Electric cars: should you ‘elect’ to buy one?

Electric cars

As we hurtle at overwhelming speeds towards a global climate crisis, we may wonder—should I switch to an electric car? We are sure that the prospect of all the gas money they could save has tempted even those of us who aren’t green warriors. After all, it is a precarious world we live in, and fuel prices are wobblier than ever. Conventional cars are bound to seem passé soon, thanks to the woke status electric vehicles promise. If you do have your mind set on one, here are the electric cars that are bound to make your shortlist:

  • BMW iXDrive50: Accelerating from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.6 seconds, this car offers both efficiency and aesthetics. Moreover, this model is potent, with a battery that can touch 150 km in 10 seconds!
  • Tesla Model 3: Made by the famed Elon Musk’s Tesla, this sedan boasts zero carbon emissions and 100% power. With a 5.6-second sprint time from 0 to 100 kmph, it offers speed, power, and chicness in equal parts.
  • Hyundai Kona Electric: Offering the biggest bang for the buck, this SUV model is the perfect luxury car that the whole family can enjoy. It offers a top speed of a whopping 225 kmph, going from 0 to 100 kmph in 7.9 seconds. Possibly the best electric car for long drives, the Hyundai Kona electric is simultaneously both wholesome and snazzy.

While electric cars seem attractive, the crux of the matter remains: is it worth going fully electric? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

1) Performance

Of all the fantastic things an electric car does, ‘roaring’ across the tarmac is not one of them. On the contrary, these cars are considerably quieter than their hydrocarbon-dependent counterparts. So, those who do not care for the cry of combustion engines can celebrate the soundless manoeuvring of electric cars. Moreover, electric engines fare much better in comparison to their mechanical counterparts. Not only are they more efficient in slow and lugging traffic, but they are also quicker and more responsive. 

Electric cars convert over 77% of electrical energy from the grid to engine power. In contrast, conventional cars only convert 12-30% of the energy stored in gasoline. But, of course, this is just one side of the tale. Unfortunately, with one charge, electric cars can only go so far—about 100 to 160 kilometres for the most part. In contrast, a gas engine will take you to distant places after filling the tank only once. In addition, gas stations are more common and easier to find than charging stations, making this problem even worse. Therefore, while they are sleeker, smoother, and quieter, if road trips excite you, electric cars certainly may not.

2) Sustainability

Fossil fuels are non-renewable, finite resources. Oil and gas can and will be exhausted at some point. On the other hand, it is possible to extract electricity from renewable sources like wind, hydro, or solar power. It seems like simple mathematics to say electric cars, which rely entirely on renewable electricity, are just more sustainable. But don’t jump to such conclusions too quickly. While gas is in no way used to run an electric vehicle, the method of manufacturing electric car batteries poses quite a problem. Mining and processing raw materials used in these batteries, like lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, manganese, etc., are not energy efficient. In fact, manufacturing electric cars is a rather unsustainable process thanks to the finite raw materials used in making the batteries.

Pros and cons of electric cars

3) Carbon emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2019, transportation made up 29% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, effectively the largest contributor. So, it seems evident that using electric cars will invariably reduce GHG emissions. Thus, of course, they seem to be the greener option. But that’s not exactly the case. While it is true that using renewable ways to power electricity could reduce the GHG considerably, using coal or natural gas results in sizeable carbon pollution. So, electric cars are only as clean as their power supply. Moreover, as previously mentioned, manufacturing these cars requires modalities that are far from being environment-friendly. 

4) Affordability

As crude oil prices keep rising, a respite from rising fuel prices seems unlikely. Switching to an electric car can solve this problem. In fact, according to Energy.gov, you could reduce running costs by 50% by going electric when compared to gas. Besides, many expenses like upkeep, oil-changing, and wear and tear are significantly reduced or eliminated, lowering the maintenance costs of electric cars. While this may be dandy, it is hard to ignore the fact that electric cars are not economically viable for most people due to the high battery costs (and some marketing factors). Though the battery-making prices have fallen over the years, they continue to be relatively high. Thus, while you won’t complain about your electric car being a gas-guzzler, buying one is an uphill climb—one where you will burn money instead of calories!

Do all these factors seem overwhelming? They don’t need to. You just need to know that we now have a substantial alternative to fuel cars in the market. Of course, they have their benefits and drawbacks, but they still widen the choices for car buyers everywhere.   

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