Electric Vehicle Repair in Culver City
Car marketing is driven by sales, not clarity. The folks who are in charge of naming cars, making advertisements for cars, and coming up with terms that describe their cars don’t need you to understand exactly what they mean.
Their main goal is to get you through the door of a dealership so that you buy one.
A great modern example of this problem is the nebula of terms surrounding cars that get some power from electricity. You’ll hear people talk about electric cars, hybrid cars, and plug-in hybrid cars.
All three of these vehicle types use an electric motor to power the car, but there’s a big difference in how often that electric motor is used and what you, the owner of the car, will need to do to keep it running.
Hybrid Cars – The First Step
Image Source: caranddriver
The Toyota Prius was the first mass-produced full hybrid car, and it’s been making waves for decades. When someone talks about a ‘hybrid’ they’re talking about a car that works like a Prius. These cars have gasoline engines, fuel tanks, electric motors, and a small battery.
The car can run perfectly fine on either the gas engine or the electric motor without any help from the other component, hence the term ‘full hybrid.’
What distinguishes hybrids from the other categories of electrified vehicles is the lack of charging capability. A hybrid car has a small battery that doesn’t hold a lot of power.
Current regular hybrid Prius vehicles have batteries that store about 2 kWh of power, in total. That’s enough power to get maybe 10 miles of range if you’re really lucky. Unlike plug-in hybrids or battery electric vehicles, however, the range of a hybrid car’s battery doesn’t really matter.
Hybrid cars don’t charge up their battery while they’re parked. Instead, they charge the battery while you drive. This is accomplished by two methods. First, the battery will siphon off a little bit of power from the gasoline engine.
Second, whenever you use your brakes, the car will convert the kinetic energy of the vehicle moving forwards into electrical power that can be stored within the battery. This means that the battery constantly charges while you drive.
The result of this is that your hybrid has lots of chances to ‘cheat’ in terms of fuel efficiency. City driving normally drains lots of fuel for relatively small drives, since your car has to accelerate frequently and then stop, throwing away all of the energy that the engine put in to build up speed. With a hybrid, this isn’t as big of a problem.
Every time you stop at a red light, stop sign, or traffic obstruction, the car saves a healthy portion of the energy that it had when it was traveling forwards. Your car then uses this power to get itself back up to speed when the light turns green.
Hybrid vehicles are great for city driving, especially for people who drive a decent amount each day but don’t have access to a 240 V electric charger. You’ll need to fuel them up as if they were traditional gasoline cars, but they’ve got amazing range and you don’t ever need to worry about charging them, just putting in fuel.
Some components of hybrid cars can be worked on by any mechanic, but for issues related to the car’s electrical motor, be sure to visit an auto repair shop that specializes in electric car repair.
Electric Cars – The Future?
Full electric cars, sometimes called battery electric vehicles, work very differently from hybrids. While they often use the same sort of regenerative brake technology to recoup electricity for their batteries, these vehicles don’t have any gasoline motors at all. Instead, they have absolutely massive batteries that often stretch across the entire floor of the car.
So why doesn’t everyone drive an electric car?
The issues stem from the battery. Modern car makers are getting better and better at making batteries that are lighter and inexpensive, but we’ve still got a long way to go if we want to compete with a fuel tank in terms of size and cost.
Not only are electric vehicle batteries are heavy and expensive, but they don’t offer a whole lot of range. Tesla advertises a whopping 340-mile range estimate on several of its newer models, but driving reports indicate that the actual maximum range might be closer to 250 miles. That’s on a full charge. If you want to drive for two hours, do something, and then drive home, you’re probably nearing the limits of the battery on your electric car.
A similar issue with a gasoline car could be easily overcome by simply purchasing fuel along the way. Charging an electric vehicle battery is more complicated. In some places, charging stations exist that can top off your battery in as little as 75 minutes or give you about 150 miles of additional range in 25 minutes. These ‘superchargers’ are far from ubiquitous, however, and most public charging stations offer about 25 miles of range per hour.
Charging at home is even more complicated. You’ll need an electrician to install a special charging port in your house to be able to get 30 miles of range per hour from your home charger. Without this special port, charging an electric vehicle overnight is essentially impossible at home.
These problems prevent the current generation of electric vehicles from being viable as the only car for many people and families. Long trips that don’t happen to follow the supercharger network become incredibly burdensome, and if you don’t own your home, installing a special charger is very difficult.
In order to solve these issues and open up electric vehicle ownership to more households, vehicle manufacturers have developed a third type of electrified vehicle called the plug-in hybrid.
Unlike hybrids, which have traditional gasoline engines, getting work done on electric cars can be difficult if you don’t want to ship them back to the dealer.
Luckily, Manuel’s Body Shop in Culver City has trained technicians that can help you with many issues you might experience with your electric car. Give us a call and let our electric car repair experts get to work.
The Plug-In Hybrid – Best of Both Worlds?
Unlike fully electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids feature gasoline engines. Unlike regular hybrids, however, these cars have large batteries that you’ll need to plug in to charge. Think of them as a sort of cross (or hybrid) between an electric vehicle and a regular hybrid car.
For short drives, the car makes use of the electric battery. It’s not as large as the battery on a fully electric car, but you can get about 25 miles of range on the electric power alone. When that power starts to get low, the car automatically switches over to the gasoline engine and the fuel tank. You can then proceed to refuel the car like a regular gas vehicle, giving you essentially limitless range as long as you visit a gas station every once in a while.
The 25-mile range on a plug-in hybrid matches up well with the average commute of many consumers. They’re good solutions for people who might want to take long trips occasionally but want an electric car for their drive to work.
As long as you plug in your car overnight (and at work, depending on your commute), you can do almost all of your regular driving on electric power while still having the freedom to drive for hundreds of miles every once in a while, hassle-free.
Again, like regular hybrids, most auto mechanics can help you with gasoline engine issues in your plug-in hybrid. If your problem extends to the electric drivetrain, however, you’ll want to make sure your auto repair shop is fully equipped to deal with hybrid vehicles.
MBS is your go-to shop in Culver City for any issues with your hybrid or electric vehicle.