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Business: Industrial

Electricity – Battery-electric and hybrid vehicles

What are electric vehicles?
Benefits
Applications
Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance
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Safety and Performance

Safety

Battery-electric vehicles

Battery-electric vehicles are as safe as electrical appliances. Their fire safety is very high. Commercial vehicles are built to normal vehicle safety standards of crashworthiness.

Hybrid electric vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are as safe - or safer than - gasoline-powered vehicles. The battery packs are sealed in carbon composite cases. High-voltage circuits are marked, colour-coded and posted with warnings to advise of their presence. Commercial vehicles are built to normal vehicle safety standards of crashworthiness.

Performance

Battery-electric vehicles

The driving range of battery-electric vehicles depends on their battery type. Conventional lead-acid batteries can travel from 50 to 100 kilometres. More advanced batteries, such as nickel metal-hydride and lithium ion, have driving ranges of about 200 kilometres or more. The batteries must be recharged often, which takes up to eight hours each time, compared with the few minutes needed to fill up with gasoline. However, prototype advances batteries can have much shorter recharge times.

Older batteries are still generally heavy and bulky, which limits vehicle acceleration and top speed. More advanced batteries, however are smaller, lighter, carry more power and can improve performance.

Hybrid electric vehicles

HEVs use less gasoline than conventional vehicles do, thanks to their battery power and regenerative braking. Fuel consumption is usually reduced by around 30% but can be reduced by 50 percent or more. That means their driving range is farther than that of regular gasoline vehicles.

When HEVs operate on electric power, they are very quiet. On-board computers coordinate any shifts, depending on driving conditions, between the gas engine and the electric motor.