Facts about electric cars

Did you know that the first electric car was built in 1837? Or that all electric cars are now fitted with a fake engine noise? Do you know what’s the best selling EV in the world right now, or which EV on the market has the longest range?

Electric vehicles have come a long way since their inception, but there’s still lots to learn about EVs so we’ve rounded up just a few of the interesting things about them, from their history to their technology, and their place in the world today!


General Knowledge

1. Electric cars aren’t a modern invention

The world’s first electric car was built in 1837 by Scottish inventor Robert Anderson. It was powered by non-rechargeable primary cells, which could not be recharged and needed to be replaced after use.

Two years after creating his first motor, Anderson invited visitors to his ‘Electromagnetic Exhibition’ where they could see a fully visualised electric model train capable of carrying two people at a time. Image source: drax.com

2. 1 in 7 cars sold globally is electric

A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that electric vehicle (EV) sales hit a record high in 2022, with 8.3 million EVs sold worldwide. This represents a 50% increase from the previous year and is largely due to policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The report also highlights the growing importance of EVs in the energy transition and their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this growth, EVs still only represent a small percentage of total car sales, and more needs to be done to accelerate their adoption.

3. Norway is the country with the highest number of electric vehicles 

Norway is leading the way in electric cars, with a report from Canary Media showing that they have the highest number of EVs per 1,000 people in the world, with 81% in 2020. A study by the World Economic Forum has confirmed that the tax break on EVs has helped Norway surpass other countries when it comes to electric cars per capita. The Norwegian government has also set an ambitious goal of phasing out gas-powered cars completely by 2023 and transitioning to EVs.

4. There are currently 42,566 electric car charging points across the UK 

As of April 2023, there are 42,566 electric vehicle charging points across the UK at 24,909 locations that’s compared to just 8,365 petrol stations! This is a 37% increase in the total number of charging devices since April 2022. However, these numbers only include public EV charging infrastructure and not the estimated 400,000 charging points at homes or workplaces that may be available to the public in some capacity.

Public charging devices installed in the UK by month since 2015. Image source: gov.uk

Electric car technology

1. Electric cars have regenerative braking 

Regenerative braking is a feature in electric and hybrid cars that lets them turn braking energy into electricity. The car’s motor acts like a mini power plant, converting the energy that would normally be lost when braking into something useful. This process slows the car down and reduces wear on the brakes. It’s really helpful when you’re in traffic and doing a lot of stopping and starting. It can even increase the car’s range by up to 15%! Some cars let you control how much regenerative braking you get, but others do it automatically.

2. Electric cars now have fake engine noises

Electric cars are super quiet, which can be a real problem for cyclists and pedestrians. So now, all new electric cars have a system called AVAS (that’s short for Acoustic Vehicle Alert System) that makes noise at certain speeds, so you can hear them coming.

For their first EV planned to launch in 2025, Ferrari has gone one step further by patenting its engine noise. The patent outlines plans to create a system for road vehicles with at least one electric motor “an acoustic system, which comprises at least one reproduction device, which generates a sound that can be associated with the electric motor”. Image source: techcrunch.com

3. Electric cars can provide instant torque

Since electric cars run on electricity instead of fuel, this means they can accelerate instantly without the need for combustion or transmission. When you step on the pedal, the voltage goes straight to the wheels, providing maximum torque and high-speed acceleration.

4. Vehicle-to-X

The concept of using the energy from electric vehicle (EV) batteries for various purposes started with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. V2G involves a two-way flow of energy between EVs and the power grid, where utilities purchase stored energy from EV owners during peak times and distribute it, while the EVs recharge during non-peak times. The idea of V2X expands on this by including different use cases for power drawn from EVs, such as vehicle-to-home (V2H), vehicle-to-building (V2B), vehicle-to-farm (V2F) and vehicle-to-load (V2L).

For their first EV planned to launch in 2025, Ferrari has gone one step further by patenting its engine noise. The patent outlines plans to create a system for road vehicles with at least one electric motor “an acoustic system, which comprises at least one reproduction device, which generates a sound that can be associated with the electric motor”. Image source: techcrunch.com

Model specific features

1. The Mercedes EQS has the longest range (currently!)

The Mercedes EQS, the all-electric version of the brand’s S-Class saloon, has the longest range of any electric car currently on sale in the UK, with a maximum range of 453 miles in the EQS 450+ model. It has a large battery pack and low coefficient of drag, making it highly efficient at speed. While not as fast as the Tesla Model S, the EQS 580 4Matic still has a range of 420 miles.

Image source: evo.co.uk

2. The Tesla Model Y is the best selling model in the world

The Tesla Model Y remains the world’s best-selling electric car in January 2023, with over 662,000 units sold. The Model Y has held the top spot for several months, with the Tesla Model 3 in second place with just over 508,000 units sold. The Volkswagen ID.4 and the Renault Zoe round out the top four, with sales of 263,000 and 225,000 units, respectively. Other notable electric vehicles on the list include the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Hyundai Kona Electric. Overall, electric car sales continue to rise worldwide, with the market expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Image source: carbuyer.co.uk

3. The Porsche Taycan can charge from 5% to 80% in 22.5 minutes

The Porsche Taycan was the first electric car to use an 800-volt charging system.

The battery can be charged from 5 to 80% in just 22.5 minutes using fast charging infrastructure, thanks to its ability to charge at up to 270 kW. Additionally, the Taycan can be charged using a regular charging station, taking approximately 9 hours to reach a full charge. According to Porsche, the new battery allows the Taycan to travel up to 327 miles (527 km) on a single charge, which is a 20 km (12.4 miles) increase compared to the standard battery. The extended range is due to the increased energy capacity and improvements in the car’s aerodynamics.

Image source: caranddriver.com

4. The Nissan Leaf was the first mass-market EV to reach 500,000 units sold

Nissan’s Leaf electric car made history in 2016 by becoming the world’s first mass-market EV to reach 500,000 units sold. The Leaf, which debuted in 2010, has played a significant role in making electric cars more accessible and affordable for consumers. It has been sold in over 50 markets worldwide, including Europe, the US, and Japan.

According to Nissan, the Leaf has helped to prevent more than 2.4 million tons of CO2 emissions since its launch. The car’s success is due in part to its affordable price point and impressive driving range, which has steadily improved over the years.

Image source: caranddriver.com

Looking to the future, electric cars remain an exciting prospect because of the continued technological advancements to make them more and more accessible. As technology improves, electric cars will become even safer, able to go further and charge faster. The Porsche Taycan mentioned above that can charge from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes is a great example of this and we can be sure to see this kind of technology make its way into more affordable models too

This article provides just a glimpse into what electric cars can (and can’t!) currently offer. There’s a whole lot more to say about EVs, and we’ve got a whole lot more blog posts for exactly that – you can check out just a few below, or all of them here.

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