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Electric, plug-in vehicles, or EVs for short, are a rapidly growing vehicle option for any household. In many ways operating more like our handheld rechargeable devices than an internal-combustion vehicle, EVs have the potential to revolutionize our everyday commute and fuel consumption habits.With all major tech giants, including Google, Tesla, Uber, and even Sony investing in electric vehicle models or infrastructure, the EV future is appears closer with each passing month. Here we recount several of the most heralded benefits for consumers considering switching to an electric vehicle.
EVs can be affordable investments. Believe it or not, but electric cars might just be a cheaper option in the long run if you’re looking to buy a new car. With rapid advancements in technology, electric cars are no longer as expensive as they used to be, and the price is predicted to go lower in the future, as more and more rival competitors entering the market.
For example, according to a research report by Cox Automotive, the EV median prices declined by 13.4% in 2019 compared to the overall median price increase of 2% for vehicles in the U.S. According to some other studies, electric cars will reach the price parity with gas and diesel cars within 8 years.
Besides that, just like for diesel or gasoline cars, you can choose from a wide range of models and brands. This way, you can pick one that fits your budget. As electric cars require low maintenance and have a longer lifespan than gas and diesel cars (see below), they can prove to be a better longer-term investment despite sometimes higher upfront cost.
Low maintenance. Even if you feel that the price of an electric car is more or less the same as diesel and petrol cars, there’s one advantage you won’t find in the latter category. Electric cars are cheaper to run and maintain as compared to diesel and petrol cars. According to Energy.gov, the cost of driving an EV the same distance compared to gasoline vehicle is less than half: USD $1.17 compared to 2.57 average.
First, a basic electric car consists of minimal components, namely, the inverter, the charger, and the motor. Fewer moving parts means less wear and tear on the motor. You’ll be saving a lot on repairs and regular servicing.
Second, after you’ve invested in an electric car, you can be completely concern-free about fuel. For most locations, electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel, which means you’ll cut out on fuel expenses. Keep in mind that the cost of electricity varies based on the state you are driving in. For example, in Arkansas, the difference in cost is $0.88 electricity equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, while in Massachusetts, the figure is $1.93 USD. [Data source Energy.gov]
If you want to compare cost per charge for different regions, here is a quick comparison:
Rhode Island: $0.23 per kWh
Washington DC: <$0.10 per kWh (benefits of hydropower)
California: $0.20 per kWh
Oregon: $0.10 per kWh
Sustainability. The greener aspect of driving electric vehicles is undeniable. Perhaps most importantly, EVs can reduce harmful carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Still, manufacturing electric vehicles can make stride to become more efficient and lower lifecycle emissions. Studies have shown that the process for manufacturing electric vehicles is comparably as harmful as producing equivalent gas-powered vehicles. Manufacturing electric vehicles requires significant consumption of energy.
Electric vehicle batteries are much larger than those used in gas-powered cars. These batteries using in electric vehicles feature a different chemistry as well, lithium-ion batteries, like those found in cellphones and laptops. With these batteries comes the significant extraction and refinement of metals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries are much harder to recycle.
You might have heard about the long tailpipe theory and probably believe that the pollution electric cars prevent is offset by the dirty electricity from the power plants charging the EVs relies on. These are important considerations and very dependent on your local grid. But even if all the pollution from electric power plants is compared to the emissions from combustion engines, the former is less for most regions.
Enhanced performance. Yes, another benefit of electric vehicles is that they can perform better than petrol or diesel cars. Many drivers consider electric engines more responsive, providing improved acceleration, torque, and power. What’s more, you can control an electric vehicle easily, as their center of gravity is concentrated in one single battery located at the chassis. A great example of this is the balanced, prompt acceleration of the Tesla Roadster. Nevertheless, combustion engines do work well when you’re talking high-speed sprints on long tracks. But, you’re not likely to take your car on the racetrack.
Fossil fuel independence. With electric cars, you’ll never have to stop at a gasoline fuel station again! Think about it this way: How long is your car parked idly each day? If you count your work hours along with family time at night, your car stays parked for more than twelve hours each day. Now, if you have an electric car, you can leave it to get charged until you need to use it again the next day. You can also recharge your cars during work hours for your trip back home. You can easily forget the long gas-station queues and the extra time spent every day.
All you need to do is install an all-weather charging port inside or outside your garage and connect your car to it. It works the same way as charging your smartphone. Consider EV chargers for your home. While it usually takes eight to 10 hours for an electric vehicle to get fully charged, you can also get high-speed chargers, which can get your car ready in about an hour as well.
Summing it all up, it’s evident that electric vehicles are the way of the future. Not only do they benefit the environment, but they also give you a faster and more accessible driving experience as well. The next time you think about purchasing an automobile, compare the benefits and convenience of electric vehicles to the high power range of combustion engines before you decide what’s best for you
Kyle Baker is the owner of sustainable technology blog Green Coast, where he covers renewable energy, electric vehicles, and seeks to simplify discussions on sustainability. Connect with Kyle via Green Coast on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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