Electric Vehicles – The Basics

Dr Arun Ulahannan & Prof. Stewart Birrell, from Coventry University, give an overview of electric vehicles in this video.

Hello and welcome to this video on the basics of electric vehicles. Now electric vehicles are not a new idea. In fact, in the 1900s there were more electric vehicles on US roads than petrol or diesel engines. Of course this is not the case today.

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T Ford in 1908, he was able to produce the gasoline vehicle for a fraction of the cost of its electric counterpart, and so the electric vehicle became almost non-existent. In recent years that has all changed and now nearly every major automaker is producing an electric vehicle. So much so that it’s predicted that by 2025 EV sales are going to be overtaking that of combustion fuels.

So why are we making this switch now? A lot of this is legislation based in the UK at the time of this video there is an aim to stop all new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2030. If we look at taxi regulations in Nottingham from 2025, only ultra-low emissions vehicles, or ULEV for short, will be registered. In London since 2018, all new taxi registrations must be zero emission capable or ZEC for short.

There are a number of benefits to switching to electric, for example, on average, servicing costs are cheaper with electric vehicles, running costs are also lower. In fact, research conducted at Coventry University for the WiCET project has found that up to 56% of taxi customers are willing to pay more for an electric taxi.

But why is this legislation being introduced? Well, a lot of drive towards electric vehicles is based on the need to reduce our emissions. Generally these emissions are called TRAPs, traffic related air pollutants, which is generated by petrol and diesel vehicles. There are two issues with this.

First, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Recent studies have found that taxi drivers are exposed to high levels of these traps. Second, the increase in these TRAPs is one of the primary contributing factors towards global warming. It’s become clear that from both a health and environmental perspective, it is important that we address this using electric vehicles significantly reduces the number of emissions at the point of use and is one important step towards achieving this.

But there are challenges around the use of electric vehicles. For one, electric vehicles are expensive compared to their petrol and diesel equivalents as more electric vehicles are introduced. However, this is likely to change over the coming years. There are also uncertainties around country range and finally challenges around a charging infrastructure that can support these vehicles. How do we install and provide enough charges for people to use? In the next video, we’ll talk more about charging and the many different types of charging available.

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