Categories Electric Vehicles

Are Electric Vehicles (EVs) the way of the future?

A common global trend of this century is introducing greener systems that will be less harmful to the environment. The automotive industry is also striving towards more environmentally friendly solutions, and the number of electric vehicles in the world is growing every day. An electric car is a vehicle that is not powered by an internal combustion engine but by an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery.

Electric Vehicles: why now?

Engineers created the first crude electric car prototypes in the 1800s. In contrast to conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles, electric vehicles have a lower carbon footprint and are less harmful to the environment. Various studies conducted on electric cars show that they have little to no emissions. Using electric vehicles also helps consumers save on fuel costs and lower their monthly expenses. They also require less maintenance, which makes them more convenient.

Low pollution

Electric vehicles run on batteries. Unlike a conventional car, maintaining an electric car does not consume engine oils and coolants. As such, it does not contribute to environmental pollution.

Green battery

Electric vehicle batteries have a much lower environmental footprint than conventional car batteries, which is one of the main benefits of using Electric Vehicles (EVs). Even considering the pollution caused by their manufacturing process, the benefits to the environment outweigh the pollution costs substantially.

Fuel efficiency

When electric vehicles use electricity generated from fossil fuels, the fuel efficiency is increased dramatically. In simpler terms, this means that the same amount of fuel can drive more mileage using electric vehicles.

How accessible are Electric Vehicles?

Although usage of electric vehicles is certainly becoming more widespread, they are not yet accessible for everyone. Whether or not you can afford an electric vehicle depends a lot on where you live and your budget. In many countries, buying an Electric Vehicle is not yet an option, let alone something you regularly see. In fact, many of us don’t even know someone that owns an EV yet.

On the other hand, there is a wide variety of new EV models which are now affordable and accessible. It’s therefore expected that the EV market will almost certainly grow exponentially in the next couple of years. These years will see the launch of 100% electric luxury sedans, exotic supercars, lightweight commuters, and even pickup trucks.

Tesla is finally facing intense competition in this field from international companies, thus making EVs more commonplace than before. From Ferrari (Italy) to Volkswagen (Germany) to the Mini Cooper (UK), every major auto industry across the world is now innovating in the EV field. Furthermore, the expense of home charging stations has decreased dramatically. For example, do-it-yourself versions can cost as little as $600.

Lack of charging stations

Currently, ownership of EVs may not be feasible for many people. The main problem is the lack of global infrastructure to charge electric vehicles. Therefore, many people adapt by charging their electric cars at home – however, traveling long distances might lead you to go somewhere with no charging stations, which could be dangerous. Additionally, charging EVs at home is not an option for everyone. Electricity can be costly (more than fuel in some countries), and there might not be enough electricity generated for widespread usage of charging stations. Furthermore, EVs at the moment can be quite electricity-intensive. For example, if a user travels around 50 miles a day, then a 200 miles range car will last them only around 3 or 4 days on a single battery charge.

What is the general range of electric vehicles?

Lithium-ion Battery technology is evolving every day, so newer models are always increasing the range of their predecessors. For example, The Kia e-Niro is a great upgrade (range-wise) simply because it adds a hundred miles to its range. There are so many variations that an “average” is hard to calculate, but anywhere around 150 miles is a great range for most users. Tesla Model S, considered a highly innovative EV, has a range of 405 miles.

EVs do not perform worse than fuel-powered vehicles

Many people hold the misconception that when using EVs, you are giving up on many of the conveniences you have with normal petrol-fueled vehicles. Namely comfort, maneuverability, safety, and so on. However, many electric vehicles have initially been conventional models, which have had their internal combustion engine modified into electric motors and batteries. There are indeed also electric cars built on unique platforms designed exclusively for electric vehicles. However, models so far have shown that these are in many ways superior to their fuel-powered counterparts. For example, they typically have a more spacious interior design (due to the removal of many extra pieces required for the functioning of fuel-powered vehicles).

While it’s true that electric vehicles are usually heavier than conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles, they are typically designed not to affect the car’s handling. For example, the battery can be placed in the lower center part of the car, thus lowering the center of gravity and making the cars more stable. Additionally, they typically have very efficient brake systems that work with a foot pedal’s simple touch. Electric cars also don’t make the annoying engine noise that is heard in their fuel-powered counterparts. For most, driving an EV is a very comfortable and relaxing experience. Having an electric car will change the way you drive and view driving.

Is the high price tag an obstacle?

Although EVs may cost more than regular cars, the savings on fuel can make them quite an economical option (despite the higher initial investment). In most countries, charging your car with electricity is much cheaper than running your car on gasoline or diesel. It doesn’t matter if you charge your electric car battery at home or a dedicated charging point in a public place; electricity will generally be cheaper than using fuels. Additionally, electric cars usually have lower taxes than fuel-powered ones as governments across the globe want to provide incentives for the development of greener technologies.

How green are Electric Vehicles

100% electric vehicles (not hybrid ones) have no direct carbon emissions – just like the light bulb in your house; they run only on electricity. However, electric vehicles’ environmental certifications are highly dependent on the source of electricity used for charging. The energy balance of the national grid using renewable sources such as solar, wind, and tidal energy and eliminating fossil fuels allow electric vehicles to become much greener.

What batteries do electric vehicles use?

Electric vehicles typically use lithium-ion batteries. Some people have voiced concerns about the environmental waste caused by discarding used batteries from electric vehicles or the environmental impact of their production. The important thing to remember is that although the production, and disposal, of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, causes some environmental pollution, the impact is ultimately much lower than that of an internal combustion engine.

Do electric vehicles degrade over time?

EVs are still sold in relatively small numbers, and there aren’t many that have accrued significant mileage. This makes it hard to judge what problems heavily used electric vehicles will bring with them over time (we’re talking about the decades time scale). However, a battery-powered engine has fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine. Therefore, there is little evidence that hybrid or electric vehicles will significantly degrade battery performance over time.

Do you need to pay taxes to own EVs?

In many developed countries, as an environmental initiative, pure electric cars do not require any taxes. All other cars, including built-in hybrids, are typically taxed. Many countries that have not yet implemented this plan consider it to decrease their national carbon emissions and improve air quality significantly. This might be a major incentive for you to consider buying an EV as your next car.

Conclusion

The popularity of electric vehicles is undoubtedly increasing at a rapid pace. It has been almost 2 centuries since Robert Anderson started work on the first electricity-powered car in 1832, and finally, we are witnessing electricity-powered vehicles becoming the norm. Despite many challenges hindering the growth of EV purchases, such as its high price point, public misconceptions, and the lack of the necessary infrastructure (charging stations and capable electric grids), innovations mean that EVs are truly the vehicles of the future.

An electrical engineer by day, an automotive enthusiast by night. Quentin has spent most of his adult life obsessing over the latest car technologies, and is excited about the industry's future. He loves spending time fishing, arguing with his wife, or telling his grandkids wacky stories about his past.

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