As electric vehicles continue to gain popularity, questions arise about their charging capabilities. One of the most common questions is “why electric cars can’t charge themselves”. This question has become even more pressing as the range of electric vehicles increases and charging stations are still not readily available in many areas.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why electric cars cannot charge themselves and what the future holds for electric vehicle charging.
But Before we dive in technical discussion, it is better for you to know about “How Electric Cars Work ?”
How Electric Cars Work?
Electric cars work by using an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery pack. When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the electric motor turns on and uses the energy from the battery pack to turn the wheels of the car.
The battery pack is typically charged by plugging the car into an external power source, such as a charging station or a wall outlet. Once the battery is fully charged, the car can be driven for a certain distance, known as the range, depending on the capacity of the battery. Before buying an electric car, always check important characteristics of car batteries so that you don’t have to suffer afterwards.
We encourage you to watch below clip for better understanding;
Why Electric Cars can’t Charge Themselves?
Electric cars can’t charge themselves because they don’t have an engine and don’t burn fossil fuels to produce kinetic energy and convert it to electricity. They also don’t come with alternators like regular cars as it’s just a waste of energy. However, regenerative braking can recharge them a little. We are going to discuss all reasons one by one.
Lack of Alternators
There are several reasons why electric cars can’t charge themselves. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of alternators. Alternators are what convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. In gas cars, they get it from mechanical power, which is supplied by running the engine and burning fuel.
However, in electric cars, it would be possible to use an electric car’s rechargeable battery to spin the alternator, but this would be self-defeating, using up more electricity than it generates. This is the reason why electric cars can’t have alternators to generate electricity.
Lack of the Charging Stations
Another reason is the lack of charging stations. While electric cars can be charged in various ways, including via solar energy or the electric grid, there is still a lack of charging stations, which can make it difficult to charge an electric car on the go.
How Many Charging Stations Do We Need?
The number of electric charging stations required to meet the needs depends on various factors such as the number of electric cars in the area, the charging speed of the stations, and the charging habits of the drivers.
To get a rough estimate, a good starting point is to provide at least one charging station per ten electric cars in the area. However, this may not be sufficient if the demand for electric cars is high or if there are many long-distance drivers who require fast charging stations along major routes.
Regenerative braking is a process that converts the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle into electrical energy. This energy can then be used to recharge the vehicle’s battery. While regenerative braking can recharge an electric car a little, it’s not enough to fully charge the battery.
Current Statistics of EVs & Electric Car Chargers in USA
The US government has set a target of achieving a 50% share of electric cars in total sales by 2030 in response to the growing demand for green energy. They have also set a target of achieving 500,000 electric car chargers by 2030.
According to Whitehouse, The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law introduced by President Biden includes substantial investments in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, such as $7.5 billion towards EV charging infrastructure, $10 billion towards clean transportation, and over $7 billion towards EV battery components, essential minerals, and materials.
According to Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), Currently there are approx. 51,415 total charging stations in America with following breakdown;
- Total Car Charging Stations in USA = 51,415 (As of 24-Mar-2023)
- Level 1 Chargers = 805
- Level 2 Chargers = 101,771
- DC Chargers = 29,647
- Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ports = 29,647
Current Development of Self-Charging Electric Cars
The Sion EV, an electric car that utilises solar energy to recharge itself, has been recently launched by Sono Motors, a company based in Germany. The Sion is designed with solar cells integrated into its body panels, allowing it to harness the power of the sun. This innovative feature makes the Sion an affordable and self-sufficient electric car option.
Specifications of Sion EV
Although there are a lot of benefits of purchasing Sion EV. However, some of key features of this EV is mentioned below;
- Range = 245 km
- Fast Charging & Slow Charging
- Can charge up to 80 percent in 35 mins
- Bi-directional charging system for power sharing with other devices
- “breSono” air filtration and temperature regulation system using moss
- Five seats and spacious interior
- Towing capacity of up to 750 kg (1653 lbs)
- Panoramic sunroof with integrated solar panels
- Touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone integration
- Remote-controlled features, including charging and climate control
- Available with or without a battery, allowing for flexibility in ownership and reducing overall costs.
While electric cars offer many benefits, such as low emissions, cost savings, and improved performance, they still require external charging to recharge their batteries. This limitation is due to the lack of alternators, lack of charging stations, and regenerative braking system. While there are experimental projects in progress to overcome these limitations, electric cars’ reliance on external charging stations is to change anytime soon.
With the invent of Solar-powered electric cars like Sion EV, we may expect others brand to start initiative on this matter and start producing electric cars like this.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can electric cars charge themselves while driving ?
No, electric cars cannot currently charge themselves while driving. While some electric cars do have regenerative braking systems that can recover some energy during braking and coasting, this energy is typically only enough to slightly extend the car’s range and cannot fully charge the battery.
How many years will an electric car last?
The lifespan of an electric car can vary depending on various factors such as usage, maintenance, and battery health. However, on average, electric cars are expected to last for around 10-20 years
What are the advantages of a self-charging car?
A self-charging car, also known as a hybrid vehicle, has several advantages over traditional petrol or diesel cars, including improved fuel efficiency, reduced reliance on petrol or diesel, increased range, and lower running costs.