Charged up Lightning.

The automotive world is transforming. The industry is being flooded with new technologies, most of it relating to Electric Vehicles (EV). That’s why it’s important to stay up on the latest information. Napleton News is widely read on the subject and has driven many of the electric vehicles on the market today. We bring this article to help you navigate your way along this new journey.

Think about history for a moment. Early last century, people were becoming familiar with gasoline-powered vehicles. There wasn’t a filling station on every corner and talk of horsepower referred to the four-footed kind.

Electric Vehicles Require A New Vocabulary

People planning to occupy the Electric Vehicle space need to learn a few basic terms. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll soon be discussing EVs like an expert. Let’s get started.

Battery Packs

Electric motor
The electric motor cover of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Contrary to what you may think, an electric vehicle is powered by an array of battery modules filled with many battery cells that are wired together. These modules are then wired together to form a battery pack. A large protective case protects the cells from moisture and collision damage. There are connections to move the current and cooling fluid. These are used to keep the batteries at a temperature that provides the most efficient operating state possible.

Skateboard Chassis

Skateboard chasssis
An EV’s modern skateboard chassis.

A skateboard chassis is an electric vehicle chassis that takes a shape similar to a skateboard with a center platform to house the batteries. At each end are axles with electric motors, as well as other components used on an EV.

Power

A kilowatt is the measurement of electrical power for electric vehicles. Each kilowatt makes 1,000 watts. One kilowatt equals 1.34 horsepower. With most people today familiar with horsepower as a measurement of vehicle power, here’s an easy way to figure out how much power your vehicle makes. With a 90 kW battery, multiply 90 kW x 1.34 hp=121 hp.

Battery Capacity

Ford F-150 Lightning street
City cruising in the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum.

While the battery pack is the gas tank of the EV, the battery capacity lets you know approximately how much energy is stored there. For this, they use a measurement called a Kilowatt-hour (kWh). This measures power in kilowatts that can be used over a period of time, in this case, hours. Each Kilowatt can produce 1.34 horsepower. So if you have a 100 kWh capacity battery, it can deliver 134 horsepower over a 1-hour period. That may sound impossibly low but under normal around-town conditions, you won’t use much of it, and can probably go a few days before needing a charge.

There is an inverse factor at play here: If you drive with a lead foot, you will go faster, and your horsepower will increase, but for a much shorter time and distance.

EPA Electric Vehicles Range

Typically found on a new vehicle’s Monroney window sticker (Named for US Senator from Oklahoma, Mike Monroney), the Environmental Protection Agency range is listed here. In the case of an EV, the EPA range is found using the same test used for gas-powered vehicles. The results are found by averaging 55 percent of the “city” vs 45 percent of the “highway” mileage measurements. Typically, EVs will use less energy so it is very possible to extend your range by driving “normally.” And as we always say, your mileage may vary.

Efficiency

Efficiency is measured by the EPA as Miles Per Gallon Equivalent or MPGe. It is a measurement that compares a gas vehicle’s mileage to that of an EV. They have determined that the amount of energy (heat) in a gallon of gasoline is 33.7 kWh.

In examining the Hyundai Kona EV, the EPA says it is capable of 134 city and 106 highway MPGe. That averages out to approximate 120 MPGe. By EPA measurements, the Kona EV uses 27 kWh per 100 miles.

Charging rate

Electric Vehicles Charging
The Mercedes-Benz EQS Gets charged on a DC Fast Charger.

The charging rate depends on three things: The battery’s maximum charge rate, which is governed by charging devices built into the vehicle, the amount of power the onboard charge can accept, and the power level of the charger itself.

Early electric vehicles had onboard charging systems that were dreadfully slow. More recent EVs feature faster onboard chargers to speed up the process. In the past, EVs with home chargers would add two or three miles of range per hour, which does nobody any good. Higher power “Level 2 Chargers” can add around 25 miles of range per hour. The fastest current chargers are the “DC Fast Charger” system, which are only available for commercial use. There is currently no DC Fast Charger for home use.

Electric Vehicles DC Motors

Gasoline vehicles get their power from an engine. Electric vehicles get theirs from a motor. Even though we are so used to calling the power unit the engine, in the case of an EV, it is referred to as a motor.

Modern EVs have one, two, three or even four motors to move them. Originally, a single motor would power some vehicles but just at the front axle. Rear axle power would make the vehicle all-wheel drive. Some vehicles, like the Acura NSX Hybrid have a pair of motors on the front axles, while the gasoline engine powers the rear.

They work like a light bulb: Instant on and instant off. Basically, maximum torque appears at zero rpm.

There’s so much more to learn. Come back to Napleton News, where we will update terminologies and information as it becomes available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.