10 Facts About Electric Cars
Next up in our series of articles about Electric Vehicles (EVs), let’s look at ten facts about electric cars you may not have known before. EVS used to be impractical and clunky, but now they’re sleek and safe, great for picking the kids up from soccer practice or zipping around tight corners. From the history of EVs to their standard safety features, let’s dive in.
- The first EV was built more than 180 years ago. The first EV was built by Robert Anderson, from Scotland, between 1832 and 1839. It didn’t have rechargeable batteries, so it was mostly just for show. But in 1890, a Scottish chemist living in Iowa built and patented an electric carriage that had front-wheel drive, 4 horsepower, and could go up to 20mph. It had to be recharged every 50 miles. Thomas Edison thought electric carriages were intriguing, and alongside his friend Henry Ford, developed at least one prototype. Since then car makers have been playing with the idea. NASA even contracted Boeing to make the moon rover that worked fully on electricity.
- A quarter of new car purchases last year were electric or hybrid cars– in China. China is a major player in the EV landscape. They have invested and subsidized EV production and manufacturing for over a decade and now the market is taking over. Comparatively, only 5% of new car sales in the US were EVs or hybrids in 2022. Globally, half of the best-selling EV brands are Chinese. BYD, China’s biggest brand, is outpaced only by Tesla with regards to global market share. BYD is starting to ship its EVs abroad.
- EVs can recharge their own batteries while driving. The system creates electricity to recharge the battery in two ways:
- When the driver presses down on the brakes;
- When the vehicle is coasting.
“The car’s mile gauge will reflect the regenerative battery, so going through stop-and-start traffic or hilly backroads gives your car a chance to add miles and range.”
- EVs are cheaper to power. Consumer reports show that while the initial cost of an EV might be higher than its gas-powered counterpart, EV owners spend 4,700 less on gas over the first seven years. Charging up your car’s battery at a DC charging station will be the most expensive option; most owners will be able to charge their cars at night and can rely on the low cost of residential power.
- EVs are cheaper to maintain. EV owners spend less to maintain their EVs than their gas-powered counterparts. Industry experts say that after EVs hit their fifth birthday and start needing new tires and other, similar, routine maintenance items, the average yearly maintenance and repair cost is about $900. Owners of similar gas-powered vehicles will be shelling out about $1,200 a year for repairs.
- Owning an EV lowers your carbon footprint. The manufacture of an EV is more carbon-heavy than a gas-powered vehicle, but that scale tips the longer you drive a car with no exhaust. This effect is especially true if your area uses renewable energy sources.
- EVs can be charged with three different types of speeds:
- Level 1, which is where you plug into a regular house outlet, 120V. Most of the time you won’t be charging your car from a totally empty battery, but if you did it could take 40-50 hours to charge fully, or 2-5 miles of range per hour.
- Level 2, which is a 240V outlet that you can install at home, or find a 209V charger at a worksite. Charging from an empty car on a level 2 charging unit takes about 4-10 hours, or about 10-20 miles of range per hour.
- Level 3, a Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC, or just DC) port, can charge a car up to 80% charge in just 20 minutes, or about 180-240 miles of range per hour. Most hybrid plug in vehicles do not support fast charging.
8. Currently, there are almost 50 thousand EV charging ports nationwide. Most of those charging stations are clustered in cities and on the coasts; states like Wyoming and North Dakota have only a handful each. There are way more gas stations than charging stations, and for EVs to really become ubiquitous it will have to be as easy to find a charging station as it is to find a gas station. The recently passed infrastructure bill aims to create 500,000 DC charging stations across the nation. Tesla says it will eventually open up its network of DC charging stations to non-Tesla vehicles.
9. Electric Vehicles meet the same safety standards as gas-powered cars. Many manufacturers have added in a motor sound to aid with safety concerns. Battery packs are tested rigorously to meet safety standards. EVs are designed to shut down in the event of a short circuit or collision to minimize risk.
10. In the not-so-distant future, EVs will drive 1,000 miles on a single charge. Companies like Aptera motors from San Diego or Lightyear One from the Netherlands are working on increasing EV efficiency and adding flexible, thin solar panels to the top of the car to achieve this kind of range. 500+ mile ranges will eventually be the norm.
If you’re trying to lower your car payments, save money on gas, or just manage your budget better, think about refinancing the car loan you have now. If your car is under ten years old and has fewer than 140,000 miles on it, and if you’ve made at least 3 payments, you can get a free quote that won’t pull your credit score. Rateworks can save you money on loans because we offer zero fees. A lower monthly payment, combined with an EVs lower monthly fuel and repair costs, is the perfect combo to keep more money in your pocket.