Different Types of Electric Cars & How They Work

The rise in interest in electric cars has been quite substantial in recent years as technology has moved on leaps and bounds, prices have begun to come down and the government has offered various incentives for opting for electric vehicles, such as avoiding the congestion charge in London. Behind all these factors is the main motivation that most people have for looking into purchasing an electric car: to reduce the impact that they have on the natural world. Without a doubt, electric cars are far more environmentally friendly than a traditional petrol or diesel driven engine. The key to this difference lies in the fact that no fuel is combusted to power the electric car, as it is driven from a battery power source that is simply charged from a home electricity supply. Whilst the range of electric cars is not currently as wide as it is likely to be in the years to come, there is still a good selection of models to choose from.

The pure electric car is probably the most environmentally friendly car on the market as it is powered only by electricity. The car stores power in a battery that is charged by simply plugging it into a domestic electricity supply and can travel around 250 miles before it needs to be recharged. Electric cars can be more expensive than a regular petrol vehicle, for example the new Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car starts from £23,990 whereas the larger Colt model by Mitsubishi is less than half the price at £9,505, primarily because of the cost of the battery, and for many people, this is something that stops them purchasing an electric vehicle. However, with the rises in petrol costs, the increase in the numbers of electric charging stations around the country, and the potential reductions in the price of the batteries for these electric wonders that are predicted in the next couple of years, the electric car could soon become the most economical option around, as well as the most environmentally sound.

The hybrid works with a combination of an electric motor and a traditional combustion engine. Most hybrid cars now use technology that allows regenerative braking to be used to recharge the car’s battery. At low speeds, or where the engine is idling, the combustion engine will turn off so that the electric motor can take over to power the car. Because the combustion engine is receiving assistance from the electric motor, it can be a smaller size than would be required in a regular petrol car, so less petrol is used and emissions are much lower.

The plug in hybrid is a kind of half and half electric car that is very similar to the traditional hybrid car. It does have a standard combustion engine but is still designed to use less power than a normal vehicle as it also has electric power. The way it works is that the plug in hybrid has large battery packs, which are charged over night from a household supply, and will provide enough power for the car to travel a small proportion of its daily distances using just the electricity. This saves money in terms of petrol costs and reduces the amount of emissions from the car as the combustion engine can be used less.

These are just three of the options for the different types of electric cars currently on the market. As the demand for these smart vehicles increases and the costs become more palatable to consumers, designs for electric vehicles will no doubt become more numerous and even more cost effective.