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How do Electric Vehicles work?

Electric Cars and Vans used to be a dream for the future, but now the future is here. With more and more manufacturers developing All-Electric and Hybrid options, there’s never been a better time to invest. All Electric models run by incorporating a battery-powered electric motor that is responsible for powering all aspects of the vehicle, including the drivetrain. Hybrid options, meanwhile, combine such batteries with a traditional combustion engine, but are able to help offer added power and improve fuel efficiency. Below is a guide to how the various components work on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.

Battery The battery is a heavy component that can store a lot of energy, and is typically located deep down in the car to maintain a good centre of gravity. This battery is affected by temperature, with warm conditions meaning it offers a greater range. An auxiliary battery that powers the lighting, climate control unit, and other systems of the car is frequently different from the lithium-ion battery that typically powers the electric motor.
Electric Motor The majority of Electric Vehicles operate with a single motor which drives the front wheels of the car. However, certain versions that are equipped with four-wheel drive feature two engines, one on each axle.
Control Unit The amount of power that must be transferred from the battery to the electric motor is determined by the control unit. To mimic driving in a car that runs on regular fuel, power is drip-fed thousands of times per second. Despite this, many electric cars provide immediate torque, which makes acceleration quicker than in a petrol or diesel model.
Regenerative Braking The majority of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles incorporate technology known as “regenerative braking” in order to help boost the charge of its battery. This system converts the energy normally lost during braking and cruising into an electrical charge, storing the energy in the battery for when it’s next needed.

How far can Electric Vehicles go?

New Hybrid and Electric Vehicles can drive significantly further than those made just a few years ago. This is due to the rapid advancement of technology and greater level of investment from manufacturers. A modern All Electric Vehicle will typically achieve between 100 and 300 miles fully-charged. Plug-In Hybrid vehicles meanwhile, will often have a combined range of at least 300 miles with an electric-only range in the region of 30-40 miles. Mild Hybrid Vehicles utilise a conventional engine and cannot be driven solely on the electric battery/motor.

Common ways in which electric vehicles can be charged

Mild and Full Hybrid Vehicles recharge their battery packs using electricity from the engine and/or regenerative braking - all without the need for an electrical outlet. However, in order to recharge the battery in All-Electric and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles, an external power supply is required. This can be linked to a typical 13-amp wall outlet at home, a dedicated home wallbox, public charging station, or even a high-powered, quick charging station. Many workplaces now also offer facilities for staff to charge vehicles.

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Find out more about Hybrid & Electric Vehicles

Visit our dedicated "Which Electric Vehicle is right for you?"page to learn more about the many types of Hybrid and Electric systems that are available. You can also get in touch with the knowledgeable staff at Gates Ford today and learn more about how the Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in the Ford line-up operate. Contact our dealerships in Greater London, Hertfordshire, and Essex now.