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EconomyDriving an electric car is easier than you think

Driving an electric car is easier than you think

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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What basic things do you need to know about driving an electric car?

In Europe, electricity is transmitted through a three-phase network, which means that three power transmission lines are used.

• For smaller electrical appliances, such as most household appliances, one phase is sufficient, so all household contacts are single-phase (single-phase).

• Larger appliances used in industry, but sometimes kitchen ovens, are connected to all three lines, allowing more power (and higher voltage).

• In some markets (eg France) private households are usually connected to one phase. In others (eg Germany) they are linked to all three phases. In such markets, it is also recommended to use three-phase technology (wall box, on-board charger), allowing faster charging.

Conversion from AC to DC

• To charge the battery of your electric car, the AC must be converted to direct current (DC). Otherwise it will flow to and from the battery and the battery will not be able to charge.

• This conversion can be done via the on-board charger (OBC) or outside the vehicle with DC DC fast charging stations that have a higher charging capacity (up to 100 kW or 80% of the capacity in 30 minutes).

• OBC is part of your electric car and includes from a single-phase – up to 3.7 kW – to a three-phase device with 11 kW. However, keep in mind that the charging capability is determined by the weakest link in the chain (the mains socket, cable or wall box used). In order to ensure maximum charging power, it is necessary to connect a corresponding charging device. Therefore, the most efficient and best way to charge at home is always a wall box.

Battery-powered electric cars have:

• Electric motor and battery

• Battery charged with charging station cable (private / public)

When the car is moving, the battery is also charged by the recovered energy: in practice, part of the energy when braking is converted back into electricity from the moment you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal or apply the brakes.

The average mileage largely depends on the model, driving style, external conditions and battery capacity. Some models can travel more than 300 km, based on a specific driving cycle.

Plug-in hybrid electric cars are equipped with:

• Electric motor and battery, as well as with internal combustion engine

• The battery is charged with a charging station cable (public / private) or from the petrol engine

During operation, the battery is also charged by the recovered energy:

• Braking energy is converted back into electricity the moment you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal or apply the brake.

• The average mileage in all-electric mode largely depends on driving style, external conditions and battery capacity. Some models can travel more than 40 km, based on a specific driving cycle.

• There are locally zero CO2 emissions when driving in fully electric mode.

How does charging an electric car work?

In the early days of electrification, the standard for the transmission of electricity was direct current (DC), which flows in one direction. Nowadays, the electricity grid in Europe operates with alternating current (AC), in which the current is constantly changing its direction – more precisely 50 times per second. Thus, the transmission of electricity is more efficient over long distances.

While most of our household appliances are powered by alternating current (AC), any device with a built-in battery can be charged with direct current (DC). This also applies to electric cars. That’s why it’s a good idea to know more about AC and DC if you’re planning to drive an electric car.

When charging an electric vehicle with a normal AC AC mains, AC is converted to DC in the vehicle. However, this way of charging takes time. You can speed things up by installing an AC Wall box. With its help, charging will be faster than with normal household contact, because it offers a higher capacity for energy transmission (up to 11 kW power). The ability to charge the fastest is provided by the DC charger. The reason for this is that the alternating current from the mains has already been transformed into direct current outside the car and can be directed directly to the battery. DC chargers are currently only used for public stations, but are an extremely convenient and easy form of charging when in a hurry.

With this basic knowledge, it will be easier for you with your electric car and charging it – whether it is at home, on the road or on long trips.

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