One of the significant changes coming to the Secure Transportation profession is Electric Vehicles (EVs) – it is not if – it is when you will be driving EVs as your primary vehicle.
Keep in mind that as a Security Driver or Secure Transportation provider, you are expected to understand the technology that affects your job or services. The market looks at you as an expert in anything automotive, and unfortunately, there tends to be confusion concerning the type of electric vehicles available. The vehicle manufacturers create almost all the confusion.
The International Security Driver Association suggests that practitioners get ahead of the curve by developing a basic understanding of EVs.
The Basics of Electric Vehicles
Not all Electric Vehicles run only on electricity
There are a few different types of electric vehicles (EVs). Some run purely on battery-supplied electricity; these are called pure electric vehicles. And some can also be run on fuel; these are called hybrid electric vehicles. For the security driver and secure transportation provider, the difference between them is significant.
Plug-in electric – This means the car runs purely on electricity and gets all its power from a battery and needs to be plugged into a charger to replenish the battery. This type doesn’t need fuel to run.
Plug-in hybrid – These cars mainly run on electricity but also have a traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), so the driver can use the ICE if they run out of a charge. Plug-in hybrids can also be plugged into an electricity source to recharge their battery
Hybrid-electric – These run mainly on fuel and have an electric battery recharged through regenerative braking. Regenerative braking captures energy otherwise lost during braking and then uses this power to help recharge the vehicle’s battery. You may hear it referred to as Kinetic Energy Restoration System (KERS) Hybrid-electric vehicles let you switch between using your fuel engine and using ‘EV’ mode at the touch of a button. These cars cannot be plugged into an electricity source and rely on fuel.
Plug-in electric vehicles need to be charged to keep them running, considered it similar to filling the gas tank except filling the gas tank with fuel takes minutes, and there are many gas stations. Charging your Plug-in electric vehicle can take hours, and, as of now, there are not readily available.
The Question Becomes – How long does it take to charge an electric car? At present, there are also three EV charging speeds:
- Slow – Used to charge overnight or at the workplace. Charging time: 8-10 hours.
- Fast – Usually installed in parking lots, supermarkets, leisure centers, and houses with off-street parking. Charging time: 3-4 hours.
- Rapid – Only compatible with EVs that have rapid charging capability. Charging time: 30-60 minutes.
So, at best, it will take 30 minutes to an hour to charge an executive vehicle.
By far, the biggest concern for security drivers and secure transportation providers is the vehicle’s range or how many miles can the vehicle travel before the driver has to wait for hours before they can drive it.
Range of EVs
For the Security Driver, we get back to the basics, the Security Driver Triangle – The Vehicle – Driver – Environment.
As with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles, speed, distance, MPG, etc., will vary between vehicles, driving habits, and road conditions, etc. The same is true for a Plug-in electric vehicle. How far you can travel on a full charge depends on the vehicle and how and where it is driven.
As we mentioned, the vehicle, how that vehicle is driven, and the environment in which it moves through determines the EV’s milage.
A few examples will use up the vehicle’s charge, the same as using up the fuel and lowering the gas millage, except you are using up the electricity stored in the battery.
These are examples of the Triangle at work
- Poor aerodynamics – Poor wheel alignment – Low tire pressure will lower the EV’s mileage.
- Vehicle weight and payload are significant. The lighter the vehicle, the less energy is needed to move the vehicle. This brings up the question of armor.
- The Environment – Temperature – battery temperature below 50 degrees will diminish the range of the vehicle.
Generally, you need about 2500-3000 watts to raise the temperature in a car to a comfortable level in a reasonable amount of time and about 1500 watts to maintain that temperature. So those in a cold climate will lower their range by about 15%.
Driving on hills
A 5% grade requires twice the power needed on level roads. Higher voltage comes in handy when going up hills. A long 5% grade hill doubles the power. If the principal lives or works in mountainous areas you will need larger batteries.
How fast the vehicle can move depends on the EVs Voltage! The higher the voltage of your Battery System, the faster a given EV can go.
Just as driving an ICE, your range will depend on Trade-Off: As with ICE’s, the faster you go, the more fuel is used – the faster an EV goes, the more power is used. This will impact how far you can travel on a single charge.