Thu. May 19th, 2022

A record amount of electric cars hit the road in the UK last month as the nation struggled with a fuel crisis that saw bowsers run dry.

More than 32,000 battery-powered cars were registered in September, and the Tesla Model 3 was at the top of the list as the best-selling car.

While images of long queues outside service stations are causing buyers to shift, sales of electric cars in the UK can only go up.

The British government has promised to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

It also bans the sale of new plug-in hybrids from 2035 to pressure drivers to buy fully electric vehicles.

But when it comes to electric cars, do you know your BEVs from your PHEVs and HEVs?

What is an EV?

An electric vehicle (EV), also known as a battery electric vehicle (BEV), running on electricity.

Instead of filling it up with gasoline, you can charge an EV from a power point in the wall or at a special charging station.

An EV battery can be charged in as little as 10 minutes on a fast charging station or for up to several hours from a standard socket.

EVs are easy to spot when driving because they do not have an exhaust pipe.

This is because the battery drives the car’s engine instead of an internal combustion engine.

Electric cars do not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change and cause less noise pollution because they are quieter.

They are also automatic – almost all electric cars on the market does not have gearbox.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council, around 5,244 BEVs were sold in Australia by 2020 out of an estimated 920,000 total car sales (0.56 per cent).

A parking lot full of Tesla electric cars.
Electric cars do not have an exhaust pipe.(

AP: Jon Super

)

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car uses both electricity and fuel to drive the engine.

There are two main types of hybrids: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and hybrid electric cars (HEV).

Plug-in hybrids have both a fuel tank and a rechargeable battery, which you can charge by connecting it to a power source.

A plug-in hybrid runs on electricity until the battery is almost empty, then switches to its internal combustion engine.

In electric mode, a plug-in hybrid is like an electric car: it does not emit greenhouse gases and it becomes quieter.

But when it switches to combustion mode, it will drive like a traditional car.

HEVs run on both electricity and fuel, but they cannot be connected for charging – they only have one fuel tank.

Instead, the internal combustion engine charges the HEV battery while the car is driving.

Both plug-in hybrids and HEVs have the ability to charge their battery while braking, which is known as regenerative braking.

There is also Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs), which uses a battery to help the internal combustion engine function better but cannot run on electricity alone.

A car fuel door with petrol and electrical options.
Hybrid cars run on both electricity and fuel.(

Reuters: Chris Helgren

)

What is an internal combustion engine?

An internal combustion engine burns fossil fuels, such as gasoline or diesel, to power a car’s engine.

It mixes the fuel with air to create an contained explosion that drives the parts of the engine that move the wheels.

This process emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Internal combustion engines are used in almost all forms of motorized transport – planes, trains, boats, motorcycles, buses, trucks, jet skis.

They are also found in machines such as chainsaws, lawn mowers and generators.

While internal combustion engines were essential to technological progress in the 19th and 20th centuries, they have cause significant air and noise pollution.

A car emits exhaust fumes
Cars with an internal combustion engine emit greenhouse gases.(

Reuters: Fabrizio Bensch

)

What is a hydrogen car?

A hydrogen car, also known as a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), is a full electric car running on liquid hydrogen.

From the outside, it may look like a non-electric car — you fill up the fuel tank and there is an exhaust pipe.

But inside, the hydrogen is mixed with air to create electrical energy that drives the engine.

Hydrogen cars does not emit greenhouse gases, just water vapor the exhaust comes out.

So are they quieter because they do not have an internal combustion engine.

Hydrogen vehicles can travel longer than electric cars but can only fill up at petrol stations, such as a petrol or diesel car.

This makes them suitable for network transport such as buses and long-distance cars that have predetermined distances and routes to travel.

A nozzle for hydrogen fills a car.
A hydrogen car is being refueled.(

AFP: Frank Hoermann

)

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