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A guide to electric vehicles

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Updated 18 Sep 2020

Rachel White

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Simply EVs

So you’ve looked at the heading and instantly thought, “yeah right there is nothing simple about Electric Vehicles”.

When you’ve taken a stab at reading about Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the past it’s not long before the amp hours, adapters, charging stations, distance and charge times zap your enthusiasm and it becomes an info overload.

I know, I’ve been there. It’s daunting and you & I are not the only ones that feel the brain strain.

It’s possibly the main reason why so many people have kept to their petrol and diesel engine for so long.

Well, charge yourself up for EVs done simple and easy.

EVs don’t have an internal combustion engine (ICE) - that's the big rattly thing under the bonnet.

They use batteries to store and utilise power to move the vehicle. The batteries will vary between vehicle manufacturers and models.

Some batteries can store more energy than others, which determines how far you can travel on a full charge.

Think of it like a mobile phone, you don’t usually leave home without charging a phone and even when you are not using the phone the battery still loses charge over time as the tech stuff ticks over in the background.

It’s the same for an EV. If you want to use it you need to charge it and how much energy you pump into the batteries determines how far you can travel.

So, just like a phone, if you run out of charge, then it dies, until you find a power source and reboot it back to life.

The optimal amount of top up battery charge is around 80%, you don’t want to over charge it as it can shorten the battery life.

So what is the lifespan of EV batteries? Most manufacturers have an 8 year, 100,000 mile (160,934km) battery warranty.

Being conservative, you should get at least 15 years out of EV batteries, depending on km’s driven and conditions.

The batteries will slowly lose charge capacity over time, this is a typical for rechargeable batteries.

There are various ways to charge an EV, you can plug into a power socket at home, into a charging station or other power sources, as long as you have the correct cable and/or adapter to plug it in.

Since we’re keeping it simple; some charge stations can be fast, taking just 30 minutes to fully charge and others can be slow, taking hours to charge.

The amount of amp hours stored in the batteries will determine how long you can drive.

This is where charging and planning a trip go hand in hand when there is a destination deadline to reach.

EV TERMINOLOGY - Become an EV guru with this simple list of common EV terms

Range anxiety is always thrown in with EVs. Owning an EV means planning ahead.

There are currently around 2000 public EV charge stations across Australia and approximately 250 of them are fast-charging.

As you can imagine there are ongoing infrastructure developments underway creating more charging stations and there are also many private charging stations popping up everywhere, even in camping sites.

Buying a brand new EV does generally cost more than an ICE vehicle and they do depreciate significantly, so why are they more beneficial and the way forward?

Other than the environmental benefits of less carbon-emitting vehicles on the road, EVs don’t require as much maintenance.

Servicing an EV eliminates the need for replacing items like oil, oil filters, timing belts, fuel filters and air filters.

An EV service involves scanning the system and carrying out checks on safety aspects of the vehicle such as suspension, tyres, brakes and lights.

You will also want to change the cabin filter regularly. Overall, they cost less to maintain, electricity costs are generally less than fuel costs and it eliminates a vast amount of waste oil and parts that come from ongoing servicing of an ICE.

PROS & CONS - The good and bad of electric vehicles.

EV’s have the same luxuries of modern-day vehicles, you don’t miss out on anything there.

They have new systems like regenerative braking which doesn’t just slow the vehicle down, it also generates extra energy to charge the batteries.

They also accelerate on a single gear, no need for gear changes and you still have the comfort of an air-conditioned cabin.

Some might even say they have a simplified car design.

When the EV brain fog lifts, what emerges is so simple that you might start to wonder why previous vehicles were created so complex in the first place.

Simply, EVs may be the wheels of the future but there is no need to let the electrics be intimidating, they are as simple as us and just need a good recharge now and again.

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Written By

Rachel White

Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars.

This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.