The technology utilized to create electric cars is fairly new. As such, it is going to have its advantages and drawbacks. Much the same way hybrids were looked upon as both the saviors and flops of the automotive market, electric cars are seen both romantically and skeptically. There are arguments both for and against their popularity. And, as is the case with any vehicle, there are many differences from model to model. These differences can be used either for or against them in the ongoing argument of their favor or discord. Let’s take a look at electric cars pros and cons and decide for ourselves where we stand.
The obvious one is pollution. Gasoline-driven cars have it, electrics don’t. With no need to burn fossil fuels, electric cars give off no gaseous pollution during operation. This can also save drivers tons of money in the long run. Especially for vehicles like the, , and PHV, which can run nearly as long as a standard car does on a single tank of gas.
The next positive for electric cars is that they are available with many of the amenities that standard cars have come to be loved for. Air conditioning, CD players, heated cup holders, airbags and car alarms are all options which can be found on electrics such as theBEV, Tesla Roadster, Th!nk City, and Chevy Volt. It is unknown, however, how much these added features add to the drain on battery life for the electrics. It does, however, say something for their design concerning driver safety. Airbags, warning sensors, and navigation systems are all still available on electrics.
Electric cars are also simpler in operation, causing them to have greater reliability than standard automobiles. Less parts equals less that can break. Some of the simplest electric vehicles, such as the Aptera 2e, have yet to even be rated for reliability because they haven’t been driven long enough to break down. This, coupled with the absence of a need for gasoline, makes electrics much more economical to drive. The difference in price for many electrics like Toyota’s Prius PHV and the Chevy Volt could make up for itself at the gas pump alone.
The biggest con of the electrics is the need to be charged so often. Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus BEV are only rated to 100 miles on a single charge. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for long road trips. Especially when even the quick charge on these vehicles takes up to 45 minutes. For a full charge, the driver is looking at closer to 15 to 22 hours. This technology is new, however, and as such can improve. Tesla Motors has already proven that electric vehicles can run up to 300 miles on a charge, so it may not be long before we see that number increased even further in many models. The need for more charging stations is also a current deterrent to electric ownership.
Another drawback is the electric car’s size. The bigger the car, the more it has to work. The more it works, the less efficient the batteries become. In this case, you’re basically stuck driving a very compact car if you want to drive an electric. Cars like the Aptera 2e, Th!nk City, and cityZENN, are two-seaters and barely that. This eliminates many consumers who have a need for larger vehicles.
Finally, there is cost of repair. Since electrics haven’t been on the road that long, nobody really knows for sure when or how they’ll break down most often. At this point, most rechargeable electric car batteries are rated for 4 years/40,000 miles before they need to be replaced. That could get pricy considering many of these battery cells can run thousands of dollars in cost. And there aren’t too many automotive technicians out there at this point who can troubleshoot problems with an electric motor. If your electric breaks down, you may be limited on repair options and locations.
As with any new technology only time will tell if the advantages of the electric car are worth dealing with the drawbacks. There were detractors of the internal combustion engine when it first came to pass, too. That is, until most people found that riding in a car with an internal combustion engine was a much nicer way to get around than having to hitch up their horses to the buggy every day.