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Electric Cars For Dummies

  • ISBN13:


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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2022-09-07
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Supplemental Materials

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Drive into the 21st century in an electric car

With falling cost of ownership, expanded incentives for purchasing, and more model and body type options than ever, it may finally be time to retire the old gas-guzzler and dive into the world of electric car ownership. Electric Cars For Dummies is your guide to becoming lightning powered, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money on gas while you do it. This book teaches you how to select the battery-charged vehicle that fits your need and budget. It also offers insight into how to maintain your electric car, including answering all your questions about charging your vehicle. Calculate the total cost of ownership, prep your home to become one huge charger, and demystify the battery, the tune-ups and more.

  • Learn the difference in cost of ownership and emissions between electric and gas-powered vehicles
  • Explore your options and find an electric car that fits in your budget
  • Know when and how to charge your vehicle, and what kind of maintenance it needs
  • Figure out how to charge your car on the go

This is the perfect book for new and would-be electric car owners looking for guidance on buying and maintaining one of these super sleek machines.

Author Biography

Brian Culp is a long-time technical writer who is currently the technical publications manager for a U.S.- based electric car manufacturer. Before he started his career as an electric vehicle expert, Brian played three years of professional baseball. He still holds the career home run record at his alma mater, Kansas State University.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 3

Foolish Assumptions 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 6

Part 1: Getting In On the Popularity of Electric Cars 7

Chapter 1: So You’re Thinking About Buying an Electric Car 9

Why Buy an Electric Car? 11

The Disruption of Better Tech 12

Acronyms and Abbreviations That Make You Sound Smrt 15

Drawing the Line between Electric and Gas-Powered Vehicles 17

Yeah, but Gas Cars Aren’t Going Anywhere for a While — Wait, What? 21

Where gas cars are going in Europe (and especially Norway) 24

Where gas cars are going in the US (and especially California) 26

Why predictions are unpredictable 29

TL;DR: Your Top Questions about Electric Cars, Answered 32

How long does an EV take to charge? 33

EVs can’t get me where I need to go? 34

Aren’t EVs expensive? 34

How long until I have to replace my EV’s battery? 34

Why can’t I find somewhere to charge my EV? 35

What happens if the battery runs out of juice while I’m driving? 36

Aren’t EVs worse for the environment than gasoline cars? 36

Chapter 2: The Fascinating Tech That’s (Sort of) Under the Hood 37

Recognizing That Induction Motors Mean Instant Energy 38

Seeing What Happens When You Hit “the Gas” 40

Comparing Torque and Horsepower 42

Letting Physics Do the Braking 44

Knowing how EVs make energy while driving 44

Seeing what happens when you let up on the “gas” 45

Making More Room for the Fun Stuff 48

Knowing What to Do When There’s (Almost) Nothing Under the Hood 50

Driving an iPad with Wheels 53

Faster and further — all by changing a few words 54

Predicting the future of OTA updates, and the car as a computing platform 56

Chapter 3: Electric Vehicles and a Safer Drive 59

Why You Might Be Under the Impression That EVs Are Unsafe 60

A Brief — and Instructive — History of ICE Vehicle Safety 62

A Short History of Everything (Car-Safety-Related) in 2 Minutes 63

Examining Safety Features (and Statistics) for Electric Vehicles 66

What’s NHTSA’s line, anyway? 66

The 5-star safety rating 68

Exploring the Possibility of a Car Fire (ICE versus EV) 72

Car fires by the numbers 73

Calculating the risk of an EV catching fire 75

One caveat to all this EV fire talk 75

The leading cause of vehicle fires 77

Okay, but what if I have a pacemaker — you know, electromagnetic motors and such? 79

A Car That Gets Safer Over Time 81

EVs will get safer over time 81

Your EV will get safer over time 85

Part 2: Buying Wisely 87

Chapter 4: Consider the Cost (of an Electric Vehicle) 89

The Price of an Automobile: An Analysis Using Numbers 90

Gas versus Electric: A Comparison Using Numbers 92

So, about that price parity thing 92

Estimating the cost of gas for ICEs 94

Estimating the cost of electrons for EVs 95

Price parity: The wait is over 97

A deeper dive (into the fuel tank) 98

The French-Canadian connection 101

EVs and Maintenance: An Estimation Using Numbers 102

Whoa — EVs Seem Expensive! Maybe We Should Look at the Numbers 103

Bottom Line: Estimating (Using Numbers) the Total Cost of Ownership 104

Chapter 5: Researching Your EV Options 109

An Overview of the EV Market 110

HEVs 111

PHEVs 113

BEVs 116

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff 119

Hatchbacks 120

Midsize sedans 124

Luxury/performance sedans 126

Crossovers 132

SUVs 136

Pickups 140

Others 144

Deciding When (or Whether) to Buy a Used Electric Car 148

Verifying battery life 149

Start practicing Zen meditation 151

Living with no (or very few) incentives for used vehicles 152

Chapter 6: Buying Your New Electric Car 155

Exploring the Differences between Buying an ICE and an EV 156

Navigating (or Avoiding) the Dealership 156

So then what’s the deal — why can’t I buy a Tesla in Texas? 158

Remembering that no states have banned EV car sales 160

Buying an EV from a dealer 162

Handling EV-specific issues at the dealer 164

Choosing between buying and leasing 166

Leveraging leasing incentives 168

Taking advantage of the option to buy 169

Taking the route of Costco or another wholesale club 170

Taking advantage of a corporate discount 172

Shopping for a used EV 173

Insuring Your Electric Wheels 177

Seeing why EVs cost (a bit) more to insure 178

“How to save 15 percent on ” (you know the rest) 179

Part 3: Maintaining Your Newfangled Horseless Carriage 181

Chapter 7: Charge ’Er Up! 183

Onions Have Layers, and Charging Has Levels 184

Getting Up to Speed with Level 1 Charging 184

Is Level 1 charging enough for your EV driving needs? 186

How do you use Level 1 charging? 186

What are some obstacles to Level 1 charging? 187

Level 1 cheat sheet 187

Turning Things Up with Level 2 Charging 188

Level 2 charging at home 188

Level 2 charging in public 189

Should you install a Level 2 outlet at your home? 192

How do you use Level 2 charging? 193

What are some obstacles to Level 2 charging? 195

Level 2 cheat sheet 197

Getting a Wicked-Fast Charge with Level 3 Charging 198

Fast charging plug connectors 200

Examining Level 3 charging claims from EV manufacturers 201

Identifying the players in the DC fast-charging business 204

Level 3 cheat sheet 204

Chapter 8: Protecting the Battery (and Your Investment) 207

Seeing Which Batteries Actually Power Cars 208

Looking at battery form factors 210

Looking at the advantages of cylindrical batteries 211

It takes a village 213

Battery pack capacity 215

Counting Up the Kilowatt-Hours 216

Kilowatt-hours in vehicle badging — that’s so 2018 218

Getting down to the nitty-gritty 219

Recognizing That Too Much of a Good Thing Is a Bad Thing 220

Dealing with Battery Death 222

Going the Extra Mile 223

Seeing Where EV Batteries Go When They Die 224

Dirk Spiers and Spiers new technology 224

JB Straubel and Redwood Materials 225

Your EV recycling to-do list 227

Dealing with Battery Pack Replacements 229

When replacing a battery makes sense: The case for hybrids 229

Reviewing battery replacement options 230

Chapter 9: Keeping Your Car in Top Shape 231

Getting Your Hands Dirty (or Not) 232

Dealing with tires 232

Putting on the brakes 239

Dealing with batteries 240

Optimizing battery health 241

Tracking Down EV Service Locations 242

Finding service at a dealership 243

Going mobile (service, that is) 244

Benefiting from third-party services 246

Doing it yourself with DIY service (right-to-repair) 246

Keeping Your EV Exterior in the Pink 247

Opting for paint protection film 248

Wrapping up the exterior 249

Coating in ceramic 251

Keeping Your EV Interior Shipshape 251

Caring for your seat 252

Cleaning that big screen 252

Organizing your trunk/frunk 253

Knowing What You Don’t Need to Do 255

Things You’ll Never Have to Add to Your To-Do List 257

Part 4: Futurethink and Fun with EV Engineering 259

Chapter 10: Faster, Farther, and More Fun 261

Living Out Your Speed Racer Fantasies 262

Taking a good look at ICE power output 263

Comparing EV power output 264

Staying Out of Jail 266

Can an EV Power Your House? 269

Recognizing the challenges of V2H 270

Adding the challenges of V2G to the mix 271

Addressing challenges with a Smart Grid 272

Will EV Prices Ever Come Down? When? 274

Renewable Energy and the Electric Car World 276

Using a clean energy broker 277

Using your own solar power 279

Next-Gen Batteries 280

Next-gen battery objectives 282

Less expensive (and faster charging) 282

Solid-state batteries: Lighter weight (and faster charging) 284

Lithium-sulphur: Lighter, denser, cheaper 285

Faster charging (that is all, but that is also enough) 286

Chapter 11: Our Autonomous Future 289

Adding Up the Self-Driving Benefits 291

Listing the Key ADAS Benefits 293

Can These Cars Drive Themselves — or What? 294

Leveling up your self-driving knowledge 296

Level 0: No Driving Automation 296

Level 1: Driver Assistance 296

Level 2: Partial Driving Automation 297

Level 2 Examples 297

Level 3: Conditional Driving Automation 298

Level 4: High Driving Automation 298

Level 5: Full Driving Automation 299

Doing the Vision Thing 300

Tesla and Comma.ai bet on cameras 300

Waymo and Cruise add lidar 303

Other carmakers split the difference 305

Recognizing the Challenges 306

What’s still really hard for autonomous cars 306

What’s still really hard for humans regulating autonomous cars 308

Gazing into the EV Crystal Ball 309

Where AV capability is coming fast 309

Where AV has already arrived 309

Chapter 12: Other Vehicles That Are Going Electric 311

Going Mobile with Electric Buses 311

Seeing why battery-electric buses are fantastic 314

But, but — electric buses aren’t all that fantastic, after all 315

Keep On Truckin’ (with Electric Long-Haul Trucks) 317

Tesla Semi 318

Freightliner eCascadia 319

Volvo VNR Electric 319

Kenworth T680 320

BYD 8TT 320

Nikola Tre 322

Delivering the Goods (with Electric Delivery Vans) 324

BrightDrop 325

Canoo 325

Rivian EDV 325

Workhorse 327

Keeping things in perspective 328

I Sing the Lawn Mower Electric 329

Chapter 13: The Best Car Is No Car: Electric Bikes and the Morning Commute 333

Making the Trip by Bike 336

Improving fitness 337

Improving mentals 337

Enhancing your ability to explore new places (and more often) 338

Having access to faster and cheaper transportation 339

Putting money in your pocket through tax incentives 339

Looking at the Three Classes of Ebikes 340

Scouting Out the More Notable Ebike Companies 342

VanMoof 342

Gazelle 343

Aventon 343

Rad Power Bikes 344

Bird Bikes 345

Trek 345

Specialized 347

Hey! I’m Giving Away Ebikes! 348

Part 5: The Part of Tens 351

Chapter 14: Ten Countries Leading the Way — and What They’re Doing 353

Norway 354

Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands 355

Germany 356

China 356

United States 357

California 357

UK 358

New Zealand 359

Mexico 360

India 360

Japan 360

Chapter 15: Ten Companies Leading the Way — and a Look at What They’re Doing 361

Tesla 362

Xpeng Motors 362

Lucid and Rivian 362

Volkswagen 363

GM and Ford 363

Geeley/Polestar 364

Hyundai 364

BYD 365

SIAC 366

Everyone Else 366

Chapter 16: Ten Predictions from EV Insiders (with Plenty of Commentary and Opinion Because It’s My Book There, Bub) 369

When New EVs Will Cost $25,000 370

When Robotaxis Will Make Their Grand Entrance 371

When Electric Planes (or Flying Cars) Will Make Their Grand Entrance 372

Which Companies Will Thrive (and Which Ones Won’t) 372

Electric vehicle or EV-related companies that will thrive 373

Electric vehicle or EV-related companies that will likely go bankrupt by 2030 373

Electric vehicle or EV-related companies that haven’t yet launched (or won’t ever launch) production 374

When You Will See Electric Semis (and What It Will Mean) 375

Future Battery Tech for Your Car 376

When You’ll (Hopefully) See an Impact on Parking and City Design 376

Connected Cars 377

The Last ICE Sale Will Take Place Sometime in 2030 — for California 378

Index 379

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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