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 vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!
The Toyota Prius Hatchback PHEV
Toyota Motor Corporation, known simply as Toyota, is a leading global automotive company. The company is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world and is headquartered in Aichi, Japan.
Prius is a Latin word meaning ‘first’ and therefore quite appropriate for the Prius. The Toyota Prius has been manufactured since 1997. The Prius has built a global reputation as a ‘clean car’ since 2007 and has been acknowledged by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The Prius is now sold in over 90 global markets, making it one of the most successful models for the Japanese automotive manufacturer. The production version of the Prius PHEV released in 2012. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are suitable 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 newest eco-friendly PHEVs on the market will average between 20 to 30 zero-emission electric miles on a fully-charged EV battery. In most plug-in electric cars the EV battery will be below 15 kWh in capacity.
The Prius plug-in electric hatchback has a 8.8 kWh EV battery with a WLTP zero-emission electric range of 34 miles. Depending on driving style, weather condition and the services used in the EV, expect a real world range closer to 28 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). Depending on the cost of electricity, the cost per mile for driving on electric can be as low as 3 pence per mile. Bottom-line driving on electric miles is both cost efficient and eco-friendly!
The Toyota plug-in electric hatchback 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.
|At A Glance|
|EV Type:||Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)|
|Engine:||Petrol-Electric (1.8 Plug-in Petrol Hybrid)|
|Available In India:||No|
|Trims (2 Options)|
|Business Edition Plus|
|Practical, tried and tested||Infotainment system needs updating|
|Cheap to run on electric mode||Not the most inspiring drive or design|
|Extended warranty||On board charger limited to 3.3 kW|
|EV Battery & Emissions|
|EV Battery Type:||Lithium-ion|
|EV Battery Capacity:||Available in one battery size (8.8 kWh)|
|Charging:||On board charger: 3.3 kW AC|
|Charge Port:||Type 2|
|EV Cable Type:||Type 2|
|Tailpipe Emissions:||28-34g (CO2/km)|
|Warranty:||10 years or 150,000 miles|
|1.8 Plug-in Petrol Hybrid PHEV|
|EV Battery Capacity:||8.8kWh|
|Pure Electric Range (WLTP):||34 miles|
|Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):||N/A|
|Fuel Consumption (mpg):||188.3 to 235.4|
|Charging:||On board charger: 3.3 kW AC|
|Top Speed:||100 mph|
|0-62 mph:||11.1 seconds|
|Drive:||Front-wheel drive (FWD)|
|Electric Motor (kW):||N/A|
|Max Power (hp):||122|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,530-1,550|
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.
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