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 global electric vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!
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The Skoda Octavia PHEV Hatchback
Skoda Auto, more commonly referred to as Skoda, is headquartered in the Czech Republic. The company was established in 1895. In 1991, the company become part of the German automotive group, Volkswagen. Skoda vehicles are sold in over 100 countries. The SKODA electric vehicles range includes:
- SKODA ENYAQ iV SUV
- SKODA OCTAVIA iV plug-in hybrid hatchback
- SKODA OCTAVIA plug-in hybrid estate
- SKODA SUPERB iV plug-in hybrid hatchback
- SKODA SUPERB iV plug-in hybrid estate
The Skoda Octavia family car has been manufactured since 1996. The model is currently on its fourth generation. The Octavia has sold well since its introduction, with more than five million cars sold. The fourth generation Octavia was unveiled in Prague in November 2019. Deliveries commenced in 2020. The Skoda Octavia is also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). PHEVs are perfect for individuals and families:
- Keen to take a step towards lower emission and environment-friendly driving.
- Need a vehicle for extensive and regular long-distance travelling.
- Have limited access to private or public EV charging stations.
- Do a number of short commutes (30 miles and below) on a regular basis.
- Keen to save money.
The Skoda plug-in electric hatchback has a 13.0 kWh EV battery with a WLTP zero-emission electric range of 41 miles. Depending on driving style, weather condition and the services used in the EV, expect a real world range closer to 35 miles. However, that would be more than sufficient for most daily commutes using the EV battery i.e. driving emission-free and also saving money (the running cost per mile of an EV is far lower than a petrol or diesel car). Bottom-line driving on electric miles is both cost efficient and eco-friendly!
The Skoda plug-in electric car is practical and family-friendly, with amply space for short and long commutes. The electric vehicle (EV) is cheap to run on the zero-emission electric mode.
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:||Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)|
|Engine:||Petrol-Electric (1.4 TSI iV)|
|Available In India:||No|
|Trims (3 Options)|
|Good interior and boot space. Practical family car||Electric performance won’t set the heart racing|
|What Car? Car of the Year 2021 plug-in hybrid||On board charger limited to 3.6 kW AC|
|Cheap to run on electric mode||Cheaper alternatives available|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in one battery size (13 kWh)|
|Charging:||DC rapid charging not available. On board charger: 3.6 kW AC|
|Charge Port:||Type 2|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||22g-36g (CO2/km)|
|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
|Plug-In Hybrid 1.4 TSI iV|
|EV Battery Capacity:||13.0 kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||41 miles|
|Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/mil):||233 – 236|
|Fuel Consumption (mpg)||249.9 – 284.1|
|Charging:||DC rapid charging not available. On board charger: 3.6 kW AC|
|Top Speed:||137 to 140 mph|
|0-60 mph:||7.3 to 7.7 seconds|
|Drive:||Available in FWD and AWD|
|Electric Motor (kW):||N/A|
|Max Power (PS):||204 – 245|
|Total Weight (kg):||2,040 – 2,135|
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.
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.