Electric vehicles (EVs) are often compared to smartphones. Society has changed with the spread of smartphones, and many people who remember the world before devices could explain how they are similar and different from landline phones. In addition, the pros and cons of their impact on people and their behavior are obvious.
Now something similar is happening with electric vehicles. As more and more people switch to electric vehicles, we are seeing the same impact on people’s lifestyle as gasoline cars. In most cases, using an electric car means turning it off in the morning, driving all day without worrying about how many miles you have left on the battery, then returning home and plugging it back in. The experience is no different from a smartphone, but instead of a communication device, an electric car is a means of transportation.
This article explains the difference between owning an electric car and a gasoline-powered car, and looks at the everyday experience of driving an electric car.
There is an easy-to-understand difference between owning an electric car and an internal combustion engine (ICE) car: with an electric car, you don’t have to go to the gas station again, unless you need to go to the bathroom. But you still need to figure out how to keep your EV battery charged.
If you have a home charger, it’s easy to start every day with a fully charged battery and zero range. In contrast, most ICE drivers have to go to the gas station when their tank is nearly empty.
If you don’t have a home charging station, you can charge your electric car at a public charging station or at your workplace. The reliance on public charging makes the experience of owning an EV similar to owning an ICE, except that charging an EV battery can take longer than refueling an ICE.
To ease the “waiting period”, many electric vehicle drivers choose to charge their electric vehicles daily, at home or at a public charging station every night, even if the battery has enough charge for the mileage they plan to drive the next day.
Daily charging is especially convenient if you have a home charger. When you get home, turn on the car, and if you don’t want to, don’t think about the charging process until the next time you want to drive. At this time, you just need to unplug the plug, hang up the charging cable, and you are good to go.
Public charging may take longer, especially if the charger at your first destination is busy or out of service and you need to drive to find another one. The smartphone app can find nearby chargers, but it’s good to know the EV infrastructure in your area so it’s easier to find a public charging station when you need one. However, when using a public charger, you may have to sit and wait for the battery to charge, while at home you can plug in your car, snuggle up on the couch, and go to bed without worrying about what to do.
It can take 20 to 40 minutes to charge the battery from about 80% discharged using a fast charging station. The time required depends on your electric vehicle and the rated power of the fast charge. Depending on how much you need to charge your battery, using the slower Level 2 charging station can take several hours. Many public charging stations are located in places where people still want to kill time, such as shopping malls or sports stadiums.
Some electric vehicles make it easy to relax in the car while charging. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example, offers a comfortable driver’s seat that automatically reclines into what Hyundai calls a pleasant place to sleep or read. Since you can leave the car on while charging, the climate control and infotainment system will still work.
For the most part, driving an electric car is similar to driving an ICE car, but there are some differences. Some electric vehicles are “always on” and turn on automatically when you approach a car with a key fob. Like many modern ICE models, other electric vehicles have push-button start. Once you’re sure the car is running (of course the engine isn’t making noise, so look at the lights on the dash), switch to “driving” and step on the gas pedal to start moving.
Rapid acceleration highlights another significant difference between electric vehicles and combustion engine vehicles. Electric vehicles are noticeably quieter than internal combustion engines, and since there are no gear ratios, they provide smooth acceleration. Electric vehicles are so quiet that they are required by law to make sounds for passengers outside the vehicle at speeds below 30 km/h. At higher speeds, tire noise and wind more than make up for the lack of engine hum.
Another difference is that EV drivers often prefer single-pedal driving, which is exactly what it sounds like. With regenerative braking, some electric vehicles gradually come to a complete stop when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal, simulating a brake pedal. Others slow down to about 5 miles per hour, at which point the driver must bring the electric car to a complete stop. In any case, the ability to drive with one pedal means that EV drivers never or rarely touch the brake pedal.
Because they don’t have spark plugs, timing belts, or oil to change, electric cars are cheaper to maintain than gasoline-powered cars. Electric vehicle owners can also change their car’s brake pads less often, as regenerative brakes use an electric motor to slow down, thereby reducing pad wear. In addition, fewer moving parts in an electric vehicle means fewer things can break, reducing emergency repair costs. However, some scheduled maintenance items, such as windshield wipers and tire rotations, cost about the same regardless of transmission.
The Department of Energy calculates the cost of scheduled maintenance for electric vehicles at 6 cents per mile, compared to 10 cents per mile for ICE vehicles. Independent researchers from Consumer Reports found that EV drivers can save an average of $4,600 in repairs and maintenance over the life of an EV compared to an ICE vehicle.
Many electric vehicles are connected to the Internet, allowing drivers to use the official carmaker’s app to remotely control charging and heating or cooling (pre-conditioning) the interior when connected to the network. Preconditioning conserves energy stored in the battery, so you can start your trip with a warm or cold car and then continue charging.
The EV charging station app is also useful, as you can find charging stations and see if they are currently in use, if they are not working, as well as get more details about the charging station itself, such as charging speed. Some apps even let you reserve charging slots at specific stations, avoiding unnecessary waiting.
Owning an electric car is easier, quieter and cheaper than operating a car with a gasoline engine. You’ll have to make some adjustments, but if you have a smartphone and still remember life on a landline, the transition may feel familiar to you.
To learn more about the different types of electric vehicles currently available and coming soon, check out our shopping guide and new vehicle announcements.
Post time: Aug-31-2022