Electric vehicles are one of the most talked about topics in the motoring industry today. Uptake of plug-in vehicles is absolutely booming and set to increase exponentially over the next couple of years. In fact, official statistics show that EVs are behind the ongoing record breaking number of new car registrations. However although we hear about electric vehicles almost every day, there is a lot we don’t actually know about them.
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1. The first electric car was invented nearly 200 years ago!
Electric cars may be gaining popularity now, but did you know that Scottish inventor Robert Anderson created the first electric powered vehicle prototype in 1832? It was a crude invention which ran on a single charge, but was an electric powered vehicle nonetheless. The inventor improved upon his original concept in 1842, making a more refined and formal design. However it wasn’t until just over 20 years later that an electric car using a re-chargeable battery was invented by Gaston Plante.
2. Manufacturers are going to have to add in “engine” noise to electric vehicles.
After an announcement in November 2016, electric vehicles are required to emit a noise at low speeds. This is because the cars are actually too quiet and can be a risk to pedestrians who may not sense the vehicle coming towards them. This is especially true for visually impaired pedestrians. The new regulations state that the vehicle must emit a noticeable noise when travelling at speeds of 19mph or less (both in forward and reverse).
3. Charge points could overtake petrol stations by the year 2020.
According to research by Nissan, the manufacturer of the popular Leaf electric vehicle charge points will overtake petrol stations by 2020. They calculated this by taking the steady decline of the number of fuel stations in the United Kingdom, crossed with the sharp incline in charging points to identify 2020 as the point of crossover. Not by much (20 units actually) but summer 2020 is their predicted date.
4. Electric Vehicles could be charged whilst driving.
Just like mobile phones can be charged wirelessly by placing them on a pad, electric vehicles could be charged whilst positioned over a similar device. This presents a number of new innovative wireless charging options for electric vehicles in the future. Including building charge panels into certain sections of the road, drive through takeaways, in parking spots and anywhere else cars can go really!
5. In the UK electric vehicles may get their own priority lanes.
As part of the government’s efforts to promote clean air zones the environment department has put forward a number of suggestions which should be implemented by local councils. These include creating priority lanes for electric vehicles, much like what currently exists for buses. The plans even go one step further creating priority exit at traffic lights. It is hoped that these incentives will encourage use of environmentally friendly vehicles and clean up pollution in densely populated areas.
6. Electric Vehicle Registrations Have Grown By 2400% since 2013
Back in 2013 there were only 3500 electric vehicles registered in the UK, an absolutely miniscule amount compared to the 85,000 at the start of 2017. This just goes to show the meteoric rise in the popularity of EVs. The rise can partly be attributed to government grants and subsidies, but also to a big push from the manufacturers in terms of marketing and promotional activity. This growth rate is set to continue to rise with some sources citing that there will be no fuelled vehicles on the road as early as 2030.
7. Battery costs are falling exponentially making EVs more affordable.
The most expensive part of an electric vehicle is the battery, and this is what is keeping entry costs high at the moment. However as demand picks up and economies of scale take hold, the cost of producing batteries for EVs will drop dramatically. This will continue to drive down the price of electric vehicles, making them a much more affordable option and a competitive alternative to traditionally fuelled vehicles.
8. ‘Breathing batteries’ could give ranges of up to 500 miles.
Another gripe of consumers is that the range you can travel on a single charge, which currently averages about 100 miles when driving efficiently. However there is a new technology in development called a ‘breathable battery’ which could give a range of up to 500 miles per charge. The technology is still in very early stages, but if it proves promising and manufacturers are willing to work with the developers electric vehicles could be changed forever.
9. Maintenance and repair will be much lower than conventionally fuelled cars.
The engine of an electric car is much simpler than one powered by petrol or diesel; as it has fewer moving parts and no gears. Therefore the scope for things to break and go wrong is far less, and the actual number of parts which may need replaced or repaired are also fewer. This will translate to lower maintenance costs and less time spent on mechanic’s labour.
10. Insurance costs are currently much higher for electric vehicles.
On average the cost of insuring an electric vehicle is around 20% higher than a gas equivalent. This can be a deterrent for a lot of drivers; as costs are a big deciding factor for most consumers. Over time these cost should even out, with EVs being the same as or even cheaper to insure than diesel/petrol cars. However the industry is still in its early days, meaning insurers are not confident about the costs they may have to pay out against EVs currently.