There was a time when it was easy to make fun of electric vehicles, while most of them looked like overgrown golf carts or some twisted orthopedic aid. If they seemed normal - they weren't, because they tore everything from the standard models that made them cars and loaded them with clumsy batteries that took up the entire trunk and moved the center of gravity of such a four-wheeler where it didn't belong. With all these shortcomings and ridiculous autonomy, global warming was just a small compromise that we were all somehow ready for.
Today, when the polar copper needs to swim between two icebergs longer than our government needs to form after the elections, such vehicles suddenly seem much less funny and significantly more tempting. Hand on heart, the image of electric cars has experienced a positive turn in the last ten years, and mostly thanks to the company Tesla, which managed to prove how electric vehicles, with the already obvious environmental advantage, can be fast, attractive and practical. At the same time, stricter regulations make cars with internal combustion engines less fun every day, but also less reliable. the house runs out of OHO glue. Sometimes, if we are lucky, a flag with a badly loaded carburetor would fall apart, so the whole street would collectively hallucinate for several hours. Unfortunately, everything that is nice lasts a short time, so the carburetors were replaced by electric and then direct injection, various euro and euro standards were introduced that choked the engine so that it would not choke us, lambda probes, catalysts, EGR, DPF and what not. When we reached Euro 6 somewhere, the air started to come out fresher than the one in Pancevo on a clear day, and I sensed that the end was near.
While the traditional auto industry is struggling to death, throwing out all the "greener" SUS engines, new companies are sprouting like flowers on the grave of everything that has developed in the last two centuries. And what they produce and offer makes more and more sense, and now it has already become clear to everyone, even the biggest skeptics, including myself, that the future is electric. For God's sake, Dacia has launched an electric car at a price of under 20,000 euros! What can we talk about next !? The big players have finally joined the game and started designing cars like this from scratch, keeping in mind that they will not have an engine, a typical gearbox, a differential, a fuel tank and much more. The result is vehicles of perfectly distributed mass, incredibly aerodynamic and unrealistically practical, often with two trunks (one standard in the rear, the other in the front). The absence of many classic components makes them simple, reliable and cheap to maintain while designers live their wet dreams free of functional requirements that would prevent them from doing so.
Battery technology is advancing, so you no longer have to charge your car once when you go to the store and the second time when you return from it. You drive practically for free, especially if you keep the four-wheeler on the charger at night when the TA stove, because then electricity is cheaper. You don't pollute nature with sound, let alone exhaust gases, and you enjoy maximum torque from zero rpm thanks to the very nature of electric motors. with speed it directly and linearly pulls your pet to maximum speed without losing momentum, only to return some of the energy expended a second later by regenerative braking back to the batteries. Although most of these things are heard from the media and friendly pub discussions, it seems to me that there are still a lot of unknowns related to this type of car, so why not search each of them individually:
Companies still have a problem agreeing on how to calculate the power and torque of their electrically powered products, and you will often come across different figures from site to site. What you need to know is that one or more electric motors of a certain type are in charge of starting one such vehicle, which are usually arranged on axles, although there are rare examples where the wheels have their own motor. The power and torque of all motors cannot be easily summed up, and the same motor combination can give different maximum values depending on the battery power that powers them. The advice, then, would be to ignore the features and focus on performance.
Electric cars are known for their unrealistically good acceleration, enough to embarrass even examples of famous sports pedigree brands. However, when it comes to top speed they are not at the level of their sooty competitors and most will struggle to reach the magic number of 200km / h on their fancy digital command tables. The fact that they have only one speed means that this limit is directly related to the maximum number of revolutions of the drive motors, but also that they go as fast as possible - they are almost linearly less economical.
Consumption per 100 kilometers is expressed by our small electrical friends in the same way as with a washing machine, ie in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This should not surprise us because they are driven by almost the same things as that irreplaceable piece of white goods, and even their sound is relatively similar and, in my opinion, extremely uninspiring. When the capacity of the batteries is divided (also expressed in kWh), autonomy, ie range, is obtained with that consumption. Much like they fabricate, not to say lie, for average fuel consumption, manufacturers publish rather unrealistic figures when it comes to range because they know it’s one of the main trump cards that will attract potential buyers. At the same time, the information is often schizophrenic because there are several agencies that perform tests and publish figures (NEDC, WLTP, EPA), but the reality is usually much worse than anything that can be found online or in a mega-fancy brochure. Whichever way we turn, the electric car charges more often and for longer than it drives.
This is perhaps the most obscure segment of coexistence with a single electric vehicle, but let's simplify: Most of them can be charged on a regular 220-volt shock socket, with it taking 24 to 72 hours to reach 100% battery capacity. This is meaningless, so companies supply different types of chargers with their electric cars, which shorten this painful process to some 6 to 12 hours. Depending on the manufacturer, there are far better (and therefore more expensive) solutions, so some of them advertise that charging from 10 to 90% takes only an hour or two. The trick is that the last 10% lasts the longest and that is why the length of the battery charge often refers to 80% of the capacity. In the best case, with the purchased vehicle, you get a lifetime permit for access to fast chargers provided by the manufacturer, and then that is one big concern less. All this, of course, makes far more sense in countries such as Norway, where you can you fill up in the best parking lot in the mall, while the Viking girls feed you grapes and whisper in your ear how wonderful you are to take care of polar honey. We in the Balkans will wait for that for a while, and even then, not everything will be so romantic. Rather, it will only raise the tax on internal combustion vehicles so much that, unlike the price of registration, you will be able to order one Norwegian woman and a couple of crates of grapes online. In doing so, knowing the infrastructure in these areas of ours, you will have to travel zigzag wherever you go, just to connect all the points on the map where the chargers for electric vehicles are, hoping that you will not catch fire in the process.
Not to mention the real benefits for the environment. It is okay to think that an electric car does not emit harmful gases, but only if the electricity it charges is produced by renewable sources, hydroelectric power plants, windmills, burning methane that belches cows in abnormal quantities and the like. If we make electricity by burning coal or fuel oil, and then we talk about how we take care of Mother Nature, Meda will think that we are hypocrites and, what is worst, she will be right. At the same time, no matter how difficult it is to calculate, there is a coefficient that European countries have established regarding the ratio of the price of fuel and electricity. That ratio is currently 5.1, which means that a car that consumes an average of 15.3 kWh per 100 kilometers traveled costs the owner the equivalent of a diesel that swallows an average of 3 liters of this precious liquid. Very little, but not zero.
Another big problem and topic that many from this fast-growing branch of industry avoid is the production of batteries, ie limited stocks of lithium in the world on the one hand, and pollution and energy consumption in the process of such production on the other. To make matters worse, batteries have their own lifespan, just like in mobile phones and laptops, they weaken over time and require more frequent recharging. Even if this problem is solved, there are objective obstacles in the significant progress of increasing the capacity in a somewhat compact package, which means that the damn range that is so important to us will not progress significantly in the foreseeable future.
And that brings me to my biggest concern and the reason why I won't be buying some EVs in the near future ... If it happens that a Swabian strikes from the west or some radiation from the east, fanatical migrants from the south or a deadly virus from the north ... If for any reason we have to evacuate and flee, I will not be able to fill five canisters of electricity and transport my family 3,000 kilometers away from here, buying illegally bottles of electricity from the hood of a Moldovan of dubious morals. I will curse the day when I ran out of my diesel with which I could go to the end of the world, but that is why at least the polar honey will enjoy a wide range of floating icebergs for lounging.