ARE ELECTRIC CARS BETTER THAN GAS CARS?
The way people drive cars affects the environment. Gas cars (what most people drive) are bad for the air because they give off harmful gases that can hurt animals and plants. Emissions from cars also increase the amount of carbon in the air, which contributes to climate change. Electric cars don’t give off harmful gases, so they are much better for our environment. However, there are some disadvantages to electric cars.
HOW DO ELECTRIC CARS WORK?
Electric cars work by using an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery pack instead of a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) that runs on gasoline.
- When you press the accelerator, the electric motor converts stored energy from the battery into motion to power the car.
- The battery is recharged by plugging the car into an electrical outlet or charging station.
In an electric car, the electric motor is typically connected to the wheels via a single-speed transmission, which provides smooth and instant torque. This torque is what propels the vehicle forward, eliminating the need for gears. Additionally, the instant torque delivery and smooth operation of an electric motor provide a unique driving experience compared to an ICE.
- Electric car motors are like the ones in our washers and dryers. They make the cars go by turning the wheels. The motors are powered by a high-voltage battery.
- People who drive electric cars have to charge them (just like we need to put gas in our cars). There are some places in Europe and the US where a car can charge its batteries.
PROS AND CONS OF ELECTRIC CARS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Electric cars are better for the environment. The benefits of electric cars often outweigh the disadvantages, but the disadvantages are still considerable and anyone switching to an electric car should be prepared for the unique challenges.
Why Electric Cars Are Better: Pros
In the future, it is likely that most cars will be electric. Here are some of the reasons why electric cars are better than cars that run on gas.
- Reduced Carbon Emissions
- When a car burns gasoline, it makes a lot of carbon dioxide. This is bad for the Earth’s climate because CO2 traps heat, which contributes to climate change.
- Electric cars are powered by electricity, which can be generated from a variety of sources, including renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro power.
- When driving an electric car, the only emissions generated are from the electricity generation process, which is typically much cleaner than the internal combustion engine in a traditional car.
- Electric Cars Are Energy Efficient
- Electric cars run more efficiently than gas-powered cars. In traditional cars, much of the gas is burned just to make the wheels move, and most of the energy produced in gas-powered cars is expelled in the exhaust.
- Electric engines only need to convert a small percentage of the battery power in order to get moving. This means that electric cars can travel further on the same amount of energy, reducing the need to generate as much electricity to power them. A lot of the power from an electric car battery is used to push the car forward (torque). That’s why an electric car can go faster than a gas-powered car.
- Low Maintenance Cost
- Maintenance is what you do to keep something in good shape – like a car, house, or bicycle. Electric cars have fewer moving parts compared to gas vehicles. This means there are fewer parts to wear out, break, or need replacement. For example, electric cars don’t have an engine, transmission, oil changes, or spark plugs. Electric motors also generate a lot less mechanical stress than internal combustion engines, leading to less wear and tear on the drivetrain, suspension, and other components.
Why Are Electric Vehicles Bad: Cons
In as much as electric vehicles are friendly to the environment, they have their disadvantages (Research from EPA.gov):
- High Purchase Cost
- Most electric cars cost more than gas cars because auto companies have to spend a lot of money on research and production. Additionally, their batteries are a very complex piece of technology and contribute to the expense. This also becomes a maintenance expense, because most electric vehicles will need at least one battery change during their life. Some buyers will not choose an electric car for that reason.
- As the technology continues to develop, prices on electric cars will hopefully come down.
- Charging Electric Car Batteries Takes Time
- Electric car batteries are powered by electricity. The electricity makes the motor run. When the motor runs, it drains energy from the battery. People can charge their batteries at home with a wire plugged into an outlet. Charging an electric car can take several hours, depending on the charger. Meanwhile, refilling a gas tank of a gas-powered vehicle takes only 5 minutes.
- There are 43,000 electric car charging stations in the US, and millions of people who want to drive electric cars. More charging stations have to be built to meet this need. More powerful DC fast charging is being developed to charge a car to 80% in 30 minutes.
- Limited Driving Range
- On a single battery charge, an electric car cannot travel as many miles as a regular car can go on one tank of gas. It is hard to drive electric cars long distances because they have smaller ranges than other kinds of cars. The good ones can only go about 200 miles. The best ones can go for more than 300 miles. This makes it difficult to use an electric car for a road trip.
- Automakers are working on making electric cars go farther between charges.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Electric vehicles can still negatively impact the natural environment:
- The manufacturing process, including battery production, requires the use of toxic chemicals and the mining and refining of minerals and metals, such as lithium, cobalt, and nickels which can have a negative impact on the environment and contribute to air and water pollution.
- The supply chain to make an electric car involves many steps and many different countries. Some of these countries might not have strong rules to protect the environment. For example, getting the materials for the batteries, like lithium and cobalt, can harm the environment in countries without good environmental rules. Also, transporting these materials from one place to another can also cause air pollution.
- The energy sources used to produce and charge the electric cars must come from somewhere, and if the energy is generated from non-renewable sources such as coal or natural gas, it can contribute to air and water pollution.
While the production of electric cars can cause pollution, the overall environmental impact of electric cars is still lower than that of gas cars. This is because electric cars produce significantly fewer emissions during their operational life, and the emissions from the production process are offset over the life of the car.
ARE ELECTRIC CARS WORTH IT?
Electric cars cost more money to buy, need time to charge, and have a more limited driving range than gas-powered cars, but they are better for the environment, and they are cheaper to maintain. As manufacturers continue to develop the technology, electric calls will become much cheaper, quicker to charge, and have a longer driving range. Eventually, electric cars are likely to become the undisputed best choice.
These cars don’t pollute the air as much as regular cars. We’re trying to make the air cleaner, so that we can prevent global warming.
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