- Comparison of operating costs between combustion engines and e-cars
- The thing with the lithium-ion battery
- Reach, a variable topic in everyday life
- Recommendation to keep the overview
From time to time readers come from electric car news.net on our portal. In this case, Peter reported on his everyday life as an electric car driver. He goes into both the advantages and disadvantages of an electric car in everyday life. Above all, it gives some important food for thought that you should consider before buying an electric car. But it’s best to read for yourself.
An electric car has many advantages over a car with a combustion engine. Anyone who has driven it once will be amazed by the simple operation and rapid acceleration. When it comes to a stop at a traffic light, it consumes no energy. When the light turns green, you can start driving again without having to worry about the engine stalling. Some of the energy is recovered when braking, but the brakes are rarely used. Maintenance is also easier and cheaper. No oil change, no spark plug replacement, no cooling water. The purchase has also become cheaper thanks to the subsidies. However, there are a few things you should know before you decide to buy one.
Comparison of operating costs between combustion engines and e-cars
Cars with internal combustion engines and electric cars require roughly the same amount of energy to drive them. With my Nissan Leaf, which I have been driving for eight years, this is an average of 15 kWh per 100 km. At a price of €0.27 per kWh, this costs €4.05. A liter of petrol has the energy of approx. 8.5kWh. Consumes a car with internal combustion engine 6 l to 100 km these are 51 kWh for the price of 8,40 € at a liter price of € 1.40. The reason for the different costs is that the electric car uses at least 80% of the supplied energy for propulsion, while the combustion engine car only does this by 25%. The rest goes into the environment as heat.
The car with a combustion engine needs a gas station that has to be driven to. With an electric car, a power connection at home is sufficient in the best-case scenario. But that’s where the problems begin. The supplied cable with the normal Euro plug should only be used if the socket is appropriately secured. At least 10 A are flowing. This causes the line to heat up and takes a long time. If other consumers are also connected to the line, it can quickly become too hot. Many electricity suppliers therefore require the installation of a so-called wall box in the garage. This is not always possible and costs approx. 1000 Euro.
If you are then dependent on public charging stations, the price for a kilowatt hour becomes significantly more expensive. In addition, you need a suitable connection cable for the charging stations at a price of approx. 300 Euro. Not all charging stations have the same connection. There are at least six different ones. There are adapters available on the market for fitting, but this is not recommended.
Another hurdle is the different payment methods. Some operators issue charging cards for the RIFD system. With some you can use the charging stations of several operators who have joined together. Then there is the option of having the charging station activated via a smartphone with a credit card. That doesn’t always work. The amount of energy at the charging station can also be limited. If you want to make a long journey using public charging stations, you should get detailed information. Sometimes charging stations are not in operation.
The thing with the lithium-ion battery
A car with an internal combustion engine can be filled up at any petrol station. Some also have a reserve tank. The fuel gauge shows you how much fuel is left in the tank and you can adjust accordingly. It’s different with an electric car. The energy reserve is given as a percentage of the battery capacity, such as with a smartphone. But you only know that from a new battery. It gets smaller and smaller over time. It’s like the tank of a car with a combustion engine getting smaller and smaller. The loss of capacity is unstoppable, regardless of whether the car is being driven or stationary. You can only brake or accelerate it. Therefore, it is recommended not to always charge the battery to 100%, to avoid many quick charges and not to completely discharge the battery. For this last situation, electric cars have built-in protection. The temperature of the battery also has an influence. When the outside temperature is low or very high, the performance is lower. There is a display in the cockpit for the battery temperature.
The manufacturers give a guarantee of 8 to 10 years on the battery. Just what does that mean?. Loss of capacity is not included unless it is sudden and very severe. So you should be prepared for the fact that the electric car will need a new battery after 10 years. Anyone who wants to know how much a new battery costs will get no answer from the manufacturers, or an evasive one, in which they talk about replacing individual modules. I know from my Leaf that she is 20.costs 000 euros. An electric car without a battery is practically worthless.
Replacing a battery is also not as easy as with a flashlight. You can’t just put a battery from the Renault ZEO in the Nissan Leaf. There is no standard for electric car batteries. This keeps the competition at bay and determines the price. In addition, not every car workshop can always replace the battery or replace modules. For electric cars from Nissan, there are currently two companies in Germany that are allowed to do so with a license from Nissan, one in Bochum and one in Wasserburg.
Reach, a variable topic in everyday life
The manufacturers advertise with an ever-increasing reach. A longer range can only be achieved if the battery absorbs more energy. So the battery needs to be enlarged. This means more weight for the car and thus higher energy consumption. It’s easy to see that they all work against each other.
The specification of the range is the same as with the fuel consumption of cars with combustion engines. This is determined under ideal conditions. If you heed the recommendations for saving the battery, i.e. only charge the battery to 80% and do not discharge it below 10%, a new battery will only have 70% of its capacity. So only 70% of the range. If an unfavorable driving style or route is added to this, this can only mean 50% of the specified range. Correspondingly less with an older battery. As the battery capacity decreases over time, the range also decreases.
A battery can only be charged with direct current (DC), a voltage of 400 V has been agreed upon. But it is only available at the quick charging stations, which are rarer. The electric cars have two connections. One for DC fast charging and one for 230 V alternating current (AC). The fast charging stations are equipped with their own cable for charging with DC. In order for the battery to be charged with AC, this must be transformed to 400 V and then converted into direct current. That is why an appropriate converter is installed in every electric car. Its size determines the charging time next to the battery capacity. Which is shorter at the charging stations than at a household socket, is because the alternating current is actually a three-phase current – also referred to as a force stream – from which a phase is used on the normal sockets only one phase. However, the charging stations supply the current as a three-phase current and thus shorten the charging time by about a third of the household socket. Therefore, you can not use the cable from home at the charging stations. The wallboxes also provide three-phase current. But you should not confuse it with fast shop. The charging stations have different services, 11 or 22 kW or more. How much of which the car can absorb, but alone is dependent on the converter built in the car.
If you want to know how much energy has been charged, you can read it at most charging stations, for at home you need a suitable intermediate meter. There is no built-in electric car. In contrast to the petrol stations, which indicate the price per liter of the fuel, this is not the case with the charging stations. You only find out the price of the charged energy when you settle the bill.
Recommendation to keep the overview
It is a good idea to keep a record of each charging session: mileage, percentage before and after charging, charging time and the energy charged. This is the only way to get an overview of the condition of the battery and to estimate the range with the available energy better than the display built into the car. It may be reliable in new cars, but later you’ll be surprised if it drops faster than you’ve driven kilometers. It also assumes that you drive the battery completely empty.
An electric car is definitely more environmentally friendly than a car with a combustion engine. Especially if you charge electricity from renewable energy sources. Does that also apply to production?? This is still very controversial.
If you want to save money with an electric car, you have to think very carefully about what you want to use it for. With a high mileage per year, it becomes cheaper. If you have to cover long distances, always different ones, you can’t avoid good planning. Maps showing the existing charging stations can help. If you only use the car occasionally, you will pay more.
The last thing to mention is what should change if you want to encourage the purchase of electric cars:
- A uniform access and billing procedure for the public charging stations with price information.
- Design the cars so that the batteries are interchangeable and easier to change.
- Standardize the connections on the charging stations to two, one for DC and one for AC.
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