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In the coming years, many Americans will be driving electric vehicles. This is great for our environment and will lessen our dependence on foreign oil. But before you jump into an EV, here are 4 things that new electric vehicle owners need to learn to deal with in order to enjoy their EV.
Most EVs have less range than most gas powered vehicles (although this is changing), with batteries being a significant portion of an EVs cost.
The battery in your car needs electricity to function, which means it has a limited range depending on how much charge it has left at any given time. Owners of an electric vehicle need to carefully plan long distance travel, since recharging takes more time (which is our next point).
Charging, or refilling, an EV takes significantly longer than a gas tank. Usually you can refill a gas vehicle in less than 5 minutes. Even the latest generation “fast charge” EV’s can take an hour to recharge about 80% of the batteries full charge.
In emergency situations, you cannot carry a gallon of gas in a tank to refill an electric vehicle. When you “run out of gas” you are stuck and will likely require a town to a charging station or home.
In addition, there is not enough charging infrastructure yet that comes close in comparison as to having a gas-station on nearly every city block. Most homes do not have a EV charger as well, so owners will need to consider the cost of installing one.
Batteries also perform worst in cold weather as their electrons are slower to move (more resistance). Warm electrons face less resistance and are what most EVs are rated for. Expect to lose approximately 20% of range or more in temperatures below freezing.
Idling in cold weather
Compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE(, which needs to shed heat from the engine and has a complex system designed to keep it from overheating, EVs do not generate excessive heat that can be used to heat the cabin. So, idling and keeping the cabin at a comfortable temperature for occupants will eat into the batteries charge significantly. Simply idling for 30 minutes, running the heat can use 5 to 10 miles of range!
Newer Teslas feature an electric heat pump, which is a modern electric HVAC system that is better than earlier Teslas. But, without “free” heat being out from an ICE engine, EVs will always have a disadvantage in this regard.