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How do electric cars work?

24th February 2021

Electric cars operate by plugging into a charging point, and receiving electricity from the grid. This electricity is then stored in rechargeable batteries which powers the electric motor of the vehicle – and allows the vehicle’s wheels to move. Initially, electric vehicle batteries were made of the lead-acid variety, but now, modern day electric cars use lithium-ion batteries – which are able to store much more energy.

Different types of electric vehicles

There are multiple types of electric vehicles that you can own, so it’s important to understand the differences between them all and how they use energy:

  • Plug-in electric – this type of electric car runs solely on electricity, and receive all their power when they are plugged in on charge. These vehicles are known as pure electric vehicles, as they do not require power from another power source.
  • Plug-in hybrid – although these vehicles still mainly run on electricity, they do also have the traditional fuel engine – meaning that you can use petrol or diesel, too. Once your vehicle runs out of charge, it will then switch to using fuel.
  • Hybrid-electric – this type of vehicle allows you to switch between using your fuel engine or using your electric motor at the touch of a button. These vehicles mainly run on fuel, but have an electric battery which is recharged through regenerative breaking. It’s important to note that these vehicles cannot be plugged into an electricity source, and solely rely on fuel for energy.

How to charge electric cars

The aim of being able to charge your car up electrically is that when you park, you can return to your vehicle with a fuller battery than when you left it. You can either charge your electric vehicle by one of two ways:

  • Public charging station

This could be at work, at a public location or at a service station. If you are using a public charging station, depending on your location, you can begin charging by simply plugging in your vehicle, or you may be able to use an app, a contactless card or a RFID card.

  • Home charging unit

If you have off-street parking, you can have a dedicated home charger installed. This is typically the most convenient place to charge, as you’ll be able to plug-in overnight and gain power to your vehicle ready for the morning.

Electric vehicles maintenance

Here at Merityre Specialists, our service branches have fully trained experts providing maintenance checks and services for electric vehicles. Simply locate your nearest branch today, and book in for your vehicle maintenance.