ABOUT ELECTRIC & HYBRID VEHICLES
In our ever-changing world, an increase in innovative technology and efficiency is inevitable. Offering outstanding potential to cut carbon emissions whilst offering efficiency like no other, electric and hybrid vehicles are soon to become the first choice for the modern driver.
There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs), classed by the extent that electricity is used as the energy source; BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles. Fully electric vehicles are currently limited by range and charging points available, but as these technologies improve, the benefits of electric will undoubtedly begin to outweigh the negatives.
Hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid vehicles offer a good entry point if you can't yet make the switch to full electric, offering huge savings in fuel if the number of kms warrant the additional purchase cost.
WHAT IS AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE (BEV)?
A Battery Electric Vehicle is a fully electric vehicle, meaning the only source of power is via a rechargeable battery. They do not have the traditional combustion engine and therefore the design flexibility is increased as the usual constraints do not exist, the battery for instance powering the vehicle can be spread across the floor which improves traditional weight distribution.
WHAT IS A HYBRID VEHICLE (HEV)?
A HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) by the absence of the Plug-In term has an electric battery which in part, selectively powers the engine, but it is not possible or required to recharge this via an external power supply. Also known as Self-Charging Hybrid cars, they use the electric battery up to 15-20mph and then the combustion engine (petrol or diesel) takes over. The combustion engine can then power the generator while cruising, which produces electricity and stores/recycles it in the batteries for later use.
Hybrid models are becoming more standard extensions of manufacturers existing model and engine range due to their benefits, and we will see more added to the model ranges.
WHAT IS A PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLE (PHEV)?
A PHEV vehicle contains both a medium sized electric battery which powers the engine and an accompanying petrol or diesel powered engine. The “Plug-in” description is crucial because it refers to the need to plug the car into a suitable charging point to replenish the battery. The PHEV option is a step towards a full electric BEV vehicle but still maintains some of the traditional benefits of a petrol or diesel car, and as a result has its own considerations to determine if this is a suitable option for you.
The battery in a PHEV is much smaller and so is the range available to drive using just the electric battery. Typically, these vehicles can travel between 20-80 kms via the electric engine, which does vary significantly by manufacturer and model. Once the electric power has been used then the traditional petrol or diesel engine takes over and operates in the usual manner while fuel is available. For short trips it may be possible to undertake this solely using the battery power.
ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
- Fill up for less; Charging a battery from empty to full costs far less than a tankful of fuel.
- Leave nothing behind; The CO2 output of your daily commute is precisely zero.
- Get a simpler service; Electric vehicles have far fewer moving parts than petrol or diesel cars, making them easier to service.
- €120 motor tax per annum.
- Government grants available.
- Don’t wait a second; When you put your foot on the accelerator of a petrol or diesel car, there is a “lag” before the car actually accelerates With an electric vehicle, acceleration is instantaneous, for a more responsive and fun driving experience.
DISADVANTAGES OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
- Range; Typically, BEV models range from 200-400 kms, this varies greatly by model and size.
- Current infrastructure; Limited charging points can affect journeys.
- Higher initial purchase cost compared to petrol and diesel equivalents.
- High insurance and repair costs.
- Carrying of roof racks and heavy loads will reduce range.
ADVANTAGES OF HYBRID VEHICLES
- Able to travel further than electric vehicles without recharging.
- Ability to refuel the tank means no waiting around for charging.
- More environmentally friendly with low fuel consumption and emissions.
- Versatility and adaptability as both concepts offer regenerative charging . Ability to charge via a 120V/240V household plug socket is also offered through plug-in hybrid.
DISADVANTAGES OF HYBRID VEHICLES
- High initial vehicle costs.
- Less environmentally friendly than fully electric vehicles.
- Significant fuel savings can only be made when the vehicle has amounted a high number of kilometers.