Externally, the electric vehicle looks like a gasoline-powered vehicle with the exception that the electric vehicle does not have a tail pipe. However, the internal engineering is quite a different story. CALSTART, the advanced transportation consortium in California, according to which, 70% of an electric vehicle‘s component parts may be different from a gasoline-powered vehicle. There are several unique components in an electric vehicle that serve the same function as the more common components in a gasoline-powered vehicle.
The second salient distinction between electric vehicles and gasoline-powered vehicles is the number of moving parts. There is one moving part in an electric vehicle, the motor, whereas the gasoline-powered vehicle has hundreds of moving parts. Since fewer moving parts are present in the electric vehicle, it requires less periodic maintenance and is more reliable which another important difference. Whereas, the gasoline-powered vehicle requires a wide range of maintenance, from frequent oil changes, filter replacements, periodic tune ups, and exhaust system repairs, to the less frequent component replacement, such as the water pump, fuel pump, alternator, etc.
For an electric vehicle the maintenance requirements are fewer and therefore the maintenance costs are lower. Just one moving part, the shaft is present in the electric motor which is very reliable and requires little or no maintenance. The other two electronic devices- the controller and charger have no moving parts, and hence they require little or no maintenance. The current auto eléctrico use state-of-the-art lead acid batteries are sealed which are maintenance free. Nonetheless, these batteries have a limited life and will require periodic replacement. New developments in batteries are taking place, that will not only extend the range of electric vehicles, but will also extend the life of the battery pack which may make replacing the battery pack during the life of the vehicle obsolete.
The electric vehicles are as easier to handle as they are cheaper to maintain, they are also more efficient than the gasoline engine and are therefore cheaper to operate. According to the data based on an electric vehicle efficiency of 3 miles/kwhr and the cost of electricity at 7″ per kwhr, the electric vehicle will travel about 43 miles for $1.00. Whereas the data for gasoline cars, based on an average of 22 mpg for gasoline vehicles and a gasoline cost of $1.25/gal, the gasoline-powered vehicle will go about 18 miles. Therefore, one can say that the distance which can be travelled for a fuel cost of $1.00 is more than twice as far with an electric vehicle.
Though, cheaper to operate and maintain, the electric vehicle throw a number of challenges to the owner of an electric vehicle.
Firstly the limited range available with current battery technologies. Between recharging and using existing batteries, the driving range is merely between 50 to 150 miles. In order to increase this range, new battery systems are being developed, and prototypes of these batteries have demonstrated ranges up to 200 miles between recharging.
The other difficulty that the owners of electric vehicles face is the availability of skilled service technicians to service and maintain the electric vehicle. New programs of training programs are being developed, and offered to upgrade the conventional automotive technician with the skills needed to maintain an electric vehicle, and a two-year associate degree program has been developed to train high school graduates to become skilled electric vehicle technicians.
The infrastructure to recharge the batteries is also needed to be created. Electric power which is the most significant element of the recharging infrastructure already exists, and is available in almost all locations. Charging stations, with the proper types of service (i.e., maximum voltage and current) are the remaining element needed to ensure that they are available at strategic locations to support the electric vehicle. To ensure off-peak charging, to get the lowest utility rates arrangements must also be made.