Many factors go into the consideration of purchasing an electric car. Pollution, both sound and air, energy savings, the cost of oil and gas prices fluctuating and even the cost of ownership. Is an electric car right for you?
In this article, we will look at the details and concerns of buying an electric car. Should you do it, what kind should you look for and what are the pitfalls? We will examine all of these questions and help you make a better-informed decision about electric cars.
What is an Electric Car?
Electric cars, electric vehicles (or EV for short), are cars and trucks that use an all-electric motor powered by a battery, or an electric fuel cell. Instead of gasoline supplying explosive power for combustion, the engine uses the power of the battery to rotate.
Because there is no combustion, there is no exhaust. This is one method that car manufacturers are helping to cut down on air pollution. Not all electric cars are without combustion or pollution though, these are called hybrids and primarily run on fuel but have a battery power option as well.
The benefit to a hybrid is longer runtime and further distances between fill-ups since you can effectively run out of gas and continue a couple of hundred miles on the battery power. Full electric cars, though, do not have this option and are limited to between 100 and 300 miles per charge.
Who are Electric Cars For?
Electric cars and trucks are designed for just about everyone. Daily commuters were the first demographic the cars were designed for. In an effort to reduce city smog and air pollution, electric cars and hybrids were designed for those traveling short distances such as to and from work, or daily shopping trips.
Anyone going green, or trying to reduce their carbon footprint, will benefit from an electric car. The emissions from hybrid cars are reduced dramatically and can even be reduced up to 100 percent if it is a fully electric vehicle.
The downside is that electric cars will need to be recharged at regular intervals. Just like any other rechargeable battery, it will only last so long before being depleted. In a fully electric car, this will generally range from 150 to 250 miles.
Recharging Stations Aren’t Standard Just Yet
In larger cities and some areas, there are solar and electrical recharging stations. However, these aren’t everywhere yet and while the numbers are growing, it can still be difficult to find a place to recharge your car.
At home, you will have options that come with the purchase of the car and you can recharge it overnight while the car is parked. If you are simply using the car for commuting, you can easily get a couple of weeks worth of trips on a single charge.
However, for longer trips, you will need to plan your route carefully and allow enough time for recharging. This is a major factor in determining buying an electric car. If you are in an area without charging stations, you may find the car isn’t currently worth the investment.
Going Green With Smart Electric Cars
The biggest appeal for going green and buying a smart electric car is in the eventual savings. The upfront cost is a lot more than a standard gasoline-powered car, but in the long run, it can save a lot of money.
You will save on fuel costs alone, offsetting that with the cost of electricity it takes to replenish the batteries. Smart electric cars also help by knowing when to conserve energy and when to expend it.
Using this method, you can actually save battery life and still maintain an enjoyable ride. The end result is more savings and a quicker return on the investment. You may also be eligible for rebates; income tax write-offs and other discounts just for owning an electric car.
Over the life of the cars, with routine maintenance, tires, fuel costs and rebates, the electric cars cost you less. However, you should be aware that the cost of ownership is steep in the beginning. When you ask yourself “should I buy an electric car” more than just the cost goes into the decision.
Things to Consider
There are a lot of things to consider when thinking of buying an electric car and going green. As with any other major purchase, the first consideration is going to be the cost. After that, though you really should think about why.
Just going green isn’t a bad idea. Everyone should be doing their part to reduce pollution. But there is more than just car pollution to think about. Smog and air quality are major problems in a lot of US cities. Cars, trucks and even mass transit contribute to the overall pollution levels.
Even owning an electric car will help. However, it still takes resources to produce and maintain these vehicles. You then need to consider the noise pollution. Traffic is also a large component in noise pollution factors in heavily congested areas.
Because electric cars don’t have gasoline combustion engines, they are very quiet. Some make noise, of course, anything with moving parts is going to. However, the noise levels are generally kept down to a minimum and can be categorized with talking or conversation noise levels.
The second largest deciding factor for purchase though, is refueling. Hybrid electric cars still need gasoline, however, not as frequently. Smart electric cars will maintain the ratio of electric use and fuel use to prolong both and allow the car to travel further between fill-ups.
Electricity is needed to refill the fuel cell or charge the batteries, though and not just any plug will do. You will have a set up at home, generally in your garage to charge your car overnight. As we have discussed, if you are using your electric car for a daily commute or other short trips, this will most likely be all you need.
For longer trips, though, you will need to find out where electric service stations are. More and more they are popping up all over the map. Some gas stations have electric car charging docks installed to accommodate the need.
There are also specific parking spots assigned for smart cars in public parking areas. In these spots, you will pay for the recharge unit that is near the parking spot and recharge while you are away from your car.
The good news about these spots is that they are usually located near the front of the lot in prime parking locations and only electric cars are allowed to park there.
Your other considerations should include maintenance and repairs. For most general things such as tires and brakes, you can still go to the same mechanic you take your other cars too. However, not all mechanics are electric car ready and if something goes wrong, you may be forced to go back to the dealer.
You should investigate local garages to find out if they can service an electric car and figure out their rates versus the dealership. It could save you time and money if you are able to find a local mechanic with the proper knowledge of electric cars.
There are also electric car groups that you can become a member of. These groups will be able to tell you where to go to get your car serviced, help petition local governments to get more charging stations in and have shows, meetings and other services to electric car owners.
When all is said and done, buying an electric car is better for the environment, will lower pollution both, air and noise, and is a long-term money saving option over gasoline powered cars and trucks.
In the science fiction of the mid 19th century, the future was full of cars that didn’t rely on fossil fuels to run. While our cars may not fly, we certainly have begun the process of alternative fuels to power our vehicles.
Still considered in its infancy, electric cars are a great step in going green. The mere fact that you can all but eliminate the amount of air pollution you cause, until every car lowers emissions, it will still be a problem. Going green is a process, though and should be started, at any level, by everyone.
Buying an electric car is a huge step in going green. As long as the purchase is something you are willing to make. The upfront cost is great, but the long-term benefits and savings are even greater.
You only need to ensure that the electric car will be able to do what you need it to do and that you have the ability to recharge when the battery gets low. Longer road trips may not be a viable option just yet, but with electric car associations all over the map, it shouldn’t be long before recharging stations are as common as gas stations.