Some automotive technicians are going to be killed by the high voltages on electric vehicles. I have written many textbooks about automotive technology where I have highlighted safe working practices, but the one I have just completed the script for will save lives. This book is called, ‘Electric and Hybrid Vehicles’, and will be out early in 2016. By the way, we use the term EV to cover all the different types there are such as hybrids and pure-EVs.
Did you know the voltages on some EVs can be several hundred volts, which is almost three time the mains voltage in our houses? The majority of EV batteries are well over 300 volts. If the human body experiences a current of just fifty thousandths of an ampere (50mA, which is not very much) for over two seconds it can be fatal.
Now that I have scared you away from ever touching high voltage components (which are all labelled and usually coloured orange) I would add that working on EVs is perfectly safe! You just need to be trained and know what you are doing. Driving an EV is also perfectly safe and don’t expect poor performance either. My EV will do well over 80 miles per hour (on a private track!) just using the battery and electric motor.
Of course as well as saving lives, the book is packed with really interesting information and technology relating to EVs. For example, whether it is safe to plug in the charging lead in the rain. How most motors on EVs are AC motors but we call them DC motors! The book even covers things like what ‘first responders’ should do if a lithium-ion battery is burning after an accident. The book covers all the requirements for the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) awards and accreditations for those who need a qualification. Look out for the amazing eLearning that will also be available soon to support the book.
I have also included a short case study on charging my own EV (actually a PHEV) from solar panels. This may or may not save the planet but in the meantime it does save me money as I can now do a large proportion of my motoring for about 1p a mile.
Here are three more interesting facts to finish on:
A formula-e (fully electric racing car) will accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in under 3 seconds
- The Tesla Model S (a fully electric car) has a range of up to 330 miles
- In the year 1900, electrically powered cars were the best-selling road vehicles in the USA
Now back to the final proof read of the script!