When one is taking about Electric vehicles or EV, as they’re know in the industry, the EV no longer use an engine, but an electric motor that replaces the engine. The motors for electric vehicles are manufacturered just for EV use and come in various sizes and ratings. Small neighborhood electric vehicles or NEV typically use a small motor and run on a 48 volt DC system. Some are modified to run on a 96 volt DC system. NEVs are not highway capable and have a top speed of 25 MPH. They are considered by many to be a glorified golf cart. Specifications for an NEV are contained in the Federal Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS500) as are most EV specs.
An EV that can be driven on the highway is much different. The motors are larger, 8″ or 9″ for a DC system. DC systems are mainly used by EV enthusists or hobbists. Electrically the motor controller, an electronic device used to control the DC motor, can draw nearly a 1000 amps in some vehicles, but typically 500-750 amps in most vehicles. Batteries packs, whether they are lead acid, nicads, Nickle metal, or lithum Ion, are the largest concern in an EV. The newer techonolgies are expensive and largely still unproven unlike the lead acids which have had a hundred or so years to prove the technology. Most major auto manufacturers are using AC motor systems due to inherent drawsbacks in a DC system. mainly the use of motor brushes that limit the revolutions of the motor. The AC systems are more expensive, but more reliable.
AN EV eliminates the water cooling system, the exhaust system, the oil system, the pollution system, the gas tank and other parts found on a petrol or diesel fuel vehicle. Manufacturered EVs do not use belts or pumps for the power steering and some use electric brakes. Because the electric motor is smaller more vehicle interior room is available. The Nissan Leaf is an example of a manufactured all electric vehicle. Check the Nissan website for specifications.
One difference is the EV has to be charged. With present technology a 100 mile range before charging is normal. What does 100 mile range mean? How does it compare to MPG? To find out you must know at what speed the vhicle is being driven at. If it is driven at 60 mph does it go 100 miles? What if it driven at 30mph? To understand range requires driving the EV at a constant speed until it needs to be recharged. The comparison to mpg is more difficult and would require writing another article.
How do they compare performance wise to a petrol or diesel powered vehicle? Check the youtube video at http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=8ZofzNPSZkc. The vehicle in the video was converted and was personally driven with the petrol engine before conversion. Little or no different was noted between the petrol version and the all electric version In some respects the electric version performed better. For further comparison go to the Tesla website and check their specs or better yet find some one who owns a Tesla and go for a ride.