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Electric Vehicle, A Neutral Picture

Review Paper
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture
Zain Ul Abideen1 *, Umar Daraz1 , Muhammad Ramzan1 , M.Hamza Naseer1 , Shaharyar Hassan
Electric Vehicles are considered to be the present and future, and new technologies will also emerge with electric
vehicles, EVs can cause significant impact on our environment too if it is used without a policy, it can only benefit
us and this planet if we use it with proper management and coordination. There are still many obstacle to tackle
for EVs to be fully integrate into our world, This paper is focused on reviewing all the useful data available on the
working of EVs, advantages, disadvantages, trends, impacts, economical values, energy sources, Its objective is
to review and provide an overall neutral picture of current EV technology and also ways of future development to
assist the future researchers.
Electric, Battery, EVs, Environment, Transportation, V2G
1 Department
of Computer Science, The University of Faisalabad, FSD, Pakistan
*Corresponding author: zainbintariq248@gmail.com
Lithium-Ion Battery . . . . . . . .
Brushless DC Motor . . . . . . .
Micro-controllers . . . . . . . . .
Charging Circuit . . . . . . . . . .
Complimentary Components
Advantages and Disadvantages
2.1 Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2.2 Disadvantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Positive Changes to Implement
3.1 SmartGrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.2 Vehicle-To-Grid(V2G) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3.3 Integration of renewable energy sources . . . . . . 4
Impact on Environment
Impact on Economy
Sales Figures
Barriers to EV Adoption
Technological Limitations . . .
Limited Range . . . . . . . . . . .
Long Charging Period . . . . .
Insufficient Charging Stations
High Price . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Future Work
10 Conclusion
11 Author Contribution
12 Conflict of Interest
Electrical vehicle (EV) are based on electric propulsion system thus no internal combustion engine is used, everything
from motor to air conditioning is based on electric power as
energy source. The main advantage that EV has over the combustion engine is its efficiency of power, if designed smartly
even the power that are meant to be wasted during braking
system can also be harvested by smart braking system. Recently there was a massive research and development work is
being reported in academic and industrial level. Many mainstreams automotive companies and new startup are putting
their efforts and resources towards this new revolution. Many
countries especially in West are creating incentives to users
and giving them tax brakes, free parking, and free charging
facilities. This paper is to review and examine the working,
recent development, impacts, and potentials of EV in today’s
1. Working
The Electric vehicle no matter what the size it has or whatever
horse power we need from it, it is going to contain mainly
same components but just in bigger size, Like if we need
to make an suburban car it will have a Brush-less DC Motor
(BLDC) inside, and if we need to make a truck as Tesla [2] did
we just need to put the bigger BLDC motor. Key components
of an electric vehicle consists of
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 2/9
Figure 1. EV Configuration adapted from [1]
Lithium-Ion Battery
Brushless DC Motor
Charging Circuit
Complimentary Components.
1.1 Lithium-Ion Battery
Everything seems to be perfect with Electric vehicles but only
downside that people are still worried about is their battery
because it doesn’t matter how smart a vehicle or a device is,
if it cannot be powered or run for a decent time it is considered useless, thus, whenever someone mention EVs they will
mention the battery and its specifications too. EVs with only
batteries as their power source are known as battery electric
vehicles (BEVs). BEVs have to rely solely on the energy
stored in their battery packs; therefore the range of such vehicles depends directly on the battery capacity. Typically they
can cover 100 km–250 km on one charge [3], and the top-tier
models can go a lot further, from 300 km to 500 km [3], these
ranges are totally dependent on driving condition and style,
vehicle configurations, road conditions, climate, battery type
and age. Once depleted, charging the battery pack takes quite
a lot of time compared to refueling a conventional Internal
combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. It can take as long as 36h
completely to replenish the batteries [4] [5], there are some
setups can can take less time to recharge but none is comparable to the little time required to refill a fuel tank of an ICE car.
Advantages of electric vehicles are their simple construction,
operation and convenience. These produce less or ignore-able
greenhouse gas (GHG), do not create any noise pollution and
thus beneficial to the environment. Electric propulsion provides instant and high torques, even at low speeds. These
advantages, coupled with their limitation of range, makes
them the perfect vehicle to use in urban areas [1]
Figure 2. Lithium-Ion Diagram [6]
via a closed loop controller, these controller provides pulses or
waves of current to the motor windings that control the speed
and torque of that motor. The main advantages of brushless
motor over brushed motor is their high power-to-weight ratio,
high speed, electronically controlled, and low maintenance.
The development of semiconductors in the 1970s allowed
the commutator to be eliminated in DC motors, and also the
brushes in the permanent magnet motor. In brushless DC
motors, and electronic servo system replaces the mechanical
commutator contacts [7]. The only disadvantage of BLDC
motor is that it can only be operated using either a dedicated
controller or by programming the controller to control phases
of BLDC. BLDCs are useful for use in small cars requiring a
maximum 60 kW of power [8].
Figure 3. BLDC Motor Internal Configuration [9]
1.2 Brushless DC Motor
A brushless DC electric (BLDC motor or BL motor, also
known as electronically commutated motor (ECM or EC motor) are synchronous motor which are powered by DC electricity via an inverter or switching power supply unit (SPSU)
which produces electricity to drive each phase of the motor
1.3 Micro-controllers
Micro-controller is a brain in any machine that needs to control or process any data or sometimes the reason behind a
machine being called ”smart machine”, Usually an electric
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 3/9
vehicle has one main controller which is the main controller
and processor and works like kernel of vehicle, then there are
mini micro-controllers which are being used for low processing tasks like controlling all the electronics inside the cabin
or outside of it, then we have a BLDC controller which is a
different controller and has an Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) or 6 transistors based circuit to drive the BLDC
motor [10].
1.4 Charging Circuit
To charge an EV we need an AC power source that is converted into DC using inverting circuits to charge the batteries.
This system needs an AC-DC converter. According to the
SAE EV AC Charging Power Levels, they can be classified as
Level 1: The maximum voltage is 120 V, the current can be 12
A or 16 A depending on the circuit ratings. This system can be
used with standard 110 V household outlets without requiring
any special arrangement, using on-board chargers. Charging
a small EV with this arrangement can take 0.5–12.5 h. These
characteristics make this system suitable for overnight charging [3] [11] [12].
Level 2: Level 2 charging uses a direct connection to the
grid through an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE).
On-board charger is used for this system. Maximum system
ratings are 240 V, 60 A and 14.4 kW. This system is used as a
primary charging method for EVs [11] [12].
Level 3: This system uses a permanently wired supply dedicated for EV charging, with power ratings greater than 14.4
kW. ‘Fast chargers’—which recharge an average EV battery
pack in no more than 30 min, can be considered level 3 chargers [11] [13].
Figure 4. Typical placements of different converters in an EV.
AC-DC converter transforms the power from grid to be stored
in the storage through another stage of DC-DC conversion.
Power is supplied to the motor from the storage through the
DC-DC converter and the motor drives [14]
1.5 Complimentary Components
Just to make a micro-controller to be able to work it needs a
lot of complimentary components like transistors, capacitors,
resistors, and even power supply for some main components
can also be counted as complimentary.
2. Advantages and Disadvantages
At first glance it looks like electric vehicles are all paradise
and there can be nothing wrong with them but actually there is
nothing in this world that does not have disadvantages along
advantages to it.
2.1 Advantages
Fuel can be harnessed from any source of electricity, which is
available in most homes and businesses [15].
It reduces hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide, responsible for
many environmental problems, by 98% [15] and also reduces
pollution. .
Compared to gasoline powered vehicles, electric vehicles are
considered to be ninetyseven percent cleaner, producing no
tailpipe emissions that can place particulate matter into the
air [16].
The process of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere,
also known as global warming, diminishes the Earth’s ozone
layer, which is what occurs at this time. A factor that makes
electric vehicles clean is their ability to use half the number
of parts a gasoline powered vehicle does, including gasoline
and oil [15].
Particulate matter, carcinogens released into the atmosphere
by gas-powered vehicles, “can increase asthma conditions, as
well as irritate respiratory systems” [16].
The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by internal
combustion vehicles reduces the ozone layer, which absorbs
ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of the sun’s high frequency
ultraviolet light [17] According to Ozone Layer, “Every one
percent decrease in the earths ozone shield is projected to
increase the amount of UV light exposure to the lower atmosphere by two percent” [17] Ultraviolet light that are produced
by the sun is extremely harmful to the life on Earth. UV light
damages the skin and cause skin cancer. It also hurts the eyes
and the marine life.
Little to no maintenance is required because there are only a
few moving parts in comparison to ICE cars.
2.2 Disadvantages
EVs are considered to be high power loads [18] and they affect
the power distribution system, the distribution transformers,
cables and fuses the most [19] [20]. A Nissan Leaf with a mare
24 kWh battery pack can easily consume power equivalent to
a single European household. A 3.3 kW charger in a 220 V,
15 Ampere system can raise the current demand by 17% to
25% [21]. Situation can become much worst if charging is
done during peak hours thus leading to overload on the system
and it will also be unpredictable for quite some time, it can
lead to damage of system equipment, tripping of protection
relays thus also an increase in the infrastructure cost [21]. Ev
load in peak hours will cause load unbalance, shortage of
energy, instability, problems in reliability and also degraded
power quality [20] [22].
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 4/9
Limited in the distance that can be driven before the complete
failure of the battery [15].
Accessories, such as air conditioning and radios will drain the
battery quickly [15].
Heavier car due to the electric motors, batteries, chargers, and
controllers [15].
More expensive because of cost of the parts and will stay
expensive for a time being [15].
3. Positive Changes to Implement
3.1 SmartGrid
After the common use of electric vehicle and predictions of energy usage, world is slowly but steadily shifting towards smart
grid, in which there is incorporation of intelligent communication and decision making while keeping the grid architecture
safe and efficient. Smart grid is already considered as the
future of power grids because it offers array of advantages,
reliable power supply, and advanced control with more efficiency. It can also provides us with the advance opportunity
like vehicle-to-grid(V2G) and also the better integration of
renewable energy, In fact, EV is on the eight priorities listed
to create and efficient smart grid [21].
3.2 Vehicle-To-Grid(V2G)
V2G or vehicle-to-grid is a method of providing power to
the grid from EV. In this method, the vehicles acts as loads
when they are drawing energy, and then they become dynamic
energy storage by feeding back the energy to the grid. In V2G
EVs can act as a power source to provide during peak hours.
But to implement V2G properly first we need to have smart
grid fully setup and working. Vehicle using this method can
simply be plugged in anytime and put there, the system will
choose a suitable time and charge it. Smart meters are required
for enabling this system. With this scheme, the peak power
demand can be reduced by 56% [21]. This system is attractive
as it requires little up gradation of the existing infrastructure,
creating a communication system in-between the grid and the
EVs is all that is needed [23]. Another concept is produced
using the smart grid and the EVs, called virtual power plant
(VPP), where a cluster of vehicles is considered as a power
plant and dealt like one in the system. VPP architecture and
control is shown in Figure 5.
3.3 Integration of renewable energy sources
Using renewable energy sources will become more promising
and easy with EVs integration into the picture. EV owners can
use Renewable energy sources to generate power locally to
charge their EVs with sources like solar power becoming very
popular. Parking lot roofs can be used for the placement of
Solar panels which can charge the vehicles parked underneath
as well as supplying the grid in case of excess generation
[24] [25] [26]. Figure 6 demonstrates integration of wind and
solar farm with conventional coal and nuclear power grid with
EV charging station employing bidirectional V2G.
Figure 5. VPP architecture and control [21]
4. Impact on Environment
One of the main causes why EVs popularity is rising is because it can reduce the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions.
Conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles burn
fuels directly, inefficiently, and also produce harmful gases,
including carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. But, there are
also theories that the electrical energy consumed by the EVs
can also give rise to the GHS emissions from the power plants
which have to produce more because of the extra load added
in form of EVs. But these theories can only be proved wrong
if in power production the usage of renewable energies are
implemented on larger scale. If EVs add excess load during
peak hours, it will also lead to the rise of CO2 emission [27].
Reference [28] also stated that power generation from coal
and natural gas will produce more CO2 from EV penetration
than ICEs. However, all the power is not generated from such
resources. There are many other power generating technologies that produce less GHG. With those considered, the GHG
production from power plants because of EV penetration is
less than the amount produced by equivalent power generation
from ICE vehicles. But, there is also a theory that over the lifetime, EVs cause less emission than conventional vehicles [29].
Denmark managed to reduce 85% CO2 emission from transportation by combining EVs and electric power. EVs also
produce far less noise, which can highly reduce sound pollution, mostly in urban areas. The recycling of the batteries
raises serious concerns though, as there are few organizations
capable of recycling the lithium-ion batteries fully. However,
like the previous nickel-metal and lead-acid ones, lithium-ion
cells are not made of caustic chemicals, and their reuse can
reduce ‘peak lithium’ or ‘peak oil’ demands [12].
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 5/9
Figure 6. Wind and solar integration in the grid with the help
of EV in V2G system. TSO stands for transmission system
organization; DSO for distribution system organization; T1 to
T4 represent the transformers coupling the generation,
transmission, and distribution stages [21]
Figure 7. Top ten EVs in China in 2016 according to the
number of units sold. Data from [36].
5. Impact on Economy
If we look at the perspective of the EV owners, Evs provide
less operating cost because of their superior efficiency and less
maintenance [30]. It can be up to 70% where ICE vehicles
have efficiencies in the range of 60% to 70% [31]. The current
high prices of EVs are most likely to come down from mass
production and better energy policies in future [32] which
will further increase the economic gains of the owners. V2G
also allows the owners to obtain a financial benefit from their
vehicles by providing service to the grid [33]. The power
companies will benifit from EV integration mainly by implementing charging and V2G. It also allows them to adopt
better peak shaving strategies as well as to integrate renewable
sources. EV fleets can also lead to $200 to $300 savings in
cost per vehicle per year [34] [35].
Figure 8. Top ten best-selling EVs globally in 2016. Data
from [37].
6. Sales Figures
Figure 7 Shows the top ten EVs sold in China in 2016, Figure
8 shows the top ten best-selling EVs globally in 2016, Figure
9 shows the Battery Electric Vehicles(BEV) market shares in
Europe in 2016, these figures are a proof that EVs are here to
stay for a very long time.
Figure 9. BEV market shares in Europe in 2016. Data
from [38].
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 6/9
7. Barriers to EV Adoption
7.1 Technological Limitations
The main obstacles that are being the big consideration when
it comes to EV adoption is the drawbacks in its related technology. Batteries for example are the main area of concern
because their weight is a great concern and thus range and
charging period also depends on the battery.
7.2 Limited Range
EVs are held back by the capacity of their batteries [39],
they have a certain amount of stored energy in them and can
travel a certain distance in accordance to the battery energy,
but, range also depends on the speed of the vehicle, driving
conditions, amount of cargo the vehicle is carrying, the terrain
it is being driven on, and the services or devices that are
being running in the car, for example air condition, stereo,
lights etc, this causes the ’range anxiety’ among the users [12],
which indicates the concern about battery getting completing
drained while driving to a certain range or about finding a
charging station before battery drains out. People are found
to be willing to spend upto 75$ extra for an extra range of one
mile [40]. Even though the current battery electric vehicles
(BEVS) are capable of traveling equivalent or more distance
then a conventional vehicle can travel with a full tank, for
example, Tesla Model S 100D has a range of almost 564
km with the temperature of 70C and the air conditioning is
off [41]. Range anxiety still remains the main obstacle for
EVs to overcome. This does not affect the use of EVs for
urban areas because in most cases this range is enough for
daily commutation inside city limits. Range extenders, which
produce electricity from fuel, are also available with models
like BMW i3 as an option. Vehicles with such facilities are
currently being called as Extended Range Electric Vehicles
7.3 Long Charging Period
Long charging time is another reason why people are finding
it hard to adopt. Depending on the type of charger and battery
pack, charging can take from a few minutes to hours; this
truly makes EVs incompetent against the ICE vehicles which
only take a few minutes to get refueled. Hidrue et al., found
out that, to have an hour decreased from the charging time;
people are willing to pay 425–3250 [40]. There are some
ways to decrease the charging time, for example, increasing
the voltage level or employment of better chargers. Some fast
charging facilities are available at the present, and more are
getting employed in the West.
7.4 Insufficient Charging Stations
Even though with the advent of Tesla electric cars, whole
world especially the West is very busy in making sufficient
charging stations but there are still less than what they need.
Not all the public charging stations are compatible with every
car as well; therefore it also becomes a challenge to find a
proper charging point when it is required to replete the battery.
There is also the risk of getting a fully occupied charging
station with no room for another car. But, the manufacturers
are working on to mitigate this problem. Tesla and Nissan
have been expanding their own charging networks, as it, in
turn means they can sell more of their EVs.
7.5 High Price
The price of the EVs are quite high when compared to their
ICE counterparts and that is because EVs are fairly new technology and mass production is not really a fast option for now,
and also the high cost of batteries and fuel cells [12]. To make
people overlook this factor, governments in different countries
including the UK and Germany, have provided incentives and
tax breaks which provide the buyers of EVs with subsidies.
Figure 10. Limitations of EVs.
8. Discussion
It is definite that EVs are not just a contemporary fashion,
they are here to stay, but if world does not want to be stuck or
want to achieve their climate change goals, we have to work
for green energy or renewable energy sources in parallel to
the EV shift, because if we do not do that then EVs can be
more harmful then ICE cars because they also involves line
transmission and energy losses which ICE do not.
9. Future Work
The adoption of EVs has opened the doors for new possibilities and ways to improve both the vehicles and also the
systems that are associated with it, for example, the power
system, which haven’t really developed that much or haven’t
brought to the ”smart age” yet, EVs will be the future of
vehicles while smart grids are going to be the grid of the
future [42] [43]. Technologies like Vehicle-T0-Grid (V2G)
will be a link between these two technologies and both will
get benefited from it, there will be a lot more research and
Electric Vehicle: A Neutral Picture — 7/9
thus improvement in complementary technologies like charge
scheduling, CPP, smart meters etc. At the same time, chargers
and EVSEs have to able to communicate with the grid for
facilitating V2G, smart metering, and if needed, bidirectional
charging [44]. Batteries will improve thus the charging system
too, there was no concern about battery temperature before
the advent of EVs but now battery temperature management
is a crucial part of EVs. There is a need for batteries that
are free from toxic materials, have higher power density, less
cost, less weight, and certainly less time to charge. There was
no interest before in developing more efficient batteries but
EVs has already sparked the interest to not only develop but
also research more elements that can be used in new batteries.
Besides, Li-ion technology has the potential to be improved a
lot more. Li-air batteries could be a good option to increase
the range of EVs [44]. EVs are likely to move away from using permanent magnet motors which use rare-earth materials.
The motors of choice can be induction motor, synchronous
reluctance motor, and switched reluctance motor [44]. Tesla
is using an induction motor in its models at present. Motors
with internal permanent magnet may stay in use [44]. Wireless charging system will become the future of charging thus
not only be more convenience but also less use or wiring.
Electric roads for wireless charging of vehicles may appear
as well in future, though this it still not viable, situation can
change in future. Recent works in this sector includes the
work of Electrode, an Israeli startup, which claims to be able
to achieve this feat in an economic way. Vehicles that follow a
designated route along the highway, like trucks, can get their
power from overhead lines like trains or trams. It will allow
them to gather energy as long as their route resides with the
power lines, then carry on with energy from on-board sources.
Such a system has been tested by Siemens using diesel-hybrid
trucks from Scania on a highway in Sweden [45]. Much research is going on to make the electronics and sensors in EVs
more compact, rugged and cheaper—which in many cases
are leading to advanced solid state devices that can achieve
these goals with promises of cheaper products if they can be
10. Conclusion
EVs have great potential of becoming the future of transport
while saving this planet from imminent calamities caused by
global warming. They are a viable alternative to conventional
vehicles that depend directly on the diminishing fossil fuel reserves. The EV types, configurations, energy sources, motors,
power conversion and charging technologies for EVs have
been discussed in detail in this paper. The key technologies of
each section have been reviewed and their characteristics have
been presented. The impacts EVs cause in different sectors
have been discussed as well, along with the huge possibilities
they hold to promote a better and greener energy system by
collaborating with smart grid and facilitating the integration
of renewable sources. Limitations of current EVs have been
listed along with probable solutions to overcome these short-
comings. The current optimization techniques and control
algorithms have also been included. A brief overview of the
current EV market has been presented. Finally, trends and
ways of future developments have been assessed followed
by the outcomes of this paper to summarize the whole text,
providing a clear picture of this sector and the areas in need
of further research.
11. Author Contribution
All authors contributed for bringing the manuscript in its
current state. Their contributions include detailed survey of
the literatures and state of art which were essential for the
completion of this review paper.
12. Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
No funding has been received in support of this research work,
and this paper was written as a review paper of multiple papers
while demonstrating our research and paper writing skills that
we learned during our Masters degree.
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