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Default Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

Q: How much will it cost me to convert my car to electricity?

A: Using a standard DC system & components with average performance, you can expect to pay between $3000 and $6000 US. The price varies substantially depending on how fast and far you wish to drive. Some have converted cars for under $1000 US by using second-hand parts.



Q: How far can I drive in an EV?

A: Range is limited by budget. While a typical conversion may offer 60 miles on a charge, you will generally never get beyond 100 miles (160 km) using Lead-Acid batteries. The larger the Lead Acid battery pack the heavier it gets until the weight of the battery pack reaches the car’s limitations.
If you can afford Lithium batteries coupled with an AC system, range can be anywhere from 100 to 400 miles. Lithium batteries are not cheap however. A typical set with about 200 miles range might cost upwards of $20,000 US.
When calculating range, it may be helpful to consider that approximately 9.5KwHrs of usable battery capacity is approximately equal to 1 gallon of gas in the same car at the same gross weight (based on real-world observations of builders on this forum). That works fine for the "first gallon," because there are weight savings on the engine and associated components, but since batteries weigh between 30-70 times more than gasoline (in 2011, subject to change) you will quickly find your gross weight exceeded when adding a bigger "tank." Also, don't forget that other factors (Peukert effect; maximum safe discharge levels; maximum "c" discharge rates) can further degrade the theoretical range of your pack.



Q: How fast can an Electric Car go?

A: As fast as you like. Just like a gasoline powered car, you can modify and tune your EV until it leaves super-cars in it’s wake. While most EV’s are commuter cars, there are a handful that offer staggering performance. The most talked about would be the Tesla Roadster; an all-electric sports car with a 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds and 245 miles of driving range between charges.



Q: How long does it take to charge?

A: On average, a home converted car will charge fully overnight. With Lead Acid batteries, 70% of the charging is done in the first 40% of charging time. The rest is the “topping up” stage of the charging process.
Technology is changing constantly however, and with new battery technology comes faster charging times. The newly released AltairNano Lithium batteries are supplied in the upcoming Phoenix SUT which can fast-charge completely in under ten minutes.



Q: Can alternators/generators be used to recharge the car while driving?

A: Unfortunately (other than making your EV a hybrid, or capable of regenerative breaking - see below) this is impossible, because it would violate one of the fundamental laws of physics. Basically, it means that you cannot get more energy out of a system than you put in. You will always use more power to turn the alternator or generator (eg, wind, or drive-shaft) than you could get back from the alternator or generator.

-> Using a generator while slowing and stopping your car (aka Regenerative Braking) is one option where you can recover extra range (up to 10% normally) by actuating a generator when your foot touches the brake pedal. Some Hybrids use this technology too.

Q: Are electric cars any more efficient and green than a normal car or do they just have a longer tailpipe (back to the power plant)?

Even when coupled with the standard fossil fuel burning power from the grid electric cars are substantially more efficient and better for the environment than their ICE counterparts. Tesla motors compares the efficiency from the source to the wheels of several efficient ICE and hybrid cars and found their electric car was twice as efficient as popular hybrids while producing a third of the emissions. Compared to a similar ICE roadster the Tesla was six times as efficient with a tenth of the emissions. The high efficiencies of electric power plants, batteries, controllers and motors means more of the power source ends up moving you down the road rather than heating up the air.


Created by KiwiEV, 11-23-2007 at 12:20 PM
Last edited by PhantomPholly, 12-09-2011 at 05:44 PM
25 Comments , 147450 Views
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2007, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

Nice. I think I'll link the FAQ link up on the menu bar to this wiki page.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:56 PM
PainBank PainBank is offline
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

as to adding a generator to charge while driving, I disagree with the way the answer is stated.

Yes, you can add a generator, such as a tow behind module (provided everything is setup correctly, which might not be correct for a specific conversion) and yes it does then make the EV technically an HEV, but it can be done.

So I feel the answer is yes it can be done, but it depends on the setup of the EV and it technically is no longer an EV, but it can be done. Perhaps not easily, but still.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

The answer for "How long does it take to recharge?" is fundamentally flawed. The problem isn't really in the batteries: the problem is moving that much energy around. Even a small EV carries 15kWh; to replace that in ten minutes you'd need 90kW! For contrast, a home outlet provides 1.5kW max. You'd need a direct line to the power station, with a cord a foot in diameter, to charge an EV like that.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by PainBank View Post
as to adding a generator to charge while driving, I disagree with the way the answer is stated.

Yes, you can add a generator, such as a tow behind module (provided everything is setup correctly, which might not be correct for a specific conversion) and yes it does then make the EV technically an HEV, but it can be done.

So I feel the answer is yes it can be done, but it depends on the setup of the EV and it technically is no longer an EV, but it can be done. Perhaps not easily, but still.


Yes, it can be done, however, according to the law of conservation of energy, you may only capable to recover about 10% of the total energy from the battery. Unless you always going downhill, that would be possible to recharge your battery pack from the regenerative process. In a simple word, there must be always an energy lost such as friction, heat, vibration, sound, etc that cannot be recovered.

Last edited by Chew; 06-20-2010 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by judebert View Post
The answer for "How long does it take to recharge?" is fundamentally flawed. The problem isn't really in the batteries: the problem is moving that much energy around. Even a small EV carries 15kWh; to replace that in ten minutes you'd need 90kW! For contrast, a home outlet provides 1.5kW max. You'd need a direct line to the power station, with a cord a foot in diameter, to charge an EV like that.
Even if you had the juice available, PbA batteries (in particular, but this is true of all batteries) are designed to be charged at a certain voltage at a certain amperage. The internal resistance would cause them to explode if you put that much juice in them. Not having the power is a moot point when you would blow them up anyway.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:17 AM
Poohstyx Poohstyx is offline
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

I assume that the 1.5Kw home outlet max is for the US?
Unless my numbers are way off, I would expect 3.6 or 7.2Kw max in the UK, depending on weather I use the 15 or 30 amp loop.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

[quote=Chew;188789]Yes, it can be done, however, according to the law of conservation of energy, you may only capable to recover about 10% of the total energy from the battery. Unless you always going downhill, that would be possible to recharge your battery pack from the regenerative process. In a simple word, there must be always an energy lost such as friction, heat, vibration, sound, etc that cannot be recovered.

Interesting point of view, I'm new to this and still running all this new information through my head yet one of the idea's I would like to try is a permanent magnet generator.

http://www.alxion.com/bin/e_eoliennes.html

these little things range from 200w to 3.5mw, yet they work on a low rpm around 650 - 850 rpm, which is the problem, where to have this unit fitted and how to have it geared down to the low rpm
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

[QUOTE=badlittlemonkey;218806]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chew View Post
Yes, it can be done, however, according to the law of conservation of energy, you may only capable to recover about 10% of the total energy from the battery. Unless you always going downhill, that would be possible to recharge your battery pack from the regenerative process. In a simple word, there must be always an energy lost such as friction, heat, vibration, sound, etc that cannot be recovered.

Interesting point of view, I'm new to this and still running all this new information through my head yet one of the idea's I would like to try is a permanent magnet generator.

http://www.alxion.com/bin/e_eoliennes.html

these little things range from 200w to 3.5mw, yet they work on a low rpm around 650 - 850 rpm, which is the problem, where to have this unit fitted and how to have it geared down to the low rpm
Sorry for the thread bump, as I assumed some of you wouldn't mind jumping back in to the conversation here. Interesting note about recharging the battery. I think most people just assume that the battery can be charged by any kind of energy coming from the car, which is kind of disappointing. I have been working on accessible vans lately and you would be really surprised how many people are misinformed.

Last edited by pluggedin; 10-01-2011 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:31 PM
badlittlemonkey badlittlemonkey is offline
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Default Re: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Electric Cars

hmmm that is why I have been looking at a EMP 450 amps, 24 volt brushless alternator set inline with a warp 11 motor, wired to a coverter then to a battery charger, but as it has been said some people think in wont work so will just do a test vehicle just to see what happens.

http://www.emp-corp.com/products/advanced/Power450/

I would like to see if It was possible to get a few more Km's out of the battery pack is all :-0)
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