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Electric Vehicle Addendum

In the interest of keeping seniors up-to-date about today’s electric vehicles, this post is an addendum to my September 23 blog that clarifies and adds new information about EVs.

There are three types of electric vehicles on the road today, as shown below.

1. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (1997) are powered by an internal combustion engine (gasoline) and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries inside the car. Note: the hybrid has two different motors which can operate jointly or alternately. The Toyota Prius is the top selling hybrid car in the U.S., with more than 1.6 million units sold since 2000 thru April 2016.


The hybrid’s battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine which charges the battery as it run the car. Hybrids do not “plug in” to charge the battery as do the Plug-in Hybrids and All Electric Vehicles. Regenerative braking (sometimes shortened to regen) is used in all of the hybrids and the battery powered-Electric Vehicles (no internal combustion engine) currently offered in the U.S., plus a few gasoline-only powered cars. by John M. Vincent, March 20, 2017

What is regenerative braking? The kinetic energy of an object is the energy it has because of its motion. A moving car has a lot of kinetic energy. When you apply the brakes, that kinetic energy of motion is converted into thermal energy, which makes the brakes hot. The heat dissipates quickly because automakers design the brakes to cool very quickly, since hot brakes don’t work as well. The kinetic energy created by the car’s motion is wasted as thermal energy. The idea behind regenerative braking is to capture that otherwise-wasted kinetic energy and put it to use by converting it to electricity―not thermal energy―to help charge the battery.

2. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) (2008) runs primarily using its electric motor, powered by the battery, but has a back-up internal combustion engine power by gasoline. A plug-in hybrid won't start up its internal combustion motor until the battery runs out of power. Since the vehicle is a plug-in, its battery is charged by commercial electric power and regenerative braking, and not its onboard internal combustion engine like the Hybrid.

As of June 2016, the Volt/Ampera family is the world's all-time top selling plug-in hybrid car, with global sales of about 117,300 units, followed by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with global sales of about 107,400 units, and the Toyota Prius PHEV with more than 75,400 units delivered globally.


3. All Electric Vehicles (EVs) (2010) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. Its plug-in and regenerative braking charges the battery. The Nissan Leaf is the world's all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car.


4. Charging an EV:

“EV chargers are classified in three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast chargers.

“Level 1 (or type 1) chargers use a regular 110-V outlet, just like standard home plugs, but take a long time to charge a vehicle battery.

“Level 2 (or type 2) chargers offer higher-power output and use a 240-V outlet just like clothes dryers or air conditioners. They are used in residential and commercial settings, such as shopping malls and parking garages, and can charge an EV in about five hours. They cost between $2,000 and $5,000 to install.

“Direct Current Fast chargers (DCFC) allow for the fastest charge by allowing direct current into the battery without first converting it from alternating current, which Level 1 and Level 2 chargers use. DCFC uses a 480-V outlet and can charge a vehicle in under an hour, but they are costly to install and less prevalent than Levels 1 and 2 chargers. Note: not all EVs are designed to fast-charge. Fast chargers are significantly more expensive, requiring more than $100,000.

EV owners who rely on public charging will face significantly higher bills than those charging at home.

The United States currently has a total of nearly 43,000 public EV charging stations [gas station equivalent] according to U.S. Department of Energy data. Of those, the vast majority are Level 2 chargers. By comparison, in 2020, the European Union had roughly 285,800 public charging stations.

A charging station location is a site with one or more electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ports [pumps], as shown in the picture below.

Connector: A connector is what is plugged into a vehicle to charge it. Multiple connectors and connector types can be available on one EVSE port [pump], but only one vehicle will charge at a time. Connectors are sometimes called plugs.

Chargers are distributed very unevenly across the country, with California having nearly the same amount of charging stations [gas stations] as the 39 states with the lowest count combined.


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