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What Is an Electric Vehicle?

What Is an Electric Vehicle?

What Is an Electric Vehicle?

EVs are vehicles powered by electricity and an electric motor rather than a conventional gasoline-fueled internal-combustion engine.

Electric avenues: if you’re driving a car that needs to be fueled up, chances are your vehicle runs on an internal-combustion engine (ICE), powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. Electric vehicles (EVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank and an electric motor instead of an ICE.

But Not All EVs Are Created Equal.

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are powered by rechargeable electric batteries. BEVs produce no tailpipe emissions and have fferently:no combustion engine.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are powered by an electric motor as well as a small combustion engine. They have an all-electric range from 20 to 60 miles and can be charged at a charging station.
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have an internal-combustion engine and an electric motor that assists only at low speeds. The battery is charged either by the combustion engine or through recuperation when braking.
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) use electric motors. The electricity is generated in fuel cells and can be stored in a small buffer battery. Fuel cell vehicles require hydrogen (compressed into tanks) as fuel.

The automotive future is electric—McKinsey projects that worldwide demand for EVs will grow sixfold from 2021 through 2030. Annual unit sales would go from 6.5 million to roughly 40 million over that period. In recent years, the COVID-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine have accelerated the momentum of sustainable mobility. Understanding EVs and e-mobility can illustrate how these vehicles are transforming the industry and helping to decarbonize the planet.

Are There Other EVs Aside From Cars?

The popularity of electric bikes and scooters, driven by their affordability and ease of access, represents a new chapter in micromobility. On the opposite end of the EV spectrum are e-trucks. Demand for them is booming in response to a regulatory push to reduce emissions in the logistics and transport sectors. EU regulations now require new trucks to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. California’s recent Advanced Clean Truck regulation requires manufacturers of commercial vehicles to start selling e-trucks in 2024 and restricts all sales of new trucks to electric models by 2045.

Today, e-trucks are becoming more economical for manufacturers to produce and for consumers to purchase and own. As a result of improvements in electric powertrain technology and declining battery costs, McKinsey predicts that within the next few years, the total cost of ownership for many e-trucks, depending on the specific use case, will be similar to or better than that of traditional ICE trucks. Toward the end of this decade, we expect that fuel cell electric trucks, powered by hydrogen, will also penetrate the commercial-vehicle industry, especially in heavy-duty applications and long-haul use cases, where pure battery electric powertrains might have limitations given battery size and weight.

And in the broader world of mobility, electric aircraft are also on the horizon. Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft could be flying above cities as soon as 2030. The global electric-aircraft market is estimated to reach $17.8 billion by the year 2028, according to a recent report. Funding for advanced air mobility, including electric aircraft, exceeded $8 billion as of March 2021.

What Is The Range of EVs?

Range is how far an EV can go before recharging, an important consideration for customers in the market for EVs. That’s because, at present, most EVs can travel only around half the distance of the typical ICE vehicle before recharging—and because charging stations are still few and far between, even in markets that have embraced EVs.

What is Fast Charging for EVs?

There are two types of chargers:

  • Alternating current (AC) slow charging (3–22 kW) provides energy for, on average, 30 miles for an hour of charging. These are found in private homes and in public charging stations. AC is also used in private homes and can be installed easily.
  • Direct-current (DC) fast charging (50–300 kW) provides, on average, at least 150 miles for 20 minutes of charging. This type of charging is available only at public charging stations and requires a significant investment to install.

Fast chargers are a considerable expense—as of 2022, the hardware alone for a 300-kW charger costs from $50,000 to $100,000, and installation can be just as pricey. The costs could drop by about 40 percent over the next five to seven years as demand for fast charging increases to reflect the expanding EV customer base. The greatest opportunity in the EV-charging value chain will come from on-the-go charging, which allows drivers to pay a premium to charge within an hour.

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