Electric Cars and How They Work

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Within a few years, the total amount of all-electric car models has gone from a select, expensive few to well more than a dozen, with most major brands and a handful of new companies throwing their best technologies and innovations into these models. As the technology is constantly changing to create cars that are better for consumers, there's been a great deal of mixed messaging about their safety, "greenness," and convenience. While there's a lot to consider when buying a car, electric cars are far more convenient today than may people realize. To fully understand them, one must start with considering how electric cars work.

First, one must grasp that while traditional cars and electric cars may appear the same on the outside, with similar bodies, interiors, and even color palettes compared to their hybrid and gas-powered counterparts, the "guts" of the vehicle are completely different technologies that can be molded into any shape. No matter the specific model, an electric car usually has three basic parts: an energy storage unit, a control unit, and the propulsion unit. Energy storage is usually in the form of a high-end battery, with the most common being a sizable chemical battery. The controller is the brains of the operation, the gateway to the propulsion unit, often converting AC to DC power. The propulsion unit turns that power into physical movement, serving as the electric motor. It shares the most similarities with a traditional motor, though it is often a fraction of the size.

In electric cars from different companies, however, the three main components differ greatly. For instance, an electric motor doesn't need to live in the front of the car but could be mounted in the back instead. You could have several electric motors, even one mounted on each wheel. You can have several controllers. The energy storage component could be a huge lithium-ion battery (like in a smartphone), lead-acid battery, hydrogen fuel-cell battery, or some other new technology. That's why the range on many electric cars varies so much: The energy storage units themselves vary a great deal. Then, when you add in plug-in hybrids with a gas backup engine, there are added complexities.

Within a normal car, a series of messy, chaotic, minor explosions are constantly happening inside the engine, producing tailpipe emissions, which electric cars don't produce. A traditional car takes the energy from the repetitive explosions to create motion. In an electric car, you're essentially taking the energy from your local power station and using that energy to produce motion. That's why electric cars are almost dangerously quiet (they're not running on constant explosions) and why the availability of charging stations is so important (to draw more energy from a power plant). Many electric car owners will choose to install a wall charger in their home for convenience's sake. It costs about $2.64 to reach a full charge on a typical electric car battery with a 70-mile range. When combined with on-roof solar panels, the cost to charge an electric car can become almost nil (and you'll usually get a tax break, too). Usually, an electric car can be charged overnight (in about six hours), but Telsa's "Supercharger" stations can get electric cars charged in about an hour.

The new technologies in electric cars have lower lifetime emissions from cradle to grave, a lower cost of maintenance, and less noise and vibrations. While the main concern for many is still the range versus the amount of miles driven per day (as the range on these vehicles is often lower than 70 miles per charge), the costs have lowered substantially, with the cheapest versions starting at barely over $21,000. There's a reason why the first electric car was invented in 1859 but not refined until now: change is difficult because of the complexity of creating new charging stations, improving the technology so it's practical to use, and essentially reinventing a lot of how we think about cars. But while this progress has been slow at times, it's been for the better, and will continue to improve in the future.


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Arturo

25 years of experience
42 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Volkswagen Tiguan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - La Jolla, California
Arturo was efficient and extremely professional. I'll refer him to friends and family and call him for any issues related to my car. I am very happy with the service!
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto

Travis

11 years of experience
312 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Travis is great! This is the second time he has come and serviced our truck. I recommend Travis for any service ned you may have!
Subaru Forester - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Rosemount, Minnesota
Thank you Travis for your fast, easy, honest work on my vehicle today!! The first thing you did upon arrival to my home was find me a discount coupon for $50 off my service estimate. You did only what needed to be done in record time. You not only saved me lots of money, but did things in a profession manner. I've been looking for an honest auto mechanic for my whole life and would love for you to be it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You're the best!!!

Scott

32 years of experience
346 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Arrived on time and worked quickly. Gave me detailed information on his completed work and the details of my car. Answered all of my questions thoroughly.
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Nicholas

9 years of experience
251 reviews
Nicholas
9 years of experience
Lexus GX470 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Clayton, North Carolina
Nicholas texted me 30 minutes prior to arrival. Showed up on time as scheduled. He confirmed the work that I requested be performed. He completed the work, performed the road tested, and delivered my keys along with recommendations of other work that might be in my best interest. Was very pleasant, professional, and cleaned up after he was done. I was so impressed with the service he performed and the speed at which the services were completed. I have already scheduled a future service with Nicholas and will schedule any and all future repairs with him if he is available.

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