How Far Can an Electric Car Travel on a Single Charge?

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How Far Can an Electric Car Travel on a Single Charge?

With the increasing cost of gasoline and similar fuels, car owners are becoming more interested in electric vehicles,, or EVs for short. The concept of an electric car has been around for decades, but only recently has the technology reached a point where it can be practically implemented in modern society. For buyers, one of the key concerns about electric cars is their limited range. Some drivers may fear that an electric car will not provide them with sufficient power to get everywhere that they need to go.

To understand how far electric cars can travel on a single charge, buyers must first understand how electric cars work, how they are typically charged, and how environmental factors may affect the length of a charge. This guide provides an overview of the key facets of electric cars and explains how the charging process works. It also informs buyers how long they can expect a charge to last with a certain kind of battery and in certain conditions. In addition, the guide supplies information about where to purchase an electric car, including local auto dealerships and online retailers like eBay..

Inside an Electric Car

Under the hood, electric cars look much different than regular automobiles do. A typical car has an engine and various systems and parts that nearly fill up the engine compartment. By contrast, an electric car contains one electric motor and the accompanying controller module. It also includes the transmission, braking, heating, air conditioning, and safety systems that owners would see in a typical gas-fueled car..

The battery that provides the charge for the car is installed either in the trunk or under the car. If the motor receives too much power from the battery pack, it can burn out. The controller next to the electric motor serves to regulate how much power the electric motor receives.

Electric cars look a little different on the outside as well. Since they produce no harmful emissions, they lack the exhaust pipe or tailpipe that channels exhaust away from the car. Electric cars do not have a gas tank, either, since the entirety of their power is supplied by the battery pack.

Maintenance Needs for an Electric Car

Gas-powered cars need regular oil changes, tune-ups, and emissions checks, in addition to other maintenance and repairs. Electric motors need no such maintenance. The electric motor significantly streamlines the car's systems. However, electric cars still need tire rotations and changes, as well as brake pad checks and replacements. The transmission or heating and air systems may also need to be serviced from time to time.

The Range of an Electric Car

How far an electric car can drive on a single charge depends on many different factors. It depends on the kind of motor in the car, on the type of battery pack being used, on the temperature outdoors, and on whether the car is a hybrid.

Electric Vehicles

The average electric vehicle can run for 40 to 100 miles on one charge. Toyota makes the RAV4 electric car, which travels for up to 125 miles per charge. For a range of 200 miles or more, buyers will need to look at a more expensive electric vehicle, such as the Tesla Roadster.

Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid cars can use either gas or electricity to run. Typically, a hybrid has a regular range that is equal to a standard gas-powered car. When it is running on electricity, it may be able to go for 30 to 50 miles, depending on the make and the model of the car. For instance, a Toyota Prius that is equipped with a Hymotion A123 conversion kit will have a 30-mile range. The Chevrolet Volt can run for well over 400 miles on one tank of gas and up to 40 miles on battery power alone.

Types of Electric Motors

The market for electric cars is rapidly changing. Currently, there are three primary types of electric car motor, each with its own advantages.

Type of Electric Car


DC Brushless

DC brushless motors are fairly slow to accelerate, but once they get going, they supply the greatest speeds of any electric motors that are currently available.

AC Induction

AC induction motors accelerate fairly quickly and more rapidly than other electric motors on the market today, but their top speed is rather average. AC induction motors are also more expensive than other models are.

Permanent Magnet

Permanent magnet motors have an acceleration rate and a top speed that is only average. They are a little less expensive than the other two types of electric motors are.

Buyers who are considering an electric car will need to calculate the advantages of each type of motor and determine which one is the best fit for their lifestyle.

Types of Electric Car Batteries

Electric cars may run on one of three kinds of batteries: lead acid, nickel-metal hydride, or lithium ion. When choosing an electric car, buyers will need to think about whether battery range, recyclability, or cost is most important to them. Whichever battery buyers choose, they will need to have it replaced every few years. Like regular batteries, car batteries tend to lose their charge more quickly the longer they are in use.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are some of the most environmentally friendly electric car batteries available, since they are 97 percent recyclable. They are also very affordable. Because of their low cost and recyclability, lead acid car batteries are among the most popular choices for electric car owners.

Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are more compact than lead acid batteries are. They also offer stronger performance, though they do cost significantly more than lead acid batteries do.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium ion batteries carry a higher price than either lead acid or nickel-metal hydride batteries do. They are smaller, yet they offer excellent performance and a longer range. If buyers are willing to pay extra and do not mind the lack of recyclability, lithium ion batteries are the way to go.

Cold Weather and Electric Car Batteries

Weather does have an effect on the battery of the electric vehicle. When batteries are cold, their power level decreases. Buyers who live in an area with cold winters will want to ensure that they purchase a car with a range that is more than sufficient for their needs. When the days grow cold, the car may lose up to 25 percent of its range. If users are running the heat, the headlights, and the wipers, battery life will be shortened even further.

Ways to Increase Battery Range

Electric car owners can try a number of different ways to extend their car battery's range. They can use different tires, or they can invest in special systems that will maximize the distance that they get from a single charge.

Purchasing Low Resistance Tires

The easier it is for the tires to roll, the less power it will take to move the car. Owners who are interested in increasing their car's range may want to consider purchasing a set of low resistance tires. These tires can be a little expensive, but they may be worth the investment.

Investing in Regenerative Braking

A regenerative braking system in an electric vehicle can significantly increase a car's range, providing a boost of up to 15 percent. Regenerative braking works by reusing the energy and heat of the moving car and returning it to the battery pack. When the brakes are applied, this extra potential energy is rerouted to recharge the batteries. Electric vehicles with regenerative braking systems are more expensive than those without them are, but for many owners, the increased range is more than sufficient to offset the cost.

Using a Manual Transmission

Electric vehicles may come with either a manual or an automatic transmission. Automatic transmissions are easier to handle for most drivers. However, manual transmissions are usually more efficient and thus allow for a better range.

Charging at the Destination

If users have access to a charging station at their destination, they can keep their car fully charged. For instance, they may be able to plug their car in at work or in the parking lot of the shopping mall. As electric cars become more popular, more cities and private businesses are installing convenient charging points.

How to Charge an Electric Car

A full charge for an electric car typically costs just a few dollars. A complete charge from zero to 100 percent can take several hours, unless owners have access to a rapid charging station. There are two ways to charge an electric vehicle. Owners can use either conductive charging or inductive charging. With conductive charging, metal against metal contact is required to pass the electric current to the batteries. With inductive charging, a magnetic field is used to charge the battery pack. The inductive method is more expensive, but it is also safer for users. Experts predict that inductive charging or a more advanced method will replace the conductive charging method at some point in the near future.

Buying Electric Cars on eBay

Some electric cars may be available at auto dealerships in your area. While true EVs are in limited supply, hybrids are more widely available. Both electric cars and hybrids can be found on eBay with a simple search for either "electric car&" or "hybrid car.." You can also visit eBay Motors and search for their new vehicle using the options on that page. If eBay's main website does not have the selection that you are looking for, try searching for "electric cars&" in the eBay Stores section of the website. This area contains no auction listings, but instead provides a more retail-style experience for buyers. If you would like to stay informed about the available listings for electric cars, save your search and eBay will let you know of each new listings that appear on the site as they are added.

eBay sellers offer incentives like free shipping, bundles, package deals, and return policies on most products. When shopping for a car, look for listings that include eBay's Top Rated Plus seal. Sellers whose listings contain this seal are known for their prompt communication with clients and for the quality of their products. They have high feedback ratings and will likely be helpful and courteous as you contemplate the purchase of your new electric car. If you need to communicate with a seller, click Contact Member on the seller's profile page or click Ask a Question on the listing page. Either of these links will allow you to send the seller a private message without the need to disclose your personal email address.


Some buyers may be interested in purchasing an electric car, but they may be concerned that the car's range will not be sufficient for them. Most drivers do not travel more than 30 miles total by car on the average day, and trips of more than 50 miles only happen a few times a year for most car owners. These statistics prove that the range of the average electric car is amply sufficient for the majority of users. When selecting their electric car, buyers will need to ensure that they choose one with more than adequate range, since cold days can cut the range by 20 to 25 percent. If cost savings are of paramount importance to buyers, they may want to choose the most basic model of electric car for short trips around town. However, if a long range is vital, buyers will want to invest in low resistance tires, regenerative braking, manual transmission, and other features that can increase efficiency and extend the range of their car. With the right information, buyers should be prepared to select an electric car that not only meets their family's needs, but also contributes to the health of the entire planet.

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