You are on page 1of 5

Electric Cars and Charging Technology

Concerns over environmental sustainability have led the world towards greener
technologies, in all technical fields including transportation. Increasingly, electric vehicles
(EV) are seen as the future of transportation. An electric Car ( also known as electric vehicle
or EV), is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical
energy stored in battery pack or another energy storage device. Electric cars produce no
tailpipe emissions, reduce our dependency on oil, and are cheaper to operate.

Figure 1: Comparing Electric Cars to Petrol Cars

The electric vehicles can be directly powered from an external power source such as from
overhead lines along bus or train routes. Other types of electric vehicles are powered by
stored electricity originally from an external power source, or an on-board electrical
generator, such as an internal combustion engine (in a hybrid electric vehicle) or a hydrogen
fuel cell.
The Electric Vehicle is a new type of load to the power system. It will be very special, for
example, its mobility, social behaviour and the interaction with the grid. The vehicles can be
used in demand management operations. By charging at night when demand is low, the
electric car helps fill valleys in the load curves. Similarly, the stored energy can be supplied
back to the grid when demand is high. In addition, the electric car technology provides utility
companies new ways to keep voltage and frequency stable and maintain spinning reserves
(to meet sudden demands for power).

It has been proposed that use of electric vehicles in demand side management could buffer
renewable power sources such as wind power, by storing excess energy produced during
windy periods and providing it back to the grid during high load periods, thus effectively
stabilising the intermittency of wind power.
11.1 Structure of Electric Cars
At present, the most commonly produced electric cars use parallel hybrid systems, having
both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor coupled. If they are joined at
an axis in parallel, the speeds at this axis must be identical so that supplied torques add up.

Figure 2: Parallel Hybrid Electric Car Drive System

Because parallel hybrids can use a smaller battery pack as they rely more on regenerative
braking and the internal combustion engine can also act as a generator for supplemental
recharging, they are more efficient on highway driving compared to urban stop-and-go
conditions or city driving. Honda's Insight, Civic, and Accord hybrids are examples of
production parallel hybrid cars.
Current parallel hybrid cars that are unable to provide all-electric propulsion and hence are
often categorised as mild hybrids. Mild hybrids are essentially conventional vehicles with
oversize starter motor, allowing the engine to be turned off whenever the car is coasting,
braking, or stopped, yet restart quickly and cleanly, and is used to supply additional
propulsion energy when accelerating.
Series hybrid systems are referred to as range-extended electric vehicles (REEV). They are
designed to be run mostly by the battery, but have a petrol or diesel generator to recharge
the battery when going on a long drive.

Figure 3: Series Hybrid Drive Electric Car Drive System

Modern series hybrid cars use only electric motors to turn the wheels. The Internal
Combustion Engine is only used to turn the generator. And the battery bank acts as an
energy buffer.
During regenerative braking, the driving motor becomes a generator and recovers potential
and kinetic (inertial) energy through its conversion to electrical energy, a process which in
turn is able to slow the vehicle and thus preventing wasteful transfer of this energy as thermal
losses within the frictional brakes.
Some series hybrid cars have super capacitors to assist the battery bank and claw back
energy during braking. Full hybrid cars have large, high-capacity battery pack which is
needed for battery-only operation. These vehicles have a split power path allowing greater
flexibility in the drivetrain by interconverting mechanical and electrical power, at some
additional complexity.
A battery-only electric vehicle (BEV) or all-electric vehicle derives all its power from its
battery packs and thus has no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank. The Nissan
Leaf launched in 2012 is an all-electric vehicle.
Other types of electric vehicles, such as Fuel Cell vehicles have no batteries at all. Fuel Cell
Electric Vehicles (FCEV) convert the chemical energy from a fuel, for example hydrogen, into
electricity through a chemical reaction to drive an electric motor. A supply of hydrogen is
given to these cells from the hydrogen cylinder fitted in the vehicle. Hydrogen gas mixes with
oxygen from the environment and produces electricity by electrolysis.
11.2 Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Electric vehicles have entered the mass production market with several manufacturers
offering different models at reasonable prices.
However, if wide acceptance of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric
vehicles (EVs) is to be achieved, consumers need a developed infrastructure of charging
stations.
Worldwide only a few companies are currently in the market offering recharging points. In
future, it is expected that the most common location for charging shall to be at home. The
availability of a public charging infrastructure will also be necessary to ensure widespread
adoption of EVs and PHEVs. Among the few companies providing electric charging points,
there are major differences in the technology relating to product and data management
capability. One of the companies providing charging infrastructure is General Electric (GE).

Figure 4: GE Electric Vehicle Ecosystem






11.2.1 Standardisation of EV Charging Infrastructure
Without standardisation, vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) would need to
package different charge receptacles and have different vehicle controls. This would lead to
vehicle sheet metal openings being different for each region. Consequently, shared charging
infrastructure would not work leading higher costs with no added benefits to customers.
The Society of Automotive Engineers, an international organisation based in the USA
coordinates the development of voluntary consensus standards with engineering
professionals from around the world. The SAE has developed specifications which are being
adopted worldwide (see figure below).

Figure 5: SAE Charging Configuration and Rating Terminology