How many hallmarks of science fiction (post-1950) are shown in vehicle innovations? For as long as most of us can remember, we’ve seen flying cars, self-driving cars and yes, electric cars as emblems of a more advanced and always forthcoming future. Here at the end of the second decade of this century, we at last find that in fact, all of these things are indeed real.
Self-driving cars make Google headlines daily, and their adoption into mass use is inevitable before this century’s end for sure. Flying cars are also being tested, but are likely to never be something everyone has in their driveway for a host of different reasons.
Where does this leave electric vehicles? Well of course, it’s no secret that electric vehicles not only exist, but have for some time been available on the consumer market. In fact, there have been consumer electric concepts many times over the past several decades, just many weren’t tested or ever known in the US for reasons we’ll get to in a minute.
Pros of Electric Cars
- Environmental: While you’re not emission-free with an electric car (most electricity supplied to charge them is produced by burning fossil fuels), you’re having a much lower impact on the environment with an electric car.
- Less Expensive to Power: Gasoline is ridiculously expensive when you do the math. Yes, electricity isn’t cheap either, but it’s far cheaper than gasoline. This is why gas generators, even in a pre-green society, were never used for more than emergencies. Thus, recharging your electric car will now, and forever, be far cheaper than pouring gas into a tank.
- Cheaper Maintenance: Electric cars are complex, but they have a lot fewer obtuse mechanical parts than a traditional internal combustion engine. The motors, control systems and power supply are remarkable pieces of advanced technology, but they’re longer-lived, and less physically complex to repair, replace and maintain.
- Tax Deductions: The government, after dragging its feet for some time, has taken it upon itself at last, to positively reinforce green practices. In the past, their sole contribution to environmental activism was negative reinforcement through regulation and EPA enforcement. Tax deductions are available when electric vehicles are used, though these vary from state to state.
- Safety: The power supply and electric motors involved in these cars are lighter than an internal combustion engine and gas tank, which means a little bit of this lost weight can be given to reinforcing the integrity of the car. Not all of the weight can be shifted (more on that in a moment), but still. On top of this, there’s nothing severely volatile and combustible present by way of motor oil or gasoline, which means in severe accidents, these are less of an issue or hazard.
Cons of Electric Cars
Now, let’s look at why these benefits haven’t propelled the electric car into the mainstream, and rendered traditional gasoline vehicles obsolete.
- Not Completely Green: We mentioned this in the benefits section, but it merits repeating – you’re still contributing to a carbon footprint if the electricity with which you charge this vehicle was made by burning fossil fuels.
- Range Limitation: This is a problem with batteries really. You can’t get as far on a charge as you can on a tank of gas. This is because battery technology to hold the amount of energy for long journeys, while being light and small enough to be carried on said journey, is a checks and balances challenge not yet overcome.
- Recharging Problems: Recharging is a problem in two ways. One, you need a special charging station for your vehicle, you can’t just plug an extension cord up at a gas station and pay them a fee to do so. These are few and far between in most of the world, outside some major cities. It also takes an absurdly long time to charge, upwards of hours.
- Cost: Of course, because of the niche demand, prices haven’t lowered much on this technology for now, making it more expensive than gas vehicles, as well as less convenient.
The old conspiracy that big oil suppresses electric vehicles is mostly a myth, and while they have a lot of benefits, the limitations for now make them more of a novelty than something ready to be the new norm. To learn more about this and things like it, fill out our contact form today!