Energy 101: Electric Vehicles

Wouldn’t it be pretty cool
to do all of your daily driving without ever having to fill up at a gas station? Well,
that’s quickly becoming a reality for people who drive electric vehicles,sometimes called
EVs. EVs are gaining popularity. And with good
reason,they’re convenient; they’re sleek and quiet; they keep our air clean.
And for most of the short-distance driving we do, they’re the perfect way to get from
point A to point B safely, reliably, and comfortably. Okay, have a look at the numbers. More than
80% of Americans drive less than 40 miles round trip for their daily commute, which
is just right for an EV. Many of today’s electric cars can go up
to 100 miles on a single charge. That’s because battery technology continues to advance,
becoming smaller while storing more energy. Lithium ion batteries, like the ones in cell phones, are a big reason for that improvement. Here’s how an EV works. Batteries transfer
energy to an electric motor. The motor turns a drive train that turns the wheels. It’s
a highly efficient technology: up to 80% of the battery’s energy is transferred directly
to power the car. Everything is computer controlled, and a display
shows you how the car is performing. The display lets you know about how much battery power
you have left, and if you need to find a place to recharge, new software built into the car, or
on your mobile device, will guide you to the nearest charge point.
When you’re ready to charge your EV’s battery, instead of a gas tank, there’s
a power port. And instead of refueling, you recharge. Just plug it in!
Most people will probably recharge overnight when they’re done driving for the day and
electricity may be cheaper. But for a quick charge during the day, charging stations are
popping up in thousands of convenient community locations across the U.S.
Check out this extended range EV. It starts by using battery power, but when the battery
power runs low, a gasoline-fueled engine kicks in to power the electric motor, which in turn
drives the wheels. So for shorter trips, you can rely on electricity, and still take longer
road trips whenever you want. Anywhere you go, you can simply plug in or fill up.
EVs have a lot of great advantages: cleaner air, lower maintenance costs, and they help
reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
America has had a long love affair with cars. Now, we’re starting the next chapter, this
time falling for clean, comfortable, convenient electric vehicles.

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