Electric Cars: The Basics
For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:
- The History Of Electric Cars and Vehicles
- Different Types Of Electric Cars: A Short Guide
- Electric Cars and Vehicles: Pros, Cons And Myths
- What Is Regenerative Braking In Electric Cars
For those keen on an overview of the Indian and global electric vehicle (EV) market, simply scroll down to the end of the article!
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The All-Electric Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron
Audi AG, a Bavaria (Germany) based luxury automotive manufacturer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, the Germany automotive group. Volkswagen AG is one of the leading automotive companies in the global electric vehicle (EV) industry. Volkswagen has committed to an investment up to Euro 30 billion by 2023. It aims to sell 3 million electric vehicles by 2025 and launch up to 70 new EV models over the next 10 years. Audi electric vehicles (EVs) include:
- Q4 e-tron
- Q4 Sportback e-tron
- e-tron Sportback
- e-tron S
- e-tron S Sportback
- e-tron GT
- RS e-tron GT
The Audi Q4 e-tron electric compact crossover SUV is also based on the Volkswagen MEB bespoke EV platform (the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 uses the same platform). Production of the Q4 electric SUV commenced in March 2021 and the production Q4 e-tron version was unveiled in April 2021. However, the Q4 e-tron was first shown as a concept vehicle in 2019 at the Geneva Motor Show. The Q4 e-tron is available in the SUV and Sportback (hatchback) body styles.
The electric Q4 is perfect for families seeking a luxury emission-free electric vehicle (EV) that is both, practical for everyday commutes and also for longer day or weekend trips. The three rear seats have ample headroom and can comfortably fit three adults. The boot is a decent size (535 litres) and perfect for school and weekend gear! The interior quality is high and the driving experience is simply refined! The EV has two EV battery options (55 kWh and 82 kWh).
Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).
In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.
At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!
|At A Glance|
|EV Type:||Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)|
|Engine:||Electric (35 e-tron)|
|Available In India:||No|
|Trims (4 Options)|
|A high quality EV and good electric performance||Cheaper pure electric SUV are available|
|Interior quality and space good||Options increase purchase price significantly|
|Good looks and trendy||The electric range on the smaller battery is limited|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in two battery sizes (55 kWh and 82 kWh). Currently on the 55 kWh option is available in the UK|
|Charging:||100 kW Rapid Charging. On board charger: 7.2 kW|
|Charge Port:||Type 2|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||0g (CO2/km)|
|Battery Warranty:||8 years or 100,000 miles|
|Charging Times (Overview)|
|Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):||6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)|
|Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):||3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Rapid charging AC (43 kW):||0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):||0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):||0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
|Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):||0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)|
- Note 1: SoC: state of charge
|Q4 Sportback 35 e-tron|
|EV Battery Capacity:||55 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||198 miles|
|Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):||17.1|
|Charging:||100 kW Rapid Charging (on board charger: 7.2kW AC)|
|Top Speed:||99 mph|
|0-62 mph:||9 seconds|
|Drive:||Rear-wheel drive (RWD)|
|Electric Motor (kW):||125|
|Max Power (PS):||170|
|Unladen Weight (kg):||1,895|
India Electric Vehicle (EV) Market
India, like many other countries, is well positioned to benefit from the shift to zero-tailpipe emission electric driving. Road transportation is a major contributor to air pollution (over 30%), choking our towns, cities and villages across India. Diesel vehicles, in particular, diesel trucks and diesel buses, are significant sources for tailpipe emissions. But given the rise in the standard of living, since liberalisation, the demand for privately owned passenger cars has increased at an unprecedented pace, further worsening the air quality. India has more than 3 crores (30 million) cars releasing tailpipe emissions on its roads!
Though we have seen some improvements in air quality during the ongoing pandemic (as a result of lower vehicle traffic), India’s shift to electric driving will be key in achieving long-term higher air quality. Of course, apart from EVs, the continued development of green and renewable energy infrastructure will be key in achieving lower long-term air pollution. India has already demonstrated global leadership in regards to large-scale solar and wind projects! Hopefully, India will replicate the success with zero-emission electric vehicles.
Despite recent announcements and support from local and national government agencies in India, the EV market is still at a nascent stage, well, at least in terms of electric cars and electric vans. Two-wheel electric scooters and three-wheel electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws) have demonstrated a strong uptake, and India is poised to become a global leader in electric scooters and electric rickshaws (e-tuk). In fact, the ubiquitous e-rickshaw commands an impressive 83% of the Indian electric vehicle market. India currently has over 15 lakhs (1.5 million) e-rickshaws, with each EV playing a role in reducing tailpipe emissions on our roads in India.
Sales of passenger electric cars is still at an early stage. In FY2021, though the market witnessed a growth of nearly 110% from the previous year, the absolute volume of cars sold was only 5,905 electric cars. Currently there are less that 15 pure electric car models available on sale in India.
Tata Motors, the biggest automotive manufacturer in India has launched the Tata Nexon electric SUV. Mahindra Electric, another leading Indian automotive manufacturer, has also launched a number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), to include, the Mahindra eVerito electric car, Mahindra eSupro electric van and Mahindra e2o Plus compact electric car. International manufacturers, like UK based MG Motors, have also launched the MG ZS electric SUV in India. Also available are the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV and the Hyundai Kona electric SUV.
Global Electric Vehicle (EV) Market
Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), more commonly referred to simply as, electric vehicles (EVs) or as plug-in electric cars, have come a long way over the past decade and certainly a long way over the past 100 years.
Electric vehicles came into prominence in the early 1900’s, a time when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation. Archived black and white photographs from that period show famous avenues like Madison Avenue in New York city filled with horse-drawn carriages. In stark contrast, a similar photograph taken a decade later of Madison Avenue showed not a single horse-drawn carriage. Instead the avenue was filled with motor vehicles, a new invention at that time.
We are now witnessing a similar fundamental shift in road transportation, as polluting internal combustion engines (ICE) petrol and diesel vehicles are being replaced by low-emission and zero-emission electric vehicles. In countries like the United Kingdom, a leader in e-mobility, we can expect a comprehensive replacement of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 (UK will ban the sale of new ICE cars in 2030). The UK is not the only country that has a vision of a mass transition to zero-tailpipe emission electric cars.
Since 2011, the global electric vehicle (EV) market has increased at a year-over-year growth rate of over 50%. In 2020, according to the Global EV Outlook 2021 report, the global stock of electric vehicles (EVs) had surpassed 10 million units . In 2015, the Global stock was just over 1 million units. In 2020, Europe accounted for the largest share of new car registrations of EVs (1.4 million registered electric vehicles), followed by China (1.2 million electric vehicles). In Europe, countries like Norway, Iceland and Sweden continue to show strong leadership in the transition to electric driving. In Norway more than 75% of new cars are electric, followed by 50% in Iceland and 30% in Sweden.
However, this is not just a western phenomenon. A number of countries across the world have announced their support for electric cars, to include India. Pure electric cars are now common sightings in a number of global markets, and EV automotive manufacturers, like California based Tesla Motors are now household brands.
Traditional automotive manufactures have also shown significant commitment to the migration to electric engines, to include Volvo Cars, the Volkswagen Group, Renault, Nissan, Peugeot, Hyundai, Mercedes, Land Rover and many more. Forecast for the sale of EVs suggest up to 30 million electric vehicles to be sold before the end of the current decade.