There is much to learn about the pros and cons of EV ownership. Gasoline- and diesel-powered cars are familiar, fast to refuel, and able to go great distances between fuelings, none of which you can (yet) say for EVs. However, EVs carry a unique set of advantages, ranging from the intrinsically exciting feeling of driving to the considerably less damaging environmental impacts.
The current negatives about electric cars will eventually fade away as more and more people adopt the technology. Before you commit to buying an EV, it is important to understand that electric vehicles are not the only electric vehicles on the road.
Electric vehicles are solely dependent on batteries and electrical motors to provide them with propulsion. When a vehicle runs low on juice, pull over to a charging station, and within a half-hour or so, you are set. Plug-in hybrids have a battery pack and electric motor(s), but they also have a gas motor. They are capable of all-electric power, but they have much shorter all-electric ranges than their electric-only counterparts. After the electric range is exhausted, the cars engines kick in, with an electric motor filling the gas engines void at lower speeds.
Internal combustion engines have been used for more than a century, providing familiar riding experiences. Gas-powered cars are simple to operate, fuel-efficient, and boast driving ranges that make them practical for extended road trips. These advantages, as well as their typically lower upfront costs to purchase, make gas-powered cars appealing for many drivers.
Gas engines have gotten more sophisticated over the years and are now very fuel-efficient and capable, but there is no getting around the fact that burning fuel produces emissions. Despite gains in fuel economy and lower tailpipe emissions, the days of the gas-powered car are numbered. Human's negative impacts on Earth and its climate far outweigh gas vehicles' benefits, and auto companies know it. They are developing electric cars at a blistering rate, and incentives from the government, like tax credits, are making buying electric cars a tempting prospect for many.
Battery storage is not a new invention. Electric cars have been around almost as long as gas-powered cars. Batteries, charging, range, and several other factors have changed considerably over that time, but electric has been a part of the car mentality for some time. Today, concerns about the Earth, gas prices, emissions, and other factors are driving buyers toward electric vehicles in increasing numbers.
Recent studies suggest electric cars will surpass gas-powered vehicles in many countries by 2033 and globally in only a couple of years.
We are using the term EV here to describe purely electric vehicles, not hybrids or plug-in hybrids. These vehicles, although they provide significant fuel-efficiency advantages over gas cars, do not provide the same type of savings in fuel costs or experiences that EVs provide.
Driving an electric vehicle isn't like driving a UFO.
Aside from there being no engine noise and much greater torque, driving an electric car is an extremely normal experience. The EVs produce peak torque at zero, so there is a directness to power and acceleration that cannot be matched by a petro-powered car.
In daily driving scenarios, those new to electric cars might find more road and wind noise coming through the vehicle than gas-powered cars. This is due to the absence of the motor and drivetrain sounds, which usually muffle all the other sounds from outside.
Motors in EVs are capable of driving in either orientation. When a driver is speeding, the motors spin in the driving direction, pushing the vehicle forward. When the accelerator pedal is lifted, the motor is turned back, producing electrical energy fed into the battery. The reversed electric motor action also produces slower forces on the car. Automakers design the amount of regenerative brake forces that slow a car; a greater amount of regenerative braking forces will cause a car to quickly decelerate with no input from the accelerator, whereas less regenerative forces will enable an EV to operate more similarly to a gasoline-powered equivalent.
Charging Stations and Gas Stations
When discussing electric cars, there is a tendency for people to mention concern over finding charging stations. When a gas-powered vehicle runs out of gas, you might pull up to the pump and get gas within five minutes or so, but when an electric vehicle runs out of juice, it is not such an easy process. While many EVs can go hundreds of miles on a charge, recharging that power can take significant time, at least for some electric cars. Some models are able to recover as much as 80 percent or more of their power in just 20 minutes, but charging speeds slowed significantly as batteries approached their capacities.
The rate at which charging stations are capable of recharging the range of electric vehicles is variable, but increasingly faster charging is becoming available at charging stations around the country. Even when there is not a charging station in a driver's home, he or she usually sees savings on fuel and an overall decrease in costs as a result. See our article "How Long Does It Take To Charge A Tesla?"
Do Electric Cars Take Gas?
If you recently learned about hybrid cars, you may be inclined to think that EVs do take gas to run at some point. While it is true that hybrids do require gas, electric vehicles do not. Their electric motors get power from battery packs, which must be recharged once they have run out of range.
What are the pros of owning an Electric Car?
It is true that gas-powered vehicles are typically cheaper to operate and easier to fill up, but owning an EV has some benefits that do not come down to costs. One of the biggest advantages of owning an EV is reduced regular maintenance needs. There are no oil changes, no mechanical components that break under the hood, no exhaust systems, and you get a longer lifespan from other components like the brakes.
Many people report driving an EV is more relaxing than a gas car due to the absence of engine noise. Many electric models also provide substantial performance advantages over gas vehicles. This is true not just for the purpose-built performance cars of Porsche, Tesla, and others but also for daily driver cars. Instant torque and acceleration make EVs exciting to drive, and they can be faster than most expect, depending on driving habits.
There can even be tax incentives available, depending on which electric vehicle you choose. The U.S. government offers buyers of qualified electric cars up to $7,500 in a lump sum -- various states offer rebates for certain models, as well -- that reduces the actual cost of buying.
All this, and we have not even mentioned reducing greenhouse gas emissions entirely from daily driving, nor that gas prices are highly volatile. Fuel costs are the biggest driver of a lot of buyers.
What are the drawbacks to an electric vehicle?
There are some drawbacks to having an electric vehicle, which may not immediately become evident while standing at the dealership lot trying to buy the vehicle.
You might have access to charging stations ready and waiting, depending on where you live. This is particularly true for those living in multi-family homes or renting since a home charging system might be impossible to set up. You might also find electric cars take too long to charge, even when a charging station is close by.
Unlike filling a gas tank, which may take just a few minutes, most EVs will take a lot longer to get back a significant part of their range. This can make highway trips unfeasible for many, since the need to stop and recharge for a half-hour or longer can make an otherwise straightforward journey into an extended, agonizing journey. Finally, there is the matter of the cost of the purchase. Electric cars, regardless of their type, size, or technology, are typically more expensive than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
How long will an electric car last?
EV batteries begin to degrade after some time, as any electrical component does. Over time, an electric car's battery starts losing its ability to hold power.
Cars are only worthwhile if they are capable of traveling the advertised range, so an electric car with an inferior battery is almost useless. Automakers offer warranties on batteries and electrical components in EVs, as they do for every other vehicle. In many cases, those warranties are 10 years or 100,000 miles, meaning that an electric car's battery could be repaired or replaced if it breaks during that period.
By installing domestic solar panels along with your EV, you can eliminate the need to draw electricity from the grid at all. The result: emissions-free, lower-cost electricity for both your home and car. The average customer breaks even on their solar investments in only seven-and-a-half years, with solar panels continuing to produce usable electricity for 25+ years. We can help you find vetted installers in your area.
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