Belgium Study to Measure the Efficiency of Electric Cars

December 20, 2013

Electric cars have proven to be highly efficient. This is unlike cars that have internal combustion engines, which causes them to lose energy in the form of heat. Advocates of electric vehicles have emphasized the efficiency of electric cars for years. Also, there is reliable data concerning the efficiency level of diesel and gasoline cars. However, electric vehicles are still novel and few in number. This means that there is less documentation to show the efficiency of such cars. Some Belgian researchers were given a chance to investigate five cars. The cars under study were Peugeot models, which are exactly the same as Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the European version. The people who monitored the cars were drawn from Laborelec, and were supported by the Vrije University in Brussels. The University houses a facility whose major focus is automotive technology.

The funding for the study was provided by a Belgian utility known as Electrabel. The funds lasted for a period of two years. The first section of the study aimed at defining the methodology. A monitoring system that was both precise and dedicated was developed, and the starting point is when a full approval was received from the vehicle manufacturer. The study entailed recording data from five cars over a time span of two years. The variables under investigation entailed voltage, battery current, odometer, state-of-charge, ambient temperature, GPS coordinates, and instant speed. The five cars covered a total distance of 42,953 miles. The five cars had energy consumption of 336.28, 291.23, 289.62, 249.39, and 299.27 respectively in watt-hours per mile. Different values were obtained for the five cars mainly due to different drivers. The average energy consumption was 293.16 for the fleet of five vehicles. The above figures represent the total energy consumption, which is considered insufficient to give a full picture. This is because the car’s efficiency has been greatly increased by regenerative braking.

A significant aim of the study was showing the eventual course of electricity. It was to find out whether electricity was going to the auxiliaries or the motor. For the five cars, the energy consumption share entering the auxiliaries was 35.8, 40.1, 22.0, 21.6, and 33.6. Internal combustion vehicles shine in that, heating is basically free. In its normal operation, an internal combustion engine would lose a lot of energy. Hence, getting back some of the energy to heat the vehicle would cost almost nothing. It can therefore be concluded that the heating system is the biggest thing to increasing the efficiency of electric vehicles.



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