For car drivers, looking for a low maintenance alternative to their gas-powered car, electric cars offer many advantages. However, if you are worried about not being able to commit to charging your car, you might want to stick with your gas car for now. Electric cars are the way of the future. Many car companies are hurrying to come out with the latest and greatest of plug in vehicles. With the price of gas going up, people are rushing to the dealerships to purchase their new electric powered vehicle. This new way of life has many people wondering if it is really as safe as what we are told. If we are surrounded by five or more lithium batteries, do we know what that will do for our health down the line? If the batteries are made out of lithium and other metals, what does the process of making them and recycling them do for our planet, now and in the future? Buyers should educate themselves on more than just the pros of these incredible and exciting vehicles. Learning the cons as well puts you in a better position should anything go wrong or when things don’t seem right. Knowing the full spectrum of information on something is never a bad thing. So what are the pros and cons of these vehicles? What should we know about an invention that is still in the works? Having the tools to make an informed decision, like purchasing a new electric vehicle, can be immensely rewarding in the end. Let’s dig in.
Facts That Make Owning an Electric Car More Attractive
Recharging an electric vehicle is much more affordable in the long run as opposed to refueling a gas-fueled car. This is especially true when taking into account that you can plug your vehicle into your home and get tax benefits from it. You simply have to install a solar powered carport or use solar panels for your electricity.
According to the EPA, one traditional gas-fueled passenger vehicle with a 22-miles per gallon range emits an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Non-hybrid electric cars emit zero tons of CO2 or other greenhouse gases, in turn making them much more environmentally friendly.
Gas-fueled engines have lots of moving parts, including an engine, valves, and a transmission. Having these parts requires fluids that constantly need changing or parts that eventually leak. Think frequent oil changes. Electric vehicles don’t need these things. Less maintenance is required with these vehicles. It is said that electric cars also last longer then gas-fueled ones because there isn’t as much wear and tear.
Electric cars have no exhaust system. This is what makes them known for operating so quietly and smoothly. This leads to less noise pollution and a more relaxing ride. Electric motors also tend to react much quicker than mechanical engines, providing more torque and agility while on the road. Additionally, electric cars usually operate more efficiently and use less energy in stop-and-go city traffic.
A lot of people mistakenly think that electric cars are more inconvenient since you have to find charging stations, which aren’t easily accessible at your regular gas stations. But the ability to charge these vehicles at your home is a great advantage. We are seeing more charging stations pop up around the country, for models like Tesla and other brands. Some newer electric vehicles even have a voice operated system so all you have to do is ask the car where the nearest charging station is and it will lead you to it.
Major Concerns for People in Today’s Society
Even though you can charge an electric vehicle at home, finding a charging station if you’re driving through rural areas or on a long-distance road trip can be a challenge. When you are on a long road trip, the last thing that you want to worry about is running out of charge and not seeing a charging station anywhere in sight. Range anxiety is the fear of driving an electric vehicle and running out of power, without being able to find a charging station on time to replenish the battery. According to research, approximately 50 percent of potential electric vehicle drivers today feel uncertain about being able to charge their vehicle when they need to.
Charging can take a while. Adding gas to a fuel tank doesn’t take very long. Most of the time you are in and out of the gas station in under five minutes. When charging an electric car, this can take some time to do, especially if it is completely depleted. It can take upwards of two days to get a full charge on a battery pack using normal outlets. Another thing to factor in is the car type and the battery size. This could add significant time on your charging. Even the fastest charging stations will only give you 80 percent capacity after a half hour.
Your driving range will be limited. The driving range of a gas-powered vehicle is much longer than that of an electric car, which can range anywhere from 100 miles to 400 miles depending on the car. Full-electric vehicles have an average range of 250 miles on a single charge. However, newer models from companies like Tesla and Mercedes can go as far as 600 miles in one charge.
Although the cost of an electric car can be offset by fuel cost savings and tax credits, the upfront cost of most electric cars, if you want an attractive model with all of the fun buttons, is much higher than that of comparable gas-fueled vehicles. It will take an average person many years to see the savings of gas compared to electricity.
Battery packs can be VERY expensive to replace. Although little maintenance is needed, don’t be shocked if you need to replace your electric car’s battery pack at least once during its lifetime. Doing so can be hard on the wallet. A battery pack for an electric vehicle can cost you $6,000 or more, depending on the vehicle type. The one positive attribute to this is that you can change the battery yourself. It does not need the assistance of a technician.
Lithium-ion batteries power every electric vehicle on the road. But there are significant problems with these batteries. There has been instances of these batteries overheating and being extremely flammable, short life spans and underperformance, toxicity and logistics challenges, such as disposal and transportation. During an accident, these batteries can spontaneously combust from a puncture or just from heat exposure. In April of 2021, a deadly lithium-ion battery fire occurred in a Tesla car crash in Houston, Texas where it took firefighters more than four hours and 30,000 gallons of water to put out the blaze.
Lithium-ion batteries and our health are actually one subject. Many people do not know the potential risks of these batteries to our well being. We would never think that a battery can make us sick or unhealthy. These batteries have not been around for very long, so the process of disposal and recycling has been on everyone’s mind. When these batteries sit around waiting to be recycled, they can have repercussions to the air we breathe and the water that we drink. These metals turn into particles which are then spread throughout the air we breathe. A study in Shanghai revealed that the break down of lithium batteries caused the water to be polluted and this can cause damage to human cardiomyocytes. The study went on to say that it is imperative to detect lithium concentration in the water environments and effectively recycle lithium batteries correctly.
Is Owning an Electric Vehicle for You??
Hopefully, the above pros and cons can help you determine if an electric vehicle will be in your future and is right for your driving needs and wants. Being a responsible and educated driver of an electric vehicle makes all the difference in the world. All vehicles have their positives and negatives, which make these just as important as a gas-fueled vehicle. The answer comes down to dollars and cents, as well as the convenience for consumers. The batteries that power electric vehicles are expensive to produce and in turn result in an increase of price for the electric vehicle over fossil fuel vehicles that most people are just not willing to pay, or can’t afford. Most people are just comfortable and happy in their gas-fueled vehicles. It comes down to personal preference and for some people, who want to help save a footprint or two, it means saving the world one vehicle at a time.