So, you have probably been hearing, reading, and seeing a lot of things about how great electric cars are and that we should all consider trading in the gas guzzler sitting our driveway or garage for a nice, new, shiny all electric vehicle instead. The problem is that a lot of the information in the popular media is pretty vague – EV’s are ‘good for the environment’ and ‘will save you lots of money’.
But these are little more than buzz phrases, which, coupled with the fact there are still a lot of misconceptions out there about just what EVs can and cannot do in the 21st Century, it should not come as too much of a surprise to learn that many people are still very skeptical about even entertaining the idea of buying an electric car, even if their government is offering to pay them an incentive to do so (which is the case in the US and Europe)
So why should you consider an EV? Especially since, in all honesty, none of the current options could really be called ‘budget’ choices? There are certainly things to consider before you make the switch, but there are definite advantages, both for you and your family and the planet in general:
Fuel Costs – Using an electric vehicle is certainly not free, you have to pay for the electricity to charge it’s battery, and, in fairness, electricity is not the cheapest thing in the world. However, most people are still likely to save money over the cost of gas.
For example, if you take the largest, most powerful, and certainly most luxurious of the electric cars available to average consumers in the US and Europe right now, the Tesla Model S, the US Department of Energy’s tests found that for a driver who puts 15,000 miles on the clock in a year – an average of 41 miles a day – the annual running cost using a US average of 12 cents per kw hour of electricity as a guide would be $700 a year. If you translate that into gas costs, an average of 3.70 a gallon (which would be low for the 2013 market) you would get 189 gallons of gas, certainly not enough to take you anywhere near as far as 15,000 miles.
And not everyone wants or needs a luxury high performance sedan anyway. The compact 2013 Scion iQ EV would, by the same calculation method, cost $500 per annum to run and the bestselling mid-size 2013 Nissan Leaf the same amount!
Maintenance Costs – This is the one money saving aspect of an EV that many people forget about at first. But think about it – how much do you spend every year on car fluids, oil changes, service appointments and so on? Quite a lot when you add it up right? There are far fewer such costs associated with owning an electric vehicle.
For example, EVs use regenerative braking to slow the car rather than the use of mechanical friction, so the brake pads last a lot longer than those on a gas vehicle and the average battery life of today’s electric vehicles is a guaranteed eight to ten years, probably as long as most people will own the car before trading up for something different.
Environmental Impact – As long as electricity companies still use coal fired plants to generate electricity even an EV is not completely eco-friendly. However, the use of wind and water power to generate electricity is increasing all over the world so that situation is improving. It is the fact that electric cars do not emit gasses into the air is the big reason why they are considered so ecofriendly though, as well as the reduced dependence on foreign oil. And contrary to what you might think, every EV on the road does make a positive impact in these crucial areas, just in the same way as every individual vote does in an election.