The automobile sector has undergone a rapid evolution with the advent of electric cars. This shift can be owed partly to the vital need to preserve the environment and partly to the advancement in technology.
Electric cars have revolutionized the world of transportation. While Tesla became a household name with respect to electric cars, more and more competitors are now realizing the futuristic potential of this piece of tech.
Due to the rise of AI, the tech specifications of electric cars now go far beyond just being electrically powered. The modern electric vehicle models are emerging with amenities one could only dream of.
Let’s take a look at the invention and rise of these cars.
Electric Vehicle Technology
What is an electric car? The short answer is that it’s a car powered by electricity rather than fuels like petrol or diesel. Electric cars are operated on a battery instead of a petrol tank and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. These cars require to be plugged in to charge the battery. Different models have different mile ranges that they can cover on a single charge. They can be charged at home if you have a home charging unit installed or at public charging stations all over the country.
The history of electric vehicles can be traced back to the dawn of the 20th century. They were popular amongst businessmen who could afford them. The Fritchle electric vehicle was the epitome of luxury in the early 1900s. However, by the early 1930s, electric vehicles were virtually extinct.
It was in the 1970s that automotive manufacturers began looking for alternative energy techniques. High production costs and lack of infrastructure delayed the launch of modern EV models until GM EV1 began to appear on American roads.
GM EV1, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius marked the rise of electric vehicles. In 2003, Tesla Motors, Inc. was founded to create luxury sports cars with a fully electric motor. Within a decade, Tesla began to lead the market for high-end electric vehicle tech.
Competitors like BMW and Porsche realized the future implications of electric cars and developed their own models as quickly as possible. The past couple of years have seen a boom in the electric vehicle industry, with manufacturers following the billionaire suit after Elon Musk.
However, Tesla remains an industry leader in electric cars’ mileage. Here are some of the electric cars that have the longest range:
- Tesla Roadster: It is the longest range electric car on the market with the manufacturer’s official range being 620 miles and the approximate real-world miles being 600 miles. Its high price matches its performance.
- 2020 Tesla Model S Long Range: A slightly more affordable model compared to Roadster, it offers an estimated driving range of 402 miles. It is a leading luxury electric car in the market with notable specifications.
- 2020 Tesla Model X Long Range Plus: It delivers an estimated 351 miles of the driving range with quirky features and amazing technology.
- 2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range: While the standard Model 3 delivers 250 miles driving range, the Long Range model takes it up to 322 miles.
- 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range: It offers a maximum electric driving range of 316 miles and is based on the same platform and powertrain as the Model 3 sedan.
- 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV: This affordable electric car with a driving range of 259 miles is fun to drive with a seating capacity of 5.
- 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric: It is a small sport-utility vehicle that offers a driving range of 258 miles. It is compact, comfortable, quiet, with a large cabin space.
- 2020 Kia Nero EV: In electric-powered format, the Niro delivers a driving range of 239 miles. It ensures comfort and has a classy cabin along with standard safety features.
How is Driving an Electric Car Different from Regular Cars?
As mentioned above, in an electric car, the motor is powered by a battery. This eliminates the need for fuels like petrol or diesel. As a result, power build-up is not required; electric motors have full power from a standstill.
The take-off is quick, with almost no noise from the electric motor. At low speeds, they are so quiet that some manufacturers fit noise synthesizers to warn pedestrians of their presence. Electric cars are pretty light-footed at low speeds, making them ideal for everyday commute around towns or cities.
Electric cars do not come with a gearbox since there is only one forward gear, and the power is smooth and linear. Slowing down and stopping is also different in electric cars due to the regenerative braking system.
Applying brakes and turning the engine off actually charges the car battery. This is because regenerative braking takes the energy no longer required for momentum and the electric motor converts it into electricity to be stored in the battery. The electric cars slow down and start quite dramatically, so it might take some getting used to.
Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
- Due to the ever-evolving technology, electric cars are soon expected to become mainstream. As a result, the industry is continuously improving charging tech and launching new and improved models.
- Even though the upfront costs for electric cars are higher than petrol or diesel-powered cars, they are considerably lower in the longer run. Electricity costs much less compared to petrol or diesel. They have low maintenance costs because they are less mechanically complicated.
- Electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, making them environment-friendly. The clean energy credentials of electric cars are convincing more people to go electric in the current generation.
- To go completely green, one can ensure that the electricity that charges the battery doesn’t come from nuclear or gas power. They can also invest in solar panels to charge the car to avoid polluting.
- They allow more passenger and luggage space due to the battery being mounted on the floor and use of smaller electric motors.
- Since electric car technology is still relatively new, the high production and development costs make them expensive.
- Range anxiety is associated with electric cars. It refers to the driver’s fear that the car will run out of power before reaching the destination. Most electric cars cover a maximum range between 100-200 miles on a full charge. The battery also powers the car’s air conditioning, satellite navigation system, stereo, and lights, so turning them on will also impact the car’s range.
- Electric car’s battery is the single most expensive component. New electric cars usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty for up to eight years. However, once the warranty runs out, the charges are borne by the owner.
- The disposal of batteries can be potentially damaging to the environment. They contain harmful chemicals and are almost impossible to recycle.
- There are concerns regarding pedestrian safety due to the noiseless motors. Differently-abled pedestrians are prone to accidents.
Future of Electric Cars
Constant innovations in technology are working on improving the battery technology and motor efficiency of electric cars. As a result, newer models show increases in travel range, charging capacity, safety, efficiency, performance, and affordability.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly improving battery technology. It intends to make batteries safer, recharge faster, and more sustainable. Thanks to AI, in the next five years, EVs will reach price parity with the traditional combustion engine cars. AI or machine learning can browse through the vast amount of data on materials and battery chemistries required to create improved battery tech.
We’ve established that electric cars are the future of the transportation industry. Here are some of the state-of-the-art electric cars expected to launch in the next five years.
Aspark Owl: Manufactured by a Japanese EV maker, it produces 1984 horsepower from four electric motors, packed with a 64.0-kWh lithium-ion battery, and promises 280 miles of driving range.
Audi e-Tron GT: It made its first appearance in a concept form in Avengers: Endgame, the 2019 blockbuster movie. It’s a sports sedan that will offer 590 horsepowers and a range of 249 miles on a single charge.
BMW i4: Its futuristic design is expected to make a statement. BMW has announced that it will have a 523 horsepower and an 80.0-kWh battery.
: This B1 SUV claims to offer 614 horsepower, a 120.0-kWh battery pack, and 200 miles of range.
Byton M-Byte Concept: According to Byton, the small battery pack of 72-kWh can provide a range of up to 224 miles. The larger 95-kWh battery is good for up to 286 miles.