BATTERY electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and the auto industry.
Consumers want to go green while the auto industry is under more pressure than ever to leverage technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the vehicles they produce.
Here's some basic information that's important to know. Both battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles need to be plugged in to charge their on-board batteries.
Battery electric vehicles are 100 per cent electric and use an electric propulsion system for all phases of driving. All their power comes from a zero-emission electric motor, powered by electricity from large rechargeable battery packs inside the vehicle. The vehicles must be plugged in while not in use to charge these battery packs.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The electric motor is similar to that of the battery electric vehicles but you won't get caught on the road with a dead battery because the internal combustion engine kicks in before this happens.
Electric drive vehicles are substantially more efficient than their combustion engine counterparts. And we're not talking fuel efficiency here. The energy conversion efficiency from on-board storage to turning the wheels is nearly five times greater for electricity compared to gasoline, at about 76 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.
Here are some ways to conserve battery power when driving both types of vehicles:
- Climate control - turning up the heat or air conditioning will reduce the vehicle's driving range as more energy is used to heat or cool the cabin.
- Speed - on the highway the faster you go the more energy you use, thereby reducing driving range.
- Driving style - aggressive acceleration and deceleration will also reduce driving range.
- Cargo weight and terrain - heavy cargo and driving up steep hills will also reduce driving range.
More information about electric vehicles is available on the Natural Resources Canada website at www.nrcan.gc.ca.