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Driving An EV

3 min read
With electric vehicles increasing in popularity, many would-be converts are wondering if they drive like cars with internal combustion engine. Will they be too slow, and would they feel strange to handle?

As with any new trend, there are bound to be sceptics, because nobody is sure what to make of it. Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are well aware of that, and have worked hard to make the EV experience as close as possible to that of cars with internal combustion engines (ICE). That said, the EV is a totally different type of car from an ICE car.

EVs are actually much easier to drive. To start the car, simply press the ‘start’ button, choose ‘drive’ on the gear selector, and away you go! In a conventional automatic car, when you put the car in drive mode, the car’s transmission shifts through the gears as you drive. However, EVs do not have any gears for selection, which is the wonder of an electric motor. In simple terms, the electric motor spins in one direction to go forward and the other to go backwards.

In an ICE car, you have to get the car into the right rev range before the torque becomes available and transmitted to the car’s wheels. On the other hand, the electric motor’s torque is available instantly. This is because the motor is turned on immediately by electricity; for ICE engines, one has to wait for them to power up. This is also why EVs are so much quieter and more efficient than an ICE car — with an electric motor, you don’t have that many moving parts that produce heat and noise.

The EV has a clever use of its braking function. When the driver lifts off from the accelerator pedal (regenerative braking) or steps on the brake pedal, the electric motor converts the kinetic energy from the car’s forward motion into electricity that helps to recharge the battery each time. In fact, this regenerative braking ability is one of the EV’s greatest differences from an ICE car.

The responsiveness of the electric motor also makes the EV fun to drive, even for the most basic EV models. It is also one of the characteristics that makes an EV so easy to drive. However, each time you step on the accelerator pedal, the acceleration tails off quickly and does not build up like it does in an ICE car — this makes overtaking, especially on expressways, a little challenging.

One of the major concerns that would-be buyers have about EVs is the travel range and the limited number of charging stations. The good news is that with each new EV offering, EV makers are striving to improve that metric to appease buyers. EVs can now travel up to 300km or more on a single charge, depending on the EV type. Major cities like Singapore are also upping their EV infrastructure to include more charging stations, which will help with range anxiety as well. EV owners can expect the current number of charging stations here to increase to about 60,000 by 2030. Initiatives, such as City Energy’s Go tie-up with its counterparts in Malaysia, provide Singapore EV owners seamless charging convenience across the border as well as further easing any anxiety that owners may have.

EV batteries convert about 60% energy into the car’s movement as compared to about 20% in gas-powered cars – this makes the EVs more climate-friendly, as they do not have any tailpipe emissions.

With Singapore accelerating the EV adoption for a more sustainable land transport system and phasing out all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, Singaporean drivers will need to adapt to the transition from ICEs to EVs. While most of us are averse to changes to our daily lives, particularly when they are mandatory, we are adaptable and will be especially motivated to accept them if they foster a greener motoring future.