EV tech explainedFleet Management
You might be considering buying or leasing some new electric vehicles for your fleet. It will help to understand a few basics about this new auto technology.. EVs are definitely a bold new frontier for the auto industry, but fundamentally they function in the same way as a “normal” petrol- or diesel-powered car.
Three types of EVs
In New Zealand, there are currently three different types of EVs on the market. They are:
- BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles): This is a 100% electric vehicle powered only by the electrical energy in the battery. You charge a BEV by plugging the car into an electrical socket, and it also stores energy generated when you brake (this is called regenerative braking). A BEV has no tailpipe emissions. They tend to be best suited for shorter trips around an urban area but can also be used across long distances by utilising NZ’s network of fast-charging stations.
- PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles): These cars contain two motors – an electric one with a battery that can be charged from a socket, and an internal combustion engine, the same as a normal car. These cars will start and drive in electric-only mode until the battery is nearly drained, then they’ll automatically switch over to the petrol/diesel engine. They use regenerative braking and the two engines will work in tandem when the car takes a hill to avoid excessive battery strain. They tend to be used to people who frequently need to travel beyond the range of a BEV.
- Hybrids: A hybrid vehicle is not a true EV. It doesn’t plug in to charge. They are filled with petrol/diesel and this fuel charges the electric battery, along with regenerative braking, for use when the car pulls away from a stop or during heavy acceleration. They are more fuel-efficient than a “normal” vehicle, but don’t have the other advantages of a BEV or PHEV.
Is an EV different to drive?
Not really. BEVs and PHEVs still look and feel like a typical vehicle. All the controls and equipment are in the same place and the cars handle more-or-less the same.
One of the main differences is the use of regenerative braking. This harvests kinetic energy from the engine during braking to charge the battery and can be enabled as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator. Because of this, EVs can slow down much more abruptly than a petrol/diesel car. Many drivers find they hardly need to use the brake pedal at all.
You’ll also notice the decrease in road-noise, as the electric engine is almost silent. There are other lifestyle changes to consider because of the technology – namely, charging the car overnight, knowing where your local fast-charging stations are, or planning longer trips a bit more carefully around the route and the vehicle’s total range.
The future is bright for EVs
The electric vehicle industry is breaking new ground and innovating all the time. A Swiss company is working on a battery that could provide 600 miles of range. Volkswagen are giving EVs some retro street cred by revamping their classic minibus as an EV. A new system combining batteries and hydrogen power could create ‘refillable’ EVs with a range of 5000km. Not to mention the luxury and performance brands pushing the boundaries of what EVs are capable of.
There’s lots to be excited about when it comes to electric vehicle technology. Speak to LeasePlan about when and how your business can join in the EV revolution.