Frequently asked
questions

Questions about driving electric?
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HYBRID / PHEV / ZEV / BEV

What is the difference between hybrid, zero-emissions, and electric?

• Hybrid: combines two drive methods (e.g., gasoline and electric)

• Plug-in hybrid: hybrid with the ability to plug in and charge

• Zero-emissions: does not emit greenhouse gases – likely, but not necessarily, an electric vehicle

• Electric: Powered purely by electricity from an on-board battery

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Charging

What are the different kinds of chargers available?

Several kinds of chargers are available to charge an electric vehicle.

Most vehicles are delivered with a portable AC charger, which you can use to plug into your home’s electrical supply (120 or 220 volts). A dedicated home charging box will generally connect to a 220-volt outlet in your garage. The speed at which it can charge your vehicle is determined by its KW (kilowatt) rating – the higher the number, the faster that your vehicle will charge. (Fact-check!)

Home chargers that come from the same brand as your vehicle will generally be enabled with additional features, such as the ability to control charging times via the charger itself or an app; the ability to pre-condition (heat up or cool down) your electric vehicle while it is plugged in; monitor the state of charge of your battery; and more.

Describe the difference between AC and DC charging.

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Where can I charge my vehicle?

Most electric vehicle drivers will charge their car daily at home or at work, using a charger installed at either location. In addition, many electric vehicles come with a portable charger that can be plugged into a conventional 120 or 220-volt plug. Public electric-vehicle chargers are also becoming much more common across Canada. Electrify Canada, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, has announced plans to open over 30 EV chargers, including DC fast-charging capability, along major freeways, as has Petro-Canada, with its “electric highway.” Electric vehicle chargers are also present in many EnRoute stations along Ontario’s Highway 401, in many downtown office and residential buildings, and at many shopping malls.

How long will it take to charge my vehicle?

The charging time for your vehicle will depend on its battery’s capacity as well as the charger you are connecting it to. The larger the battery (measured in KWh), the longer it will take to charge; the higher the kilowatt (KW) rating of the charger, the faster charging will be. A large-capacity battery, for example, 90-KWh, might need overnight to charge on a conventional 6.7-KW 220-volt charger, but less than one hour on a 270-KW DC fast charger.

What is the recommended method for charging my vehicle regularly?

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What do I need to do to charge at home?

In order to charge at home, you will need access to a 220-volt outlet close to your vehicle (while a 120-volt outlet will work, too, with most cars, charging times may be unacceptably long). You will be able to use the charger that comes with your vehicle to charge from this outlet, or you can have a home charging unit installed which may come with additional features that are specific to your brand of vehicle. Your vehicle’s manufacturer will offer a home charging station, but aftermarket options will work as well, as nearly all electric vehicles charge using the same charge port.

Additional features for a manufacturer-supplied or aftermarket charging station, such as the ability to pre-condition your vehicle’s interior temperature, charge at specific times of day when electricity is less expensive, and other controls, may also require wi-fi access.

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Batteries

How is battery capacity measured? What does it mean?

Rob to supply

What can cause a battery to degrade over time?

Rob to supply

What kind of warranty can I expect for my vehicle’s battery?

Most EV batteries come with a warranty substantially longer than the warranty for the vehicle in which they are installed. Most German and Japanese manufacturers offer a minimum eight-year warranty on EV batteries.

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Driving and Range

What can affect my electric driving range?

Much like a gasoline vehicle, your driving behaviour has a direct effect on the range of your electric vehicle. Sudden and hard acceleration, high speeds, and generally aggressive driving can reduce your vehicle’s range. As with gasoline vehicles, electric cars also don’t go as far on a “fill” in cold weather. This is why their batteries have their own heating and cooling circuits, and why many electric cars have the ability to pre-heat the vehicle while plugged in. Using your car’s electrically-powered accessories, such as the heater, heated seats, the rear-window defroster, and other items, can also affect range. (In a gasoline-powered car, these items are not a direct draw on the vehicle’s power source; in an electric vehicle, they are.)

How can I improve my electric driving range?

Just as you would with a gasoline-powered car, driving in a smooth, conservative manner will extend your electric vehicle’s range. Avoiding sudden braking and hard acceleration, reducing your dependence on electrically-powered accessories, and pre-conditioning your vehicle when plugged in, will also help.

Also, make use of your EV’s navigation system, even when you know where you are going. Many EVs will suggest the most economical way to get where you’re going, to extend your range further.

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Ownership

How does an electrified vehicle perform in cold weather?

An electric vehicle has to meet the same requirements for cold-weather performance that any manufacturer sets for its gasoline-powered cars. Making use of the vehicle’s pre-conditioning functions to warm the cabin while it’s still plugged in will reduce the draw of accessories such as the electric heater and heated seats in cold weather.

What is pre-conditioning?

Pre-conditioning allows an electric vehicle to bring its systems to their ideal operating temperatures while it’s plugged in – warming the battery and electrical systems for optimum performance when you drive away. Pre-conditioning also works for the driver and passenger: using an app or the vehicle’s on-board controls, you can set it up to be at your preferred temperature when you unplug it to drive away.

Does an EV require the same maintenance as a conventional vehicle?

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Are there specific safety considerations to consider?

Rob to supply

Is it possible to upgrade my battery?

Most EV batteries come with a warranty substantially longer than the warranty for the vehicle in which they are installed. Most German and Japanese manufacturers offer a minimum eight-year warranty on EV batteries. At this stage, it is too early to know whether it’s possible to upgrade the physical batteries in an electric vehicle; what is known is that, like with computers and mobile phones, software updates can improve the performance of the vehicle’s electrical systems.

Is it possible to upgrade the power management software?

Most EVs have upgradable software which allows new features to be added and performance to be improved. Depending on the vehicle and the scope of the upgrade, these upgrades may be installed automatically (“over the air”), or may require a visit to your Pfaff dealer.

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