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 electric vehicles (EVs) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!
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The Fiat New 500 Electric Hatchback
The Fiat 500 electric car has its roots in the classic 1957 Fiat 500, a car that has been hugely successful and iconic (sold more than 2 million cars globally). The Fiat New 500 EV is bigger than the international combustion engine (ICE) car: 6 cm in width and length, 22mm longer wheelbase.
The compact EV has been positioned as a zero-emission city electric car. The Fiat electric hatchback has two battery size options (24 kWh/42 kWh), with a range up to 290 miles (WLTP), for the larger EV battery. The electric hatchback is suitable for city driving and even day trips! The electric car has a 11 kW on board charger and is capable of rapid DC charging up to 85 kW.
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 Options:||Available in two engine options. 70 KW 93HP and 87 KW 118 HP|
|Available In India:||No|
|Trims (4 Options)|
|500 La Prima|
|Perfect for city driving||Rear seats with limited legroom|
|Stylish, fun & iconic||Not practical for a larger family|
|One pedal driving||Limited boot space to carry luggage and other kit|
|Good zero-emission range||Expensive compared to some alternatives|
|Good turning radius||Blind spots|
|Level 2 autonomous driving||Parts of some interior cheap|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in two sizes (24 kWh & 42 kWh)|
|Charging:||2,3kW AChome outlet(single-phase 13A)(0-100%)MODE2, 11kW AC station (three-phase 16A) (0-100%)-MODE3, up to 85kW DC Fast Charging – MODE 4 (0-80%)|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||0g (CO2/km)|
|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
|Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Centering, Urban Blind Spot, Drone View (360° Parking Sensors), Rear view parking camera, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Traffic sign recognition and Speed Advisor, Attention Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Emergency Call.|
|Model: 70 kW 93hp|
|Engine:||70 kW 93hp|
|EV Battery Capacity:||24 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||118 miles (combined)|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||160 miles (city)|
|Electric Consumption (kWh/100km):||13|
|Charging:||50 kW DC Fast Charging|
|Top Speed:||84 mph|
|0-60 mph:||9.5 seconds|
|Electric Motor (kW):||70|
|Max Power (hp):||93|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||1365|
|Model: 87 KW 118HP|
|Engine:||87 KW 118HP|
|EV Battery Capacity:||42 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||205 miles (combined)|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||290 miles (city)|
|Electric Consumption (kWh/100km):||13.6|
|Charging:||85 kW DC Fast Charging|
|Top Speed:||93 mph|
|0-60 mph:||9 seconds|
|Electric Motor (kW):||87|
|Max Power (hp):||118|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||1365|
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.
Types Of Electric Vehicles (EVs)
“Electric vehicle” is an umbrella term, and a broad one at that. There are a number of different types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with its distinct characteristics and advantages. These include:
- BEVs: Battery-electric vehicles (pure electric)
- PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) combined)
- MHEVs: Mild hybrid electric vehicles (internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) along with regenerative braking)
- FCEVs: Fuel cell electric vehicle (electric with hydrogen as fuel)
The above “types” are powered either entirely or partially by electric energy and have different environmental impacts.
Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric vehicles, are powered entirely by electricity (i.e. the vehicle does not have a conventional internal combustion engine). BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions and help improve local air quality.
BEVs are also very economical to drive. A BEV can cost as little as Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive. Examples of best-selling EVs include, the all-electric Tesla Model 3 and the all-electric Renault Zoe. A BEV is charged by plugging in the electric vehicle to a dedicated electric car charging station (home or public charging stations). BEVs are well suited for those living in towns, cities and urban centres. Of course, battery-electric vehicles are also suitable for those living in rural settings.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) differ from battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in that, PHEVs use both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric engine for propulsion. Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the advantages of electric driving and internal combustion engine driving.
On shorter distances, the PHEV uses the electric mode to drive emission-free, using the on-board EV battery and regenerative braking. For longer distances, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles switches to using the internal combustion engine. With a PHEV, the vehicle can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive on e-mode, without any tailpipe pollution, and also be driven long-distances, without the fear of range anxiety! Most PHEVs have an EV battery of up to 15 kWh and can achieve a zero-emission electric range of up to 50 kilometres. No wonder PHEVs are fast becoming popular globally, with much potential or India. Like a BEV, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is charged by using an external power source (EV charging point) for charging.
PHEVs are suitable for those that drive long-distances on a regular basis but want to lower the negative environmental impact from tailpipe pollution. PHEVs are also suitable for those individuals and families that are seeking to save money by taking advantage of electric driving. The Volvo XC40 PHEV and the Volkswagen Golf 8 are good examples of PHEVs.
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)
Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a limited form of electric driving. These vehicles also use hybrid technologies (electric driving and internal combustion engine), but the EV battery is much smaller than a BEV or PHEV. Moreover, in a mild hybrid, the EV battery cannot be charged via an external source (i.e. EV charging station). In a MHEV, the battery is charged by capturing the energy released during braking, a process known as regenerative braking. MHEVs have lower tailpipe emissions, and are more economical to own, run and maintain than petrol and diesel cars. MHEVs are a better option than a petrol or diesel car, but not as good an option as a BEV or PHEV. Mild hybrids are well suited for those living in regions with limited charging infrastructure. Again, MHEVs have great potential in India, given the limited public EV charging infrastructure.
The Toyota Prius is a good example of a mild hybrid electric vehicle.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) also called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power the electric vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity and pure water vapour that can escape via the tailpipe. It is capable of generating electricity as long as there is a steady supply of hydrogen. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen at purpose built filling stations. Filling an FEC takes no more than five minutes.
FCEVs have a range of about 500 kilometers or more between refueling. Today, the only and major limitation is the very limited hydrogen refuelling station network globally. The Toyota Mirai FCEV is a good example of this type of EV.