for electric vehicles. He also announced plans for the ownership of one million electric vehicles in the United States by the year 2015.
How does an electric motor differ from an internal combustion engine?
There are several types of electric motors, but the one used in an electric vehicle is the brushless DC motor, also used in CD/DVD players. Essentially a BLDC motor is a synchronous motor that is powered by a DC current. A brush is basically a device that conducts current between a static wire and a rotating shaft. The main advantages BLDC motors have other a brushed one include higher efficiency, reliability, and longer lifetime due to the absence of brush erosion.
Conversely, an internal combustion engine, the kind most of us are familiar with relies on the combustion of fuel for its source of energy. This process directly applies force to the movable parts of the engine, the pistons or turbine blades, ultimately generating mechanical energy. Essentially the ICE relies on the movement of the two-stroke or four-stroke piston engines for its power which has allowed it to the dominate the industry in most mobile applications(automobiles, aircrafts, boats, etc.)
What are the advantages of an EV?
Energy efficiency: Electric motors, adjusting for some natural variations, convert roughly 75% of the chemical energy from the batteries to propel the wheels ICEs only convert 20% of the potential energy in gasoline.
Environmentally safe: Naturally, with no gasoline, EVs emit no pollutants into the atmosphere. Electricity produced from nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind-powered plants are similarly pollutant-free.
Reduced energy dependence: With all the talk of our dependence on foreign oil and how we might solve that issue, the EV presents a practical and realistic solution to the problem. While offshore drilling may create more problems than it solves, a gradual shift to EVs will certainly mitigate the need for petroleum.
Increased Performance: Electric motors are relatively quiet and have overall smoother operation with stronger acceleration. While much of an the moving parts of an ICE often breaks down and requires maintenance, in the form of routine checkups and the like, an electric vehicle virtually eliminates this problem.
What are some disadvantages of an EV?
Driving range: Most EVs can only travel about 150 miles(on a full charge) before needing to recharge vesus gasoline vehicles which go over 300 miles before needing to refuel. Eventually there will be recharging stations for EVs specifically however for the time being this makes EVs most ideal for short-range daily use.
Recharge time(down time): With the current charging technology, plug-in, fully recharging a battery pack can take anywhere between 4-8 hours, a considerable jump from the five minutes it takes to fill a tank of gasoline.
Battery costs: The reduced maintenance comes at the cost of expensive battery packs which must be replaced several times during the lifespan of an EV.
Bulk & weight: Although an EV is lighter and eliminates the need for the bulky ICE, battery packs are still heavy and take up a substantial amount of space
Why should I invest in an EV?
It is easy to sit at home and point out all the problems with the world, and although global warming and the health of our environment may not be our most glaring concern at the moment, it is undoubtedly a significant one that will continue to grow until the damage is irreversible. Not only will the reduced emissions from EVs alleviate some of stress put on our atmosphere, it will ultimately improve our own health. With less pollutants and greenhouse gases in the air we will be able to shift our focus towards other issues. Furthermore, an EV can save the average household thousands of dollars every year by eliminating trips to the gas station and autoshop. An EV, in a sense, embodies the pinnacle of human ingenuity: A powerful, yet mindful piece of machinery that is both sophisticated and affordable for the masses.