Are today's battery-electric and hybrid electric vehicles right for you?
(NC)—Today, new car shoppers can reduce their reliance on petroleum powered vehicles by considering a model powered by electricity. Both the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) are making an appearance on Canadian roads.
These cars are plugged into the electric power grid to charge on-board battery packs – and both use electric drive systems. A BEV is electric-only, while a PHEV supplements its electric drive with a small internal combustion engine to increase driving range.
Electric drives are substantially more efficient than combustion engines and drivetrains. For traditional gas powered vehicles, a considerable amount of energy is lost through heat. The energy conversion efficiency from electrical energy from the grid to turning the wheels for electric vehicles is about three times greater compared to the energy conversion efficiency from the energy stored in gasoline to turning the wheels for gasoline vehicles.
Battery packs currently store relatively small amounts of energy which limits the driving range to between 100 and 225 kilometres depending on the vehicle. This range can be further reduced by other factors like cold weather, climate control usage, cargo, topography, travelling at high speeds, and aggressive driving. However, for many Canadians who travel less than these distances as part of their daily commutes, BEV's represent a viable transportation option.
A PHEV's battery pack can be charged from the power grid, enabling the first kilometres travelled to be driven solely on electric power. Before the batteries become depleted, the vehicle will automatically engage the internal combustion engine. While operating in electric-drive-only mode the vehicle produces no tailpipe emissions.
Prospective owners of an electric-powered vehicle are reminded that access to home charging is required – and while there are challenges and considerations when purchasing a BEV or PHEV, electric drives are substantially more efficient than internal combustion engines and drivetrains. New vehicle buyers should make an assessment of their driving needs in order to determine if these vehicles are right for them.
More information about the benefits of BEVs and PHEVs is available online at www.vehicles.gc.ca
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