What is Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology and How Does It Work?


Introduction: EV Technology in the Current Scenario

Emerging climate change concerns, worldwide, have been coupled with technological advancements in the automotive sector, and this has given rise to the need of electric vehicles (EVs). The first half of 2023 witnessed a 40% hike in global EV sales in comparison to the last years. It is estimated that by 2030, of all new car sales, EVs will comprise around 35 to 40%. However, this widespread acceptance will greatly depend on the creative inputs in charging infrastructure, battery technology and smart grids.

Electric Vehicle Technology plays a crucial role in this section. Since 2008, innovations in lithium batteries have led to a reduction in the battery costs of EVs by 90%. Thus, EVs have become more affordable, with extra mileage and reducing any compromises in terms of range. Other than that, upgrades in the EV chargers and smart grids have also increased consumer interest. Supportive policies by the government, greater EV benefits, and soaring consumer demand have boosted the EV market worldwide.

What is an Electric Vehicle (EV)?

The abbreviation for electric vehicles is EV. So, EVs are basically automobiles that are driven by a battery-powered electric motor instead of a gasoline-powered combustion engine.

EV Technology

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The new-age battery technologies have improved EVs, which is one of the reasons why there is a rise in the popularity of EV Technology. The outdated lead-acid batteries only worked for several hundred deep cycles, and were quite heavy and had a range of less than 100 miles. The advanced lithium-ion batteries last ten times longer and can stretch up to 300 miles before dying, with 2,000 deep cycles before they exhaust.

In the current scenario, more individuals are enquiring about the know-how of an electric car and why it is beneficial to possess one as they become more accessible, are easier to maintain and have quieter engines that don’t emit harmful pollution into the surroundings.

Benefits of EV Technology

Here is a list of benefits that the Electric Vehicle Technology offers and how these EVs are gaining consumer’s attraction:

    • Quiet engines: The electric engines are known for making much less noise in comparison to the combustion engines.
    • Cleaner environment and air: Since the EVs don’t burn fossil fuel, these are not emitting toxins exhausts on the streets and in the surroundings.
    • Low maintenance cost: The moving parts of EV engines are fewer and the chances of wearing out are less. Hence less money and effort will be required to spend on the maintenance of the engine.
    • Faster acceleration rate: The torque produced by electric motors is commendable, the moment the accelerator is stepped on.
    • Chance to save money on gas: Initially it might be expensive, but you will not be required to pay at the pump later, to keep your EV functional and running.
    • Advanced technology. Most of the EV models showcase advanced style and sleek look and upgraded features.

Types of Electric Vehicles and Their Architecture

There are several types of electric vehicles that are commercially available in the market.

    • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV): BEVs are also termed as All-Electric Vehicles (AEV). EVs based on BEV technology run entirely on a battery-powered electric drivetrain. The electricity which is used to drive the vehicle is stored in a large battery pack. By plugging into the electricity grid, this pack can be charged. It then provides power to one or more electric motors to drive the electric car.
    • Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV): HEVs, also called parallel hybrid or series hybrid, are equipped with both engine and electric motor. The engine derives its energy from fuel (mainly petrol), and the motor derives electricity from the batteries. The transmission is rotated by both engine and electric motor, simultaneously. This process then rubs the wheels.
    • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV): The PHEVs or series hybrids, also come with both engine and a motor. A choice can be made among the fuels — conventional fuel like petrol, or alternative fuel like bio-diesel. A rechargeable battery pack can also be used to provide power to it. The charging of the battery can be carried out externally.
    • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV): The FCEVs, which are also called Zero-Emission Vehicles, employ ‘fuel cell technology’ to generate the electricity required to drive the vehicle. The chemical energy of the fuel is directly converted into electric energy for this type of EV.

Instead of cylinders and pistons, the engine of electric vehicles creates a magnetic field that turns electrical energy from a battery into mechanical energy, to generate power that can run the vehicle.

Ranges of EVs

There are several factors that estimate the range or distance that a particular EV can travel when it has a fully charged battery. 

Each EV model has different ranges, which is influenced by the size and chemistry of the battery. It is important to know that the lithium-ion batteries offer the greatest distance. Driving quickly up steep slopes drains the batteries quicker than driving at moderate speeds on flat streets, similar to driving circumstances that lead vehicles with internal combustion engines to run less effectively. 

Deep cycles, which drain the battery below 45 percent charge, accelerate the process of oxidation and gradually lead the battery to degrade. Age will cause the same thing. Extreme temperatures and variations in the humidity levels can accelerate deterioration of the battery and reduce the vehicle’s range.

EV Charging Technology

There are mainly three options for charging your EV that offer different charging times and speeds. A background knowledge of the chemistry behind battery charging and the charging options will greatly aid in knowing planning the EV energy use.

TypesLevel 1 Level 2Direct current fast charging (DCFC)
RatingIt is rated less than 2kWIt is rated from 7kW to 19kWIt is rated from 50kW to 350kW
CharacteristicsMost electric vehicles have a 120 V charger which can be plugged into an ordinary wall socket in a house. EV chargers that run on 240 V are often available in parking garages, some gas stations and nearby stores. Garage owners can buy a Level 2 charger and install 240 V service to it. This option drastically reduces charging time.DC fast chargers are an option if the EV can accommodate rapid battery charging.
Time Required to Charge These are easy and inexpensive chargers that do have a cost. Since they are very slow while charging the vehicle, it may take around 50 hours to charge a BEV or 6 hours to fully charge a PHEV.It takes between 4 and 10 hours to charge a BEV and 1 to 2 hours to charge a PHEV with a Level 2 device.The EV can be charged to 80% in less than an hour. PHEVs cannot be charged with a DCFC charger.
Estimated electric range per hour of charging2 to 5 miles40 miles60 miles

Technology Trends Shaping EVs and Associated Challenges

Here are some of the key trends that have shaped EV Technology in recent years:

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

This is a set of technology-driven features made up of sensors and controllers that improve driving safety and comfort features by scanning the surrounding environment for the presence of other cars and pedestrians. This data is then utilised to provide real-time recommendations, such as emergency braking and parking assistance. ADAS may also detect how tired the driver is, which offers benefits over the safety part.

    • Challenges: There exist some safety concerns with ADAS. The safety elements of ADAS are not always precise; poor light, bad network coverage locations, and severe weather can create false alerts or cause ADAS to miss significant hazards. Additionally, because ADAS is primarily reliant on GPS systems, outdated data might cause hindrance in its efficacy or offer incorrect information.

  • Improved Connectivity Features

The transition to software-defined vehicles (SDVs) highlights seamless connectivity to provide a pleasant driving experience. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology allows software controllers to transmit and receive information to internal and external components, such as remote diagnostics, location-based services, over-the-air software upgrades, charge level monitoring, etc.

    • Challenges: Dependence on EV software for connectivity necessitates suitable protocols and hardware to enable smooth communication. Nonetheless, the existing environment is fragmented; there are several communication protocols, which might impede software components from successfully exchanging data.

  • Advancements in Battery Technology 

The requirement for high-performance EVs with higher range is driving improvement and innovation in battery technology.

Solid-state batteries, which employ solid electrolytes rather than liquid or gel, offer efficiency, longevity and increased energy density, which results in more energy storage.

Similarly, lithium-sulphur batteries provide better energy storage at a lower cost. Sodium-ion (Na-ion) batteries, which are inexpensive but unsuitable for long distances, are now being investigated for e-scooters. Furthermore, advances in battery recycling technology are helping to increase battery life and lower operational expenses.

    • Challenges: There are certain limitations in the usage of battery technology. Although this technology has advanced significantly in recent years, it still falls short of fossil fuels in terms of energy density. Furthermore, limited charging outlets and high charging periods continue to limit EV usage.

Trends associated with the EV Technology 

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs): In an effort to make EVs eco-friendlyl and more compatible with the surroundings, an emphasis is being put on renewable energy resources. So, in HFCVs, hydrogen is the fuel used, and the emission is only warm air and water.
  • Smart Grids: This is a feature that can enhance the efficiency of EV charging and load balancing. It ensures a smooth charging experience for its users.

Additionally, there are few more in the list:

  • Vehicle Health Checks That are AI-Powered
  • Sustainable Disposal of the Material
  • Development in the Charging Infrastructure 
  • Energy Efficiency and Regenerative Braking

Resolution to the Current Challenges in EV Technology

    • Extensive and Rigorous Testing: This is crucial to offer a safe driving experience, particularly with ADAS. Automakers and EV Technology firms must combine real-world testing with virtual simulations and data analysis to correct flaws and increase consumer trust in ADAS-equipped EVs.
    • Advanced Cybersecurity and Connectivity Measures: Cybersecurity protocols are critical for all kinds of connectivity and networking systems. To maintain secrecy among automobile components, EVs, and smart grids, automakers should consider upgrading protocols, encrypting communication channels, and deploying established authentication systems. Secure connection is necessary to avoid cyberattacks and protect sensitive user information.
    • Innovations and Upgradation in Electric Vehicle Technology: EVs rely heavily on battery technology, which is still a topic of research in progress. Developing solid-state and lithium-sulphur batteries can improve EV mileage while advancing rapid charging technology decreases the charging time. For example, Morand, a Swiss technology company, has created a fast charger that can charge EVs to 80% in just 72 seconds, although it is only suitable for small-range vehicles/cars.

Final Words

Emerging trends in Electric Vehicle Technology are more than simply drivers of innovation; they have the potential to transform the future of the EV sector by developing user-friendly features, increasing range and including quicker charging options, which makes EVs more appealing to a broader consumer range. By promoting EV adoption, stakeholders may help to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

So, we can see that if properly utilised, current technological trends could lead the way for a cleaner, greener and more electrically powered future.

Now, to learn more about electric vehicles and the emerging trends comprehensively, you must apply for the Advanced Programme in Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology – CEP, IIT Delhi through Jaro Education, as it will help you to gain the essential skills and abilities to thrive in the e-mobility domain.

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