A marvel of modern engineering, electric cars has revolutionized the world of road transport. With millions of electric cars sold every year, this billion-dollar industry is bound to keep booming.
The eco-friendly green technology used to design electric cars makes them the vehicle of the future. Since the use of electricity, widespread use of e-cars will eventually help reduce annual carbon emissions and preserve non-renewable fossil fuels.
With futurist concepts and modern technology, electric cars have the potential to replace gas cars. However, the main question is how power efficient these electric cars really are.
How Many Watts Does An Electric Car Use?
Electric cars share many similarities and differences with conventional gas-powered cars. Like a gas-powered car, an electric car also relies on a powerhouse device to supply it with energy.
For a gas-powered car, its powerhouse is its engine. The engine helps burn fossil fuel to create the needed energy for the car to move.
While, for an electric car, the powerhouse would be its electric motor. Instead of burning fossil fuel, the electric motor uses the battery’s stored charge to produce energy.
A gas-powered car’s energy consumption is measured in liters per 100 kilometers. Whereas an electric car’s energy consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers.
Most electric cars use 15kWh per 100 kilometers or 30kWh per 100 miles. This means that an electric car will utilize 15kWh of electrical energy to travel for 100kilometers.
Most electric cars are not that energy-intensive, which means they do not require a lot of energy to keep moving. Moreover, electric car technology ensures minimum energy loss. As a result, the energy efficiency is high.
In general, a combustion engine is able to convert 16-35% of the burned fuel into usable energy. On the other hand, the electric motor of an electric car can perform at 73-90% energy efficiency.
An electric car is able to maximize efficiency through its regenerative braking system. A conventional gas-powered car does not have this system.
This superior technology and efficiency are what make these electric cars the real contenders of today’s times.
However, an electric car’s watt (power) usage does not solely rely on its electric motor’s function. Rather, just like in a gas-powered car, many other factors can alter energy usage.
The factors affecting an electric car’s energy usage are:
- The type of the electric car (manufacturer, model, size and shape)
- The type of battery the electric car uses
- The total weight of the electric car
- How the electric car is being driven and used
- The weather conditions during which the electric car is driven
- The terrain of the route where the electric car is driven
Factors Affecting an Electric Car’s Watt Usage
Today, numerous different manufacturers design and produce electric cars. Some of the leading manufacturers include Hyundai, Tesla, Porche, Nissan, and others.
While Hyundai has sold the most electric car units, Tesla has been found to create the most innovative electric cars.
Every manufacturing company uses unique technologies and systems. The technologies are constantly innovated to create competitive electric cars that stand out and perform better, especially in terms of energy efficiency.
The table below shows some of the global electric car manufacturers with the highest energy efficiency cars.
|Manufacturing Company||Electric Car Model||Energy Consumption (miles/kWh)|
|Hyundai (South Korea)||Ionic Electric||4.5|
|Tesla (USA)||Model 3||4.4|
|SEAT (Spain)||Seat Mii Electric||4.3|
An electric car manufacturing company produces multiple electric car models. These models differ in their appearances, technologies, battery sizes, prices. Hence, different models have different energy efficiencies.
For instance, Tesla has four main electric car models. All these models have unique qualities and energy efficiencies.
The table below shows different Tesla models and their respective energy efficiencies.
|Tesla Model||Energy efficiency (miles/kWh)|
Similarly, every electric car brand produces cars of different sizes. While some electric cars are mini-wagons or medium-sized sedans, some EVs are road trucks and heavy-weight vehicles.
The bigger the electric vehicle, the heavier it is. The heavyweight adds additional stress to the electric motor. This stress causes more watts to be consumed for mobility.
The shape of a vehicle plays an important part in how much energy it consumes to work.
Electric cars with a more streamlined body experience less aerodynamic drag; whereas a bulky EV would feel greater pressure from the wind.
As a result, streamline electric cars are faster and have higher energy efficiency. Bulky electric cars, on the other hand, use more watts moving through the wind’s force.
This is the reason why airplanes are designed to have a pointy shape.
The Type of Battery the Electric Car Uses
An electric car battery is used to power the electric motor present in the vehicle. The battery can store charge and transfer it to the motor. The motor then converts the charge to energy.
Electric cars come in three different types of batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries: These batteries have the highest efficiencies (almost 100%) to store and transfer charge to the electric motor. These batteries have high energy and high power densities, making them the most desirable battery type in the market. Lithium-ion batteries can also be molded into different shapes. This quality makes them perfect for adjusting in any vehicle size. A small EV with a high-capacity lithium-ion battery will have the highest efficiency.
- Nickel batteries: These batteries are less common in electric cars and are found in some long-range electric vehicles. These types of batteries are less efficient than lithium-ion batteries. With slow charging and discharging abilities, these batteries have 65%-75% efficiency. As a result, they are not able to transfer charge to the motor as efficiently and reduce the motor’s efficiency.
- Lead acid batteries are the least common type of electric car batteries. Their efficiency is usually less than 70%.
The Total Weight of the Electric Car
The heavier the electric vehicle is, the more energy is used to pull it. Hence, more watts would be consumed.
Similarly, lighter electric vehicles enjoy higher efficiencies and fewer watts are used.
This is so because the electric motor takes the stress as the weight increases. It needs more time to create sufficient energy for allowing mobility. Consequently, more watts are used, and efficiency drops.
The table below shows different electric cars, their weights, and their respective energy efficiencies.
|Electric Car Name||Electric Car Weight (kgs)||Energy Efficiency (miles/kWh)|
|Mercedes Benz EQV luxury passenger van||3000||2.2|
|The Audi e-tron 55 SUV||2720||2.17|
|Tesla Model Y||2056||3.57|
|Hyundai Ionic Electric||1575||4.5|
The figures presented in the table illustrate how increasing weights can lower energy efficiencies.
Moreover, if too many passengers get in an electric car, its total weight is bound to increase. This reduces the electric motor’s efficiency, causing higher watt usage.
Similarly, if the electric vehicle is carrying excessive heavy-weight cargo, the total weight would increase. Such cargo could include a mounted mountain bike or numerous suitcases.
As a result, the EV would not perform at its maximum efficiency, and watt usage would be high.
Electric Car Driving Practices and Care
Certain driving practices can both increase or decrease the total watt usage. Moreover, neglect and poor care can cause the overall car’s efficiency to drop.
Acceleration for Long Periods
Driving at high speeds and changing accelerations frequently could be thrilling. However, such a driving method is highly discouraged.
Every time the driver hits the throttle, excessive energy is needed to increase the speed. When the person continuously increases the speed, watt usage rises greatly. As a result, the motor’s efficiency drops.
Frequent Brakes and Short Trips
Every time an electric car is restarted after coming to a halt, extra energy is used up. Energy usage also increases when the rider makes frequent short trips and hits the brakes too often
This driving practice uses more watts and significantly lowers the electric car’s range and efficiency.
Moreover, hitting the brakes frequently adds stress to the electric motor. This causes its performance and capabilities to degrade.
Lack of Regenerative Braking
Although most electric cars now come with a built-in regenerative braking system, some old cars lack it. Moreover, the regenerative braking system could malfunction and stop in some cases.
The regenerative system is a unique technology that gives electric cars an edge over gas-powered cars. This technology allows minimal waste of energy.
When the electric motor converts the charge to kinetic energy, not all that energy is used for motion. With the regenerative braking system, this extra energy could get wasted.
Instead, it is captured and reconverted into electrical energy. This conversion optimizes the watt usage and boosts energy efficiency.
Poor Tire Care
The tires of an electric car are its important components and greatly affect the watt usage.
If the driver continues to drive with old, worn-out, or sticky tires, the electric motor would feel the stress. This added stress would cause an inefficient usage of watts and reduce total efficiency.
Moreover, driving with low-pressure tires will also add stress to the electric motor. The electric motor would have to use more watts to push the vehicle through. As a result, efficiency would drop.
The Weather Conditions
The weather conditions always greatly impact any vehicle’s performance and energy usage.
Driving an electric car under the strong sun could cause the electric motor to heat up. This overheating will add stress and damage the electric motor, causing inefficient watt usage.
Hitting high speeds on an overheated electric motor could amplify this negative effect. In extreme circumstances, the motor could get fried and require extensive repairs.
Driving the electric car when the motor and battery are too cold is damaging for the car’s systems. Without proper warm-up, the cold motor has to work double to heat itself and create energy.
The added stress on the motor causes damage and uses up high watts of power. As a result, total efficiency takes a hit.
Humidity During Rainy Weather
Although electric cars have water-resistant motors, the high humid conditions could cause the connections to corrode. With poor motor connections, the energy conversion rate is affected and efficiency drops.
The Driving Terrain
An e-car’s efficiency drops when the driving terrain has an excess of steep slopes.
This is because more energy is used every time the car has to push up a slope. As a result, the watt usage increases, and the motor could even overheat.
How Can an Electric Car Use Watts in an Efficient Way?
An electric car has a far more efficient system than a gas-powered car. Moreover, the charging costs of an electric car are significantly lower than the refueling costs of the latter.
Hence, it is safe to say that an electric car is the way of the future. In order to further improve the car’s watt usage efficiency, one should:
- Try to reduce the overall weight of the electric car. This can be done by not loading excessive cargo or too many passengers at once. Also, avoid adding heavy bumpers to reduce the wattage.
- Make sure there is reduce the aerodynamic drag. This can be done by removing any luggage or bike mounted on the car’s roof. Instead, one should store the luggage inside and a trunk rack for bikes;
- Drive at steady speeds and refrain from unnecessarily hitting throttle;
- Avoid hitting the brakes too frequently;
- Invest in regenerative braking system;
- Avoid routes with excessive slopes. Moreover, drive up a slope on a lower gear;
- Keep an eye on tire quality and air pressure;
- Protect the electric motor from extreme weather conditions and humidity;
- Never drive without letting the motor properly cool down or heat up;
- Pre-check the weather conditions and plan your drive accordingly.
Related electric car articles:
- Can You Use Bitcoin to Buy an Electric Car?
- Do Electric Cars Have Petrol Backup?
- What Happens if Your Tesla Runs Out of Battery?
- Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements in California
- What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?
Electric cars have played a major role in eliminating fossil fuel dependency and reducing urban atmospheric pollution.
Electric cars have superior technology that makes them far more energy-efficient than conventional cars. Multiple factors, including weight, weather conditions, and driving styles can affect the watt usage of an electric car. For optimized watt usage, responsible driving and attention to the car and the environment are critical.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.