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Electric Cars | Five Things You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles

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What Every Driver Should Know About Electric Cars in 10 Minutes

Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, you may have heard a lot of buzz around electric cars.

Automakers are going green as eco-friendly efforts are increasing worldwide. Several electric vehicles (EVs) will debut this year.

Use the following guide to get electric car-savvy.

1. How an electric car runs
An electric car uses an all-electric motor instead of a gas engine – eliminating the need for gasoline. The two other main components in EVs are the controller and rechargeable batteries. These three parts all work together to power the car.

Currently plug-in cars can reach speeds of approximately 90mph. They’re also 100% free of emissions, 97% cleaner than standard vehicles, and up to three times more efficient, making them an environmentally-friendly choice for the road.

2. The electric car battery
The most common battery for electric vehicles on the market today is lithium-ion. This type of battery will last about five years or 100,000 miles; however, lithium-ion technology is constantly improving. One lithium-ion battery pack can cost up to $10,000, though industry experts expect this price to decrease greatly in the next 5 to 10 years.

3. Charging an electric car
An electric car’s battery is charged by plugging it into a standard 120 volt or 240 volt wall outlet. A DC motor runs from 96 – 192 volts, while an AC motor runs on 240 volts. AC is quickly becoming the standard motor for new EVs.

A complete charging cycle takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours, convenient for overnight. One charge can give a plug-in car enough power to run more than 100 miles. The cost to charge your car with electricity is only two to five cents per mile.

4. Availability and price of electric vehicles
While electric vehicles have been hard to find in the past, there are many models expected to hit the market this year. According to J.D. Power and Associates, EVs will make up an estimated 2.2 percent of all car sales in 2010.

Prices for electric cars have decreased significantly, with new models projected to sell for as low as $25,000. Electric car conversion kits have also been gaining in popularity. These kits allow you to turn your standard car into a plug-in for about $7,500.

5. The bottom line
The battery technology for EVs still needs improvement, but with current research on fuel cells, industry experts think greater battery efficiencies will be achieved soon. Electric cars are still more efficient than standard cars with their environmental benefits and cost savings over the life of the car. With an EV, there’s no need for oil changes, emission checks, or trips to the gas station.

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