Why and how to joyfully move our butts around town, without mucking the place up.

Pages with tag 100 Questions

  • Can I use a generator to charge an electric car while driving it?: Many thinking about how to drive an electric car over long distances bring up the idea of attaching a gasoline/diesel generator and charging the car while driving. In effect this idea is a sort of Plug-in Hybrid car, so shouldn't such people just buy a PHEV? By definition an EV with a Generator is a Plug-in Hybrid, meaning the BEV can plug-in to the grid to recharge, and it has a second on-board power source (the generator), making it a Hybrid, that can recharge the battery pack. But a homebrew conversion of a BEV into a PHEV might not be legal.
  • How do I charge or refuel an electric vehicle?: Every kind of vehicle must be refueled or eventually they run out of power. A gasoline or diesel vehicle must be driven to a petrol/gasoline station, and refueled there. Electric cars do not require gasoline or diesel, so where are they refueled and how is refueling accomplished? Do you plug the electric car into a regular power outlet to recharge?
  • How far can one drive (or ride) an electric vehicle?: Every kind of vehicle has a limited range based on stored energy it carries on board. Gasoline vehicles carry only so many gallons of gasoline, limiting the driving range, and electric vehicles carry only so many kiloWatt-hours, again limiting the driving range. This question as written contains an embedded assumption that electric vehicles are limited while other kinds of vehicles are not.
  • What is an Electric Vehicle?: An electric vehicle is powered by electricity. Somehow that simple fact does not answer the confusion over what electric vehicles are. Some think that because a hybrid car (e.g. Toyota Prius) has an electric motor, it is electric, when it is not. After 100+ years of all vehicles being powered by gasoline or diesel, we all need to wrap our heads around the fact that the energy for our vehicles can come from other sources.
  • What is the difference between Plug-in Hybrid, Hybrid, or All-Electric battery-electric vehicles?: There are two kinds of plug-in electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrid and the all-electric or battery-electric vehicle. Regular hybrid vehicles, while having electric components in the drive train, are not plug-in electric vehicles. The difference between them is primarily in how far you are willing to go to divorce yourself from gasoline. The plug-in hybrid (or PHEV) still relies on gasoline, and uses gasoline to implement long range driving, while the all-electric vehicle uses no gasoline, and therefore relies on fast charging for long range.
  • What's the mechanism behind electric cars since they don't use fuel?: We collectively have 100+ years experience with cars being fueled with gasoline, and therefore understandably most of us think the only means to drive a vehicle is with gasoline or diesel or ethanol. Electric motors can be very powerful, and can perform just as well as vehicles powered by a liquid fuel. What makes a vehicle move is Energy. Energy comes in many forms, not just liquid fuels burned in an internal combustion engine.
  • When will the car companies make a flat-towable electric car?: Gas cars can be "flat towed" and many like to flat tow cars behind an RV when on a trip. Most electric cars cannot be flat towed. It does not matter what kind of car it is, there is a simple requirement for flat towing any car without causing damage to the car.
  • Where can I buy an Electric Vehicle (bicycle, motorcycle, car)?: It's not like you can just buy an electric vehicle at any old dealership, is it? Regular car dealerships do carry electric cars, and it is possible to just go to a dealership plunk down money and drive away in an EV. This was not always the case, as there were many years those of us wanting an electric car had to build our own. Buying an electric bicycle or electric motorcycle is a little trickier since they are not so widely distributed.
  • Why is a special charging cord (J1772) required to charge an electric car?: Electricity is everywhere, available through power outlets in essentially every building. Why can't electric cars be recharged through a regular power outlet? Why can't electric cars simply use a regular extension cord? Why does recharging an electric car require using a specialized power cord with a specialized charging plug? A conspiratorially-minded person might think the special charging cord is meant to limit the spread of electric cars.
  • Why is electric vehicle charging not standardized, such that there is one common charging protocol?: Most car manufacturers now build electric cars, and with the improving price we might think electric cars are slated to take over, but a niggling little problem is still causing pain to electric car owners. There is not a common charging connector for DC fast charging that works in all electric cars, and instead there are three competing DC fast charging standards. Differing electric car charging connectors is a bigger issue than whether cell phones charge using Lightning cords or USB-C, if only because public charging stations cost $200,000 apiece.