How Are Electric Vehicles Charged?

Before buying an electric vehicle it is essential to gain familiarity with the necessary on-board equipment to prevent “charging” or, to use a current term, “top-up” problems.

It is important to check that the electric vehicle is fitted with a battery charger with a “standard” connection, i. e. suitable to draw electrical energy directly from ENEL’s grid and therefore from the power outlet in our garage. If it’s not then there is something wrong and you need to contact the seller.

This solution in the standard equipment fitted on an electric vehicle allows to charge the batteries in any place with mains electricity. Indeed electric cars have other various types of battery chargers. However, these do not allow to draw electricity from the mains supply but need special adapters or need to be connected directly to the charging points in service stations now available in large towns. The ideal solution is to have a battery charger on board the car with a high-frequency standard socket without the need to resort to external devices.

When taking into consideration an electric vehicle one needs to examine the costs to bear for the energy required to power the set of batteries. Models that allow to reduce energy costs are definitely the ones that allow to charge the batteries directly from the national domestic mains supply. Usually a full energy charge for a complete set of traction batteries for vehicles that draw energy directly from the mains supply does not cost more than 2 euros.

Vehicles fitted with a standard battery charger allow to optimise the time spent at home to charge the batteries. Indeed on average it takes 8 hours to fully charge a set of traction batteries. We recommend charging the entire set of batteries overnight, after the vehicle has been used during the day, in conjunction with the cheapest electricity tariff. It is also possible to charge the batteries for less time during the day for partial charges.

Partial charges do not result in problems affecting the runtime and/or efficiency of the set of batteries, as they are not subject to the memory effect. Precisely because they do not suffer from the memory effect, the set of batteries of electric vehicles has an average life of about 4 years.

A fully charged set of batteries of an electric vehicle allows for an uptime that varies between 70 and 100 km, depending on the model and set-up selected.

5 Electric Vehicles Worth Considering

The term “electric vehicle” is not used solely to describe those cars that run on electric power only. The industry now calls any car that has at least at electric option an EV, adjusting the terms accordingly.

Thus, a plugin hybrid is called a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV; the Chevrolet Volt fits this category. A straight hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, is an HEV while an FCEV is a fuel cell electric vehicle or what the Honda FCX Clarity is. Terms such as BEV represent battery electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric.

Regardless of how it is described, today’s car shopping consumer has several choices for consideration including the following five EVs worth your inspection:

1. Nissan Leaf — Nissan’s Leaf is priced about $36,000 and runs exclusively on electric power. Its range is about 70 miles, making this car perfect for the person who relies on a vehicle for a local commute. Its drawback is its limited range which means, like the Ford Focus EV, you’ll have to recharge before you can move on.

2. Chevrolet Volt — Is it an EV or is it a hybrid? Neither. The Chevy Volt is a PHEV and it has an electric-only range of 35 miles before a 1.4-liter gas engine kicks in. No emissions are emitted when this model operates in EV mode — the gas engine ensures that you can take long trips without having to recharge the electric motor. Base price is $39,995; you may do better buying the similar-sized Chevy Cruze for half the price.

3. Ford Focus Electric — The Ford Focus is already a popular car in its own right. The Focus BEV gives Ford its first major EV and is a good alternative to the Nissan Leaf. Its price point, however, is at $39,000, making this car one of the more expensive EVs on the market. Consider the gas version instead.

4. Mitsubishi i-MiEV — The “i” as it is commonly called is the lowest cost pure EV on the market. This vehicle retails for about $29,000 and with its federal tax credit in place can cost buyers less than $21,000, just a few thousand dollars more than a conventional gas-powered vehicle.

5. Toyota Prius — The Prius made this list should come as no surprise. The Prius is the best selling EV in the world and is now available in several body styles and includes a PHEV edition. The Prius has the broadest offerings of EVs available, giving shoppers much to consider when comparing new cars.

Most major manufacturers offer additional EV choices including Toyota with its Camry Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Chevrolet Malibu with eAssist and others. You may be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit with some new models and find state incentives such as rebates available to you as well.

The Basic Technical Specification Of RC Electric Vehicles Simplified For Beginners

When you are browsing RC automobiles online and decide to check the details of an RC electric vehicle that you are interested in (let’s suppose it is an high speed on road racing car), this is what you will likely be presented with, if you are on a quality, customer-focussed website, that is:

– SP28404 brushless motor
– SP28405 brushless electronic speed control
– Anodized aluminium centre drive joint
– Compact front/rear differentials
– Suspension arms with adjustable Width
– Anodized aluminium radio tray
– Solid shock towers and front/rear bumper
– High quality on-road tires with chrome sprayed rims
– 7.2v 1100mah Ni-Mh battery power required
– 7.2v 1500mah Ni-Mh battery or 7.4v 1300mah lithium battery pack is optional
– Anodized aluminium motor heat guard
– High duty front bumper foam provides
– Vehicle length: 265 mm
– Vehicle Width: 140 mm
– Height: 80 mm
– Wheelbase: 174 mm
– Track Width: 77 mm (F/R)
– Gear Ratio: 10.6:1
– Ground Clearance: 8mm
– Net Weight: 790g
– Wheel Diameter: 49mm
– Wheel Width: 18mm

How do you make head or tail of this fairly detailed specification for your rc electric vehicle, without it resulting in your eyes glazing over? Help is at hand right here. Let us go through these features one by one and you will be overjoyed with enlightenment.

SP28404 brushless motor
This is the latest, more advanced, powerful type of motor, which is reflected in the overall (higher) starting price of the automobile in which it is fitted. The benefits to you are a potentially speedier, more dynamically efficient RC vehicle, with the added bonus that it should be simpler to maintain. RC automobiles with brushed motors however, are the classic, conventional types.

SP28405 brushless electronic speed control
The RC electric vehicle’s speed is regulated with an electronic speed controller (abbreviated to ESC). This is the component that controls the drive motor mentioned above, together with the general electronics. Most automobiles come integrated with the motor and ESC, but are separate purchases in the more enhanced set-ups.

Anodized aluminium centre drive joint
More commonly known as the RC electric vehicle’s drive shaft, this is the central rod that runs from the front to the rear of the automobile. Being made of aluminium makes it lighter without compromising on the vehicle’s overall stability and sturdiness.

Compact front/rear differentials
A differential is a device that in most cases incorporates gears and is designed to drive each pair of front and rear wheels with equal force, but still allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds. Differentials on good electric vehicles are high performance.

Suspension arms with adjustable Width
The suspension arms provide your RC vehicle with powerful cushioning, as in a conventional car. Being adjustable allows the vehicle to be driven at optimum suspension on different terrains, especially when running over bumpy or rocky ground and when turning corners.

Anodized aluminium radio tray
This is tray that houses the in-built radio receiver in your RC vehicle. Being anodized gives it increased corrosion and wear resistance, making it harder than bare aluminium.

Solid shock towers and front/rear bumper
Integrated with the suspension system, the shock towers provide a damping effect on the overall vehicle suspension.

High quality on-road tires with chrome sprayed rims
The specification for this RC electric vehicle relates to an on road racing car. The makeup of the tires is important here. It is like differentiating between a mountain bike, with its thick, knobbly, high-friction tires and a road bike, with its slimmer, low-friction tires and a less prominent tread. It all comes down to performance requirements on the terrain that the RC vehicle was designed/intended to run on. The chrome rims adds a splash of quicksilver that finishes off the wheels nicely.

7.2v 1100mAh Ni-Mh battery power (required), 7.2v 1500mah Ni-Mh battery or 7.4v 1300mah lithium battery pack (optional)
7.2-volt nickel cadmium batteries are standard power sources, often referred to as battery packs. Although they are identical in size, they differ in capacities ranging up to 3700mAh typically. As the battery pack is extra, it is advisable to go for the largest capacity that you can afford, if you desire more running time (the downside is that you’ll need more time to charge it up).

Anodized aluminium motor heat guard
Unsurprisingly, your RC electric vehicle’s motor will get very hot. The guard thankfully provides protection against heat, which results from high speed running.

High duty front bumper foam
As with conventional, real-world automobiles, the front foam bumper needs to deliver maximum protection to your RC vehicle against impacts.

Vehicle dimensions
Length, width, height, ground clearance, net weight, wheel diameter and wheel width are self-explanatory.
Your RC electric vehicle’s wheelbase will be the length from the leading edge of its front wheels to the trailing edge of its rear wheels.

Track
Track refers to track width, the distance between the center of the left tire and the center of the right tire.

Gear Ratio
This is the relationship between the numbers of teeth on two gears that are meshed or two sprockets connected with a common roller chain, or the circumferences of two pulleys connected with a drive belt.

So, there you have it. We’ve just covered some of the basic technical terms that you are likely to come across when you are enjoying your time shopping for your future RC electric vehicles. Whatever you do, don’t be fazed by these terms – think of it as an educational experience, a journey of discovery that is a part of your enjoyment of RC electric vehicles.

Vehicle to Grid – How Electric Vehicles Interact With a Smart Power Electricity Network

What is Vehicle to Grid
Also called Vehicle 2 Grid or V2G, Vehicle to Grid is the process of connecting your electric car into the transmission electricity network. If you have an electric vehicle then you will definitely want to consider setting up V2G through a simple metering system and contract with your local electricity supplier.

What do I need to consider before deciding to connect my vehicle to the grid?

  • Firstly you have to have an electric car which can be charged by a standard electricity outlet.
  • The second thing you will want to do is determine some basic driving habits – i.e. if you drive almost your entire vehicle range to work and back every day, then there is unlikely to be much energy left over to swap between your battery and the grid, which makes setting up V2G a little redundant
  • Having decided that V2G connectivity is possible and feasible, you will need to look at the right products on the market to help you achieve this. I.e. which inverter should be used and which electricity trading contract will suit your needs the best?
  • If you decide suddenly that V2G is not good for you, how can you get out of an otherwise more expensive contract?

Once these basic items have been checked off the list, it is time to call up your utility and start the process of applying for V2G. You can then purchase a suitable inverter which allows you to feed back into the grid (this will be similar if not identical to the type of inverters used on solar PV grid connected power supplies). Of course you will have to decide what sized inverter to go for.

For example, a 5kW inverter may cost $1000 and a 2kW inverter may cost $600. Therefore you have to be sure that you can recover the $400 over being able to sell a higher rate of electricity in peak times. Some simple maths will help you work out the optimal solution, but just be aware of the various pay offs for each option.

Why is Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Good?
Vehicle to Grid applications have a number of benefits for all sorts of businesses and stakeholders. Vehicle to Grid (V2G):

  • Empowers the home consumer to make sensible choices about when they use their electricity through smart metering
  • saves the consumer money in the long run through effective electricity management
  • is green! Every time you supply the grid with electricity during the yearly peak energy demand, you are reducing the need to upgrade the electricity network with more transmission lines and generators
  • You are helping to bring electric vehicles (EV’s) onto the market
  • You are reducing your carbon footprint! This is a big ones these days
  • The electricity company can save money and reduce their unit electricity prices, or reduce the need to increase them
  • reduce the amount of electricity transmission line needed. I.e. the car transports the electricity to where it is needed.
  • Cuts down on the amount of fuel stations required
  • Reduces our addiction to foreign oil through the accelerated introduction of electric vehicles and ability to replace fossil fuel generation with renewable energy generation.
  • Allows more sustainable energy and renewable energy to be introduced onto the electricity grid, as electric vehicle batteries can now act as a buffer to intermittent generation.

The last point is an important one. Traditional transmission networks are struggling to cope with large percentages of intermittent renewable and sustainable energy generation, as electricity generation from these sources is largely dependent on the elements. Therefore to have the ability to store electricity somewhere is important. In many countries power utilities are approaching this by pumping water up a hill and regenerating during peak times (~60% efficiency) or storing hydrogen formed by electrolysis underground ready for re generation (~40% efficiency). Storing electricity in batteries is a much higher efficiency (60% – 90%) however is a little costly.

Japan uses large battery sheds to store small amounts of energy, however vehicle to grid systems also work very well as storage mechanisms and are likely to play this role in the future as more electric vehicles hit the market. How soon we will see such networks will largely rely on the countries commitment to renewable and sustainable energy sources, as well as the abundance of wind, sun and wave energy. Although many companies claim to have a green lining, short term economics of such projects still remains the number one driver for the introduction of such technology.

The advantage to the end consumer who is running a vehicle to grid system is the savings in electricity for essentially hiring out the storage space in their electric car battery. So as we can see, it is a win win for many as it not only reduces the stress on our electricity transmission and generation networks, allows more sustainable energy to be placed on the system with lower carbon emissions, but also saves the end user money whilst making electric vehicles more affordable. It also weans us off our foreign oil addiction through the cost effective introduction of electric vehicles, a topical issue as we approach peak oil status around the world.

For more information you may want to consult your electricity network to find out about their smart metering tariffs. You will also want to look into the purchase of an electric vehicle, or an electric vehicle conversion in able to make use of the vehicle-2-grid (V2G) technology. I guess we can all look forward to a cleaner, greener, cheaper carbon restrained future, and V2G is going to help us get there in a big way!