Change is Coming
Why Electric Vehicles are the Future
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Although electric vehicles hold just 2.8% of the global market share of vehicle sales, they have the potential to change the world. As people are becoming more conscious of the global climate and how their action affects it, they are starting to scramble to do what they can to minimize their own impact. One way of doing so is to drive an electric vehicle, which produces far fewer emissions than a gasoline-powered vehicle.
What is an electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle is a vehicle that is partially or completely powered by electricity. They can be separated into three categories: all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles.
All-electric vehicles are powered solely by electric motors. They produce no tailpipe emissions. These motors are powered by batteries, which are charged with electricity the electric grid provides. To charge the battery, a driver can plug their vehicle into a standard wall socket or an electric vehicle charging station – the latter charges faster.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are powered both by an electric motor and by an internal combustion engine. Just like in all-electric vehicles, the motor is powered by a battery that the electric grid provides with electricity. The internal combustion engine is powered by a fuel such as gasoline. Once the battery powering the motor runs out of charge, the vehicle switches automatically to using fuel. An all-electric vehicle can generally travel further than a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle because fuel has a higher energy capacity than a battery.
Hybrid electric vehicles are powered primarily by fuel rather than electricity. They cannot be plugged in, and the batteries are recharged with regenerative braking. This technique converts the kinetic energy lost from deceleration when braking and stores it in the batteries. In a hybrid electric vehicle, a driver can switch between the fuel engine and the electric motor at any time by choosing the vehicle’s “electric vehicle (EV)” mode.
Benefits of choosing electric vehicles over gasoline-powered vehicles
Electric vehicles are an excellent choice of transportation. Here are some of the main benefits:
- Emissions reduction: By choosing an electric vehicle over a gasoline-powered vehicle, drivers can reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by roughly 80%.
- Lower fuel costs: On average, it is four times more expensive to fuel a vehicle with gasoline than it is to fuel a vehicle with electricity.
- Lower maintenance costs: Electric vehicles don’t require oil changes and have fewer moving parts that can get damaged, meaning fewer trips to a mechanic for maintenance.
By choosing an electric vehicle over a gasoline-powered vehicle, a driver will be paying less to drive and will help the planet too.
There are still some improvements to be made before electric vehicles become the norm across the world.
- Limited range before recharging: The average electric vehicle’s range is 386 kilometers, but the average gasoline-powered vehicle’s range is 663 kilometers.
- Long charging time: An electric vehicle with a typical 60 kilowatt-hour battery takes about 8 hours to charge from empty to full. A gasoline-powered vehicle’s fuel tank can be filled in minutes.
- Insufficient infrastructure: There are 48,472 public charging stations in the United States, but there are 115,000 gas stations. While a public charging station can serve a handful of vehicles a day because of long charging times, gas stations can serve hundreds of vehicles a day. There are simply not enough charging stations to meet the demands of a fully electric fleet.
- High cost: The average electric vehicle costs $19,000 USD more to purchase than the average gasoline-powered vehicle.
- Battery issues in extreme temperatures: Batteries have trouble powering vehicles when they’re cold. The range of an electric vehicle decreases by around 20% in cold weather. In hot weather, where air conditioning keeps drivers and their passengers cool, the vehicle’s range decreases by around 17%.
- Use of lithium in batteries: Lithium is used in the lithium-ion batteries used by electric vehicles. Besides how rare this metal can be, mining, extracting, and refining it can take a heavy toll on the environment.
Once these issues are addressed, the transition from electric to gasoline-powered vehicles will speed up considerably. Working to address them, therefore, is of the utmost importance.
Electric vehicles are the future of transportation around the world. Besides lower fuel and maintenance costs, the major benefit of going electric is the 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, electric vehicles currently face a number of issues that may deter consumers from purchasing them. Once the issues they face are solved, they will unquestionably be an investment worth making.