Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

Science

Energy on the move

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Back
  2. Next

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles have been around for a long time, but have been of limited use because they can only travel a short distance before they have to be recharged.

An electric car

An electric car

Unlike cars powered by fossil fuels, electric cars do not produce any pollution while they are being driven. However, they have to be recharged using electricity generated at a power station. This means that electric cars cause pollution at the power station.

Fuel consumption

The fuel consumption and range of all vehicles depend on how much energy the vehicle can store, either in a fuel tank or in batteries. They also depend on factors such as whether the vehicle is:

  • Driven uphill a lot
  • Carrying large loads or not
  • Driven at high speed
  • Driven over rough road surfaces
  • Driven with underinflated tyres

The shape of a vehicle is very important. Vehicles can be streamlined to produce less air resistance when they move, which decreases their fuel consumption and increases their range. For example:

  • Sports cars are wedge-shaped
  • Lorries and caravans may be fitted with deflectors at the front

On the other hand, roof boxes on cars increase air resistance, as does driving with the windows open. Increased air resistance increases fuel consumption and decreases the range.

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Back
  2. Next

Back to Forces for transport index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.