What is an electric vehicle?
It is a vehicle that uses electricity stored in the battery instead of conventional fuels (petrol, diesel or gas).
Vehicles which in addition to electric engine have an internal combustion engine are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles do not cause air pollution. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles do cause pollution, although less than conventional vehicles.
Construction of an electric vehicle is very simple – on average it consists of 450 fewer moving parts than conventional cars.
How electric vehicles are charged?
Battery of an electric vehicle is charged like a battery of a mobile phone. The most convenient way to do this is during the night when the car is not used, and price of electricity is lower.
It takes 6-8 hours, depending on the battery capacity to fully charge it from a household 220-volt socket.
Using special electric vehicle quick charging stations electric vehicle can be fully charged in 15-30 minutes.
The distance that can be driven with one charge (range) is 50-200 km or an average of 100 km. The range depends on weight of the vehicle, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, driving habits (therefore economic driving is important) and use of additional energy consumers, such as a heater. The main factor influencing the range is capacity of the battery.
Around 27 public charging stations are currently operating in Latvia, 16 of them are located in Riga.
By 2020 it is planned to complete construction of the Latvian national charging network, installing 235 charging stations.
How to drive an electric vehicle?
Driving an electric vehicle is similar to driving a conventional car equipped with an automatic gearbox. However, the electric motor operates so quietly that it can hardly be heard when driving slowly.
Comfort, manoeuvrability, safety and durability of electric vehicles is equal to that of conventional cars of the corresponding class.
Electric cars are able to accelerate very quickly: the current drag race speed record is 0.4 km in 8.8 seconds (average speed 165 km/h).
How much does an electric vehicle cost?
Currently, electric vehicles are produced by most leading car manufacturers such as BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and others. American company Tesla is specializing in production of electric vehicles only.
At present, the cheapest available electric car (e-Aixam) costs around 15 000 EUR, while the exclusive Rolls Royce Phantom Electric costs around 1.4 million EUR.
The most expensive part is the electric battery, which provides manufacturers up to 8 year warranty.
Although electric vehicles are usually 1.5-2 times more expensive than the traditional fuel vehicles of the respective class, their operating costs are much lower. For example, if average daily mileage is 80 km, monthly expenses for the fuel are about 200 EUR (about 8.3 EUR/100 km), while electricity costs for this distance will only be around 50 EUR (about 2.1 EUR/100 km).
Why choose electric vehicle?
Electric vehicles reduce air pollution and traffic noise in urban areas. One petrol engine car produces an average of 4-5 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Operating costs of electric vehicles are lower than those of conventional cars.
Electric vehicles are very efficient, with energy efficiency ratio up to 80%. For conventional cars, this figure is only 15-40%.
Electric cars are as powerful as conventional cars, but due to smaller size of electric vehicles their manoeuvrability in heavy traffic is better.
Users of electric vehicles are offered various incentives, such as tax exemptions, free parking, rights to use public transport lanes and other.
The first electric cars were created back in the early 19th century.
The biggest number of electric vehicles has been sold in Japan. It is followed by the US, China, France and Norway.
Latvian built OSCar eO is the world’s first electric car, which has completed all three distances of Dakar Rally. In 2012 Andris Dambis and Maris Saukans used it to travel 8,400 km through Argentina, Chile and Peru.
In June 2015 rally team led by Andris Dambis driving Latvian built electric sports car eO PP03 won the “Pikes Peak International Hill Climb” competition, setting a new world record of the electric cars category.