Electric cars & all you need to know
Electric cars actually go by the name Electric Vehicles or EV. I didn’t even know this! Did you? Sit back and relax as we go through this journey to learn about EVs together. I mean, we all know of EVs, but how many of us actually know anything other than being able to yell out “Tesla!”? With the world going more and more green (you’ve all heard about the toothbrushes and straws, right?), EVs are more relevant today than ever before and according to the New Straits Times, the government hopes for Malaysia to be the hub for Southeast Asia with the aim of adopting 200,000 EVs by 2020. So don’t be one of those late joiners, start now and understand it all before it becomes all the hype in Malaysia!
So… the basics.
Electric cars or EVs are vehicles that do not use petrol to run. Instead, they have rechargeable batteries that use common household electricity and an electric motor. They’re as safe as petrol cars and have to meet all the safety standards that any other vehicle has to meet.
The electric motor in an EV allows for quicker acceleration because the torque or rotational force transmitted from the motor to the wheels is at its maximum – so hold on tight! On the down side, many drivers have complained that driving at high speeds feel a little lackluster in comparison. Basically, less “oomph”, lah. But don’t worry, engineers are working on this! As for distance, it can go further than 400KM on one charge and a full charge takes less than 30 minutes if using a rapid charge point (more on this below).
It’s hard to pinpoint the first creation of an electric car. But successes in its technology have been dated back to as far as the 1800s! That’s right! People were still using horses as their main form of transportation but as countries began to prosper, so did its people and their ability to innovate and buy. Check out these old-timey ads selling electric cars, circa 1910:
Why did people have a use for electric cars in the 1900s? Unlike gasoline cars, there was no bad smell and you didn’t need the strength of Captain America’s muscles to crank up the car by hand. Steam powered cars required a wait time before being able to move, sometimes up to 45 minutes – ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! While electric cars back then had an even shorter range, it was fine as there were really only good enough roads for vehicles within the town area.
If it was all great, why didn’t we stick to electric? Why didn’t we evolve to use better and better versions of EVs? Here’s the story of their fall: By 1912, electric cars cost almost 3 times more than a gasoline car in America. In the same year, the electric starter was created, eliminating the hand crank and thus, one of the major selling points of the electric car. By 1935, electric cars were pretty much gone.
So then why the sudden rise once again? I’m sure you can guess this one though we’ll be going further into that below… But basically, fuel is a non-renewable source. And it’s depleting. What happens when something is no longer an easy to get commodity? Its price soars. And that’s while it’s available to us now… Someday it won’t be. Funny how things have come full circle, huh?
Why the hype?
Everybody wants to be part of the green revolution to save the world! EVs emit no pollutants like greenhouse gasses (GHG) as there is no gas to burn. With an EV, 95% of the energy created is put into moving the car whereas with the internal combustion engine of a normal car, only 30% is used for motion while the rest of the energy is lost to heat or noise. Furthermore, gas emissions actually kill. As time goes on, we as humans have forgotten something so simple – the importance of breathing in clean air.
While the first-time investment is a painfully high price, maintenance is much lower than a normal car. And you’ll never have to spend a dime on dreaded petrol again! ChargeEV is a company that’s set up over 200 charging stations all over Peninsular Malaysia and is constantly adding more. You just pay a yearly subscription cost of RM240 and BAM, that’s it. Charge your car at any of their stations for no additional cost! You could even buy a charging station and set one up at your house to charge your car overnight as you would your phone. While rapid chargers like the ones provided by ChargeEV take less than a half hour, home ones can take as long as 6 hours or so. Charging a car will someday become second nature to us so that isn’t really a problem.
Save the world, save money in the long run… It sounds like a pretty good deal, eh?
Alright, now that you know about EVs, let me drop some sad news into your happy, green bowl: Unless Malaysia’s national power grid stops heavily relying on coal and fossil fuels, using an EV would be counter-productive. Actually, it might make things worse. How? Well, we charge an EV using electricity and where does our country’s electricity come from? Mainly through the burning of coal and fossil fuels! While using an EV will reduce GHG, charging it will produce GHG.
I know what you’re thinking: I just learned all of this about EVs and now you’re saying it’s pointless? No! Knowledge is power. And now that you know, you can stay on top of the news, listening for when change happens and you can make an informed decision, my friend! Also, fret not because I have a great solution for you in the meanwhile; Hybrid Vehicles. It’s a good compromise towards a sustainable future. Stay tuned for the next article where we go in depth on Hybrid Vehicles, so you can learn the ins and outs of that!