EVs, as electric vehicles are referred to in the automobile industry, are regarded by many to be the future of driving. One need only look at ever skyrocketing gas prices in order to get excited about an alternative to the internal combustion engine. Even the U.S. government is touting electric vehicles as the wave of the future. Not only has President Obama pledged to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, but government subsidies exist for the EVs of today. On the Atlantic Coast of the U.S., for example, legislation has been introduced by Congress that would provide tax credits for New Jersey residents who open charging stations. Not only that, but a section of Highway 5 in Oregon has opened that specifically caters to electric vehicles.
But despite all the buzz and hype surrounding electric vehicles, most people don’t know very much about them. It’s this lack of knowledge that leads to a lot of skepticism about EVs. Understanding the facts about electric vehicles not only helps consumers make informed decisions, but can also give an idea of how big a role these EVs will play on the global stage in the future.
Electric Vehicles Produce Less CO2 Emissions
Those who are skeptical of electric vehicles often cite the fact EVs are provided with electricity from coal-fueled power plants. While this is accurate, all electric vehicles on the market produce substantially less C02 emissions than conventional gas vehicles. Not only that, but a 2007 study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (USA) looked at nine different impact scenarios in their attempt to decipher the impact of electric vehicle use through 2050. The result? In each scenario greenhouse gasses were found to be “significantly reduced.”
There is a Market for Electric Vehicles
Despite opinions by some that Americans as a whole won’t embrace electric vehicles, sales of EVs in 2011 were quite a bit higher than first-year hybrid sales. The study, published in the Rocky Mountain Institute, states that the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf enjoyed combined sales of 17,345 in 2011. This figure is almost twice as much as the 9,350 hybrid vehicles that were sold in 2000.
The Range of EVs is Sufficient for Many Drivers
It’s true that one of the primary drawbacks to electric vehicles is they simply can’t travel the distances conventional gas vehicles and hybrids can. But taking into account that, according to a 2009 survey by the Federal Highway Administration of the United States, the average driver travels 29 miles per day. And even with the average Leaf driver averaging 37 miles of travel per day, electric vehicles’ 40-mile range before recharging is sufficient for most drivers. Another common trend with EV owners is using the electric vehicle for day-to-day use while using another vehicle, such as a hybrid, specifically for long-distance travel.
EV Batteris are Less Harmful to the Environment than Most Other Batteries
Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, like those found in cellular phones. And like batteries found in cellular phones, EV batteries can be recycled. Auto companies throughout the world have begun investing in infrastructure to handle the flow of depleted electric vehicle batteries. Also, EV batteries are far better for the environment than the standard lead-acid batteries found in conventional automobiles because EV batteries don’t contain toxic metals. On top of that, few EV batteries will end up in a landfill because many of their internal components, such as nickel and cobalt, are too valuable to discard.
So what do these facts mean for EVs down the line? Projections have been made that electric vehicles will make up a significant portion of the auto market in Europe and Asia by 2025. In China, where citizens are required to participate in a lottery system in order to obtain registration plates for conventional vehicles, electric vehicle are beginning to be viewed as a convenient alternative. To this end, sales in China of EVs are expected to skyrocket in the coming years. As for future prospects for electric vehicles the U.S., it remains to be seen if these automobiles will enjoy the popularity of hybrid vehicles, or if perceived negatives will prevent them from thriving in the marketplace.[hr]
This is a guest article by George Zeed who lives in Grants Pass, Oregon and works for Impact Battery. He is an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist, who writes about topics related to all kinds of recreational vehicles and accessories. He is also the “go to guy” for information when shopping for a great selection of motorcycle batteries that can be found at www.impactbattery.com
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