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EVPlus - Frequently Asked Questions

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Electric Vehicle - EV

Q. What is an EV ?

A. An EV is a vehicle that is powered by onboard batteries and driven by one or more electric motors.
The batteries are recharged from the power grid either from a home power outlet or a commercial charge point.
There is no gasoline (petrol) engine in this vehicle.

Q. What is an EV Conversion ?

A. To make an EV from a standard vehicle you must firstly remove the gasoline engine and all parts associated with this engine eg. the gas tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, exhaust system, radiator etc. etc.
Then an electric motor is usually attached to the gearbox/transaxle using a newly made adapter plate and a coupler attaches the motor drive shaft to the original gearbox input shaft.
Other major components required are a motor controller, batteries, battery charger, battery box/frame. There are a few other minor components required as well.

Q. Do all EV's have regenerative braking ?

A. EV's driven with AC (Alternating Current) motors will have regenerative braking and usually have regeneration on deceleration as well. Most commercial EVs are driven by AC motors.
Some low voltage DC (72V and below) conversions have regen. These are usually known as SEPEX systems and have a special matched motor/controller combination.
In general, DC conversions do not have regenerative braking.

Q. What determines the range of an EV ?

A. The range of an EV depends on many factors. The main considerations are the total weight of the car, the size of the battery pack (KWh) and the efficiency of the motor/controller combination. The air and rolling resistance play a part in this as well.

Extended Range Electric Vehicle - EREV, E-REV, R-EEV

Q. Can you please give some examples of an Extended Range Electric Vehicle?

Q. How does an EREV differ from a Plug-in Hybrid ?

A. With the EREV, the auxiliary gasoline engine is only used to charge the batteries when the voltage reaches the minimum level. This engine does not drive the wheels* at any stage, the electric motor drives the wheels at all times. *Please note, that in the case of the Volt and the Outlander PHEV, it has been shown that in some circumstances the petrol engine does in-fact drive the wheels.
In the Plug-in Hybrid the electric motor and the gasoline (petrol) engine both drive the wheels at various times.

Q. Isn't the EREV just another hybrid ?

A. Yes, technically any vehicle that utilizes two or more different fuel sources is a hybrid. To be totally correct the EREV is also known as a Plug-In Series Hybrid.

Hybrid/Electric Vehicle - HEV

Q. What is the advantage of a Hybrid over a conventional car ?

A. The hybrid vehicle utilizes the efficiency of an electric motor/generator system to improve the fuel economy of the vehicle. An electric motor has an overall efficiency of greater than 90% whereas an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) has an efficiency of less than 20%. By combining the two with very clever control systems the vehicle can be designed to present very good fuel economy figures, improving on the standard car by greater that 50%.
All this is achieved without being able to plug the vehicle in.
A typical Toyota Prius in its standard form will give fuel economy figures up to 60MPG.

Q. If I buy a hybrid car, can I plug it in to charge it ?

A. No, there is no provision for plugging in a standard hybrid vehicle. eg Toyota Prius, Honda Insight. Toyota have promised to produce a Plug-in Prius and this may be available world wide in 2013.

Q. I have heard of the Toyoto Prius, what other Hybrids are around ?

A. Yes as well as the Toyota Prius, there is the Toyota "Prius C" model which is smaller than the standard Prius and the Toyota "Prius V" which is larger than the standard Prius. Toyota also produce the "Camry Hybrid". Honda make the "Insight" Hybrid  the Civic Hybrid, Porsche's 918 Spyder hybrid and Lexus make the CT, GS and RX hybrids.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV

Plug-in Hybrid/Electric Vehicle- PHEV, PHV

Q. I am in Australia, where can I buy a Plug-In Hybrid vehicle ?

A. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV is now available for purchase in Australia. This can also be classed as a EREV as it has an electric range of 52km before the petrol engine starts.
T
he Toyota Plug-in models may not even reach Australia. The best alternative at the moment is to convert a standard Toyota Prius to Plug-in. For more information, see the "Conversions" page.

Q. What other  Plug-in hybrids available outside of Australia ?

A. The Toyota Plug-in Prius is available in Japan and also in the US, particularly in California and other states that follow the California ZEV mandate.
In Europe the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid is now available as well as the Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-in hybrid. (August 2014)
See also EREV section for examples.

Q. What is the Electric Only range of Plug-in hybrids ?

A.  - Toyota Plug-in Prius - 11 miles (18km)
     - 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in - 15 miles (24km)
     - GM (Holden) Volt - 38 miles (61km)
     - Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - 32 miles (52km)

Concept Vehicles

Q. I see many Concept EV and Hybrids in the news, when can I buy one ?

A. Many manufacturers create what is known as a "Concept" Vehicle. These are limited production (sometimes only one) trial or test vehicles. The reason behind them is to basically see if they can produce such a car. Rarely do these cars go any further than the concept stage. Example: The Jaguar CX-75 is to go into limited production of 250 units each priced at $1.15 million.

Q. What are some examples of a "Concept" EV or Hybrid  ?

A. Nissan Infiniti Emerg-E, Rimac Concept_One, Jaguar CX-75, BMW i8, Lightning GT.

Plug-in Supply Kit

Q. How does the original Toyota battery pack work with the add-on pack?

A. The original pack is 1.4kWh - NiMH

The add-on pack is 9.7kWh - LiFePO4 (40Ah cells)

The different capacities and chemistries are not a concern, as when in parallel mode, they will follow each other and act as one large 11.1kWh battery.

The "76 cells" of the add-on pack was chosen by Plug-in Supply for best match to the original pack for many reasons including the top voltage from regenerative braking and deceleration.
The regen will then be shared by both battery packs. This allow much greater gain from regen compared to the very limited amount gained prior to "conversion".
This works out at around 260 Volts DC. ... at 3.42V per cell for the add-on pack so the add-on pack will never be overcharged during normal driving.

When the add-on pack is being charged from an outlet, the original pack is not connected. On charge the individual cells charge to a max of 3.65V per cell.
This maximum is controlled by the maximum voltage of the charger, assuming all the cells are balanced. There is safety built in to this as well (BMS), so that if any of the cells reach around 4V during charge the charger is disabled.

When the add-on pack is connected to the original pack (under the control of the Plug-in Supply system), while driving, there will be a slight difference in voltage between the two battery packs.
I have questioned Plug-in Supply about this and he said that it not a problem and is well with in the capabilities of the contactor, and certainly not detrimental to the original pack.

The original cells will still be exercised as normal because of the direct parallel connection and particularly when the car is driven in "EV Only" mode.

The system will be setup (my idea) so that the Plug-in Supply system switches off and disconnects from the original hybrid system when the add-on cell reach a preset minimum Ah level, eg 10Ah; 25% of total Ah. There is an additional safety feature built in as well (via the BMS), so that if, for any reason, on discharge, an individual cell reaches a low voltage of 2.5V, this switches the add-on system off as well.
Once this switches off, the car runs in normal factory hybrid mode.

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