The Future of Electric Vehicles
According to the UCSUSA (Union of Concerned Scientists), electric cars are defined as: “Cars that run at least partially on electricity. Unlike conventional vehicles that use a gasoline or diesel-powered engine, electric cars and trucks use an electric motor powered by electricity from batteries or a fuel cell.”
- Plug-in hybrids offer both a gasoline or diesel engine and an electric motor: the motor is powered by a battery that can be recharged by plugging in.
- Battery electric EVs (electric vehicles) forgo liquid fuels entirely.
- Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are powered by an electric motor that converts hydrogen gas into electricity.
- Conventional hybrid vehicles also have an electric motor, but aren’t considered EVs as they can’t be plugged-in.
#1. Electric Vehicles Can Help Keep Our World Clean
When beginning this discussion this is the number one thing to take away. Stop. Period. We will dive further into the details and pros vs cons, but this is crucial to remember above all. A choice to use clean energy and stop behaviors that are destructive to the environment.
#2. Fewer Emissions
EV’s produce less greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and smog. All-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions. When battery electric EV’s are powered by the cleanest electricity grids, greenhouse gas emissions from EV’s are comparable to a car getting over 100 miles per gallon.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV’s), which have a gasoline engine plus an electric motor, produce evaporative emissions when operating on gasoline. However, because most PHEV’s are more efficient than their comparable counterparts, they still produce fewer tailpipe emissions even when relying on gasoline.
#3. Money Saving
Refilling your car with clean electricity vs gasoline is going to cost you less every time. Overall, electric cars simply have a lower total cost of ownership. Switching to an electric car can save on average over $700-$1,000 a year in fueling costs. Bonus: there are still continuing federal and state incentives to purchase electric.
Trying to clearly decipher the overall impact of electric cars vs traditional is a monumental task, one even entire governments are struggling with. Countries are coming out with competing reports and results. The data can be skewed leaning one way or the other. In the end, if you look at all the details, it seems clear, especially as time moves on and civilization becomes more advanced in ‘green’ practices and productions, that the overall benefit of making the change to electric is positive. To get educated in depth on the entire research database, please read this “Fact Check” report by Carbon Brief: Clean On Climate organization.
#1. Still A Fraction of Emissions Produced in Production
Life-cycle emissions related to vehicle production, processing, distribution, use, and recycling and disposal still exist with EV’s. But, EV life-cycle emissions are quite a bit lower than your average car because most emissions are lower for electricity generation than burning gasoline or diesel. A way to continue to further minimize life-cycle emissions is to use electricity generated by renewable sources like solar and wind.
#2. Higher Cost Upfront
Biting the bullet and putting out a bit more extra cash at the onset stops a lot of buyers from going electric. But if you do the math, over time, you will actually save a LOT of money.
Which Electric Car Is Best
- Have the range and convenience of conventional cars.
- Offers increased efficiency over traditional autos.
- Non-plug-in hybrids aren’t considered electric vehicles.
Learn more about how hybrids work.
- Offer increased environmental performance.
- Lower refueling costs compared to conventional vehicles.
- Have to have outlets available to recharge.
- Can’t seat more than 5 passengers.
- Cannot tow.
Learn more about how plug-in vehicles work.
- Use electricity as their only fuel.
- Public and workplace charging stations becoming more widely available.
- No tailpipe emissions.
- Replaces gasoline with electricity.
- Greenest car available.
- Ideal for climate-conscious commuters.
- Good for households that take lots of short-distance trips.
Learn more about how battery-electrics work.
Fuel Cell Vehicles
- Small segment, mostly in California.
- Fast refueling times.
- Long driving ranges.
- Require hydrogen refueling stations, currently not widely available.
Learn more about how fuel cells and fuel cell vehicles work.
As Forbes reported for their investors, every developed country around the world is seeing a continued increase in electric cars in the coming years. JP Morgan concurs. As Car & Driver states, “Electric cars are the future, and each year we’ve seen automakers add more EV’s to their lineup. Everyone is working on electric vehicles.” Basically, if you don’t like eclectic, get out of the way!
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