Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
This article has been updated for 2019.
Electric cars are becoming increasingly mainstream and they’re getting better and smarter in terms of tech and fuel economy.
Last year was the best year on record for electric vehicle sales. Almost 200,000 electric cars found a home somewhere in the U.S. and with more automakers offering electric cars, we can expect sales to keep growing.
As with any alternative to the gasoline-fueled vehicles, there are both clear benefits and a few shortcomings. Here are some pros and cons of electric cars:
Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
Gentler on the Environment: Driving an electric car means you will be driving a vehicle that produces zero emissions. With the impact of global warming becoming larger by the day, you would be doing your part in ensuring a cleaner environment for everyone and also creating a less polluted world for future generations to come. EVs also run silently, so there’s also less noise pollution.
Less Wear and Tear: Electric vehicles are propelled by batteries and do not require a mechanical engine to run. In addition, all the other mechanical trappings that come with an internal combustion engine are not needed in an electric car. This eliminates costs associated with things like spark plugs, oil filters, certain pumps, valves, and other associated engine components that can increase long-term costs. Battery maintenance is would be an EV driver’s main concern.
Ideal for Urban Driving: For city dwellers, stop-and-go driving is a norm. Gas-powered cars perform more efficiently on the highway, but electric vehicles excel in city driving. If you live in the city, having an electric car makes a lot of sense. Some shopping malls, offices, and stores also offer preferred parking spots for EVs and, in some areas, EVs get to use the HOV or carpool lanes on the highway.
Save on Fuel Costs: It costs less to run a car on electricity than it is to on fuel. The cost per mile of running on electricity is significantly less than with gas and you can easily charge your vehicle right in the comfort of your own home without needing to visit a station of any kind. Many workplaces and shopping centers also offer free charging.
ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Home EV Chargers
Driving Dynamics: One of the less-talked-about benefits of EVs are their surprisingly fun driving dynamics. With instant torque, EVs can be super quick passing and off the line, and acceleration can be giggle-inducing. Of course, driving with the accelerator mashed at all times will negatively impact your range, but the acceleration EVs can offer is fast and super fun. Also, many EVs have their batteries stored low and sometimes, they’re bolted right onto the chassis, so EVs have a low center of gravity and a stiff chassis that helps how they handle. Many EVs also offer “one-pedal driving” that uses the regenerative brakes to help slow the car and recharge the car’s batteries. With one-pedal driving, you often don’t even need to use the brake pedal — you just let off the accelerator and the car slows down quite aggressively.
Unique Storage Solutions: Because of there’s no engine or real transmission, and because the batteries are usually stored down low and out of the way, EVs often have unique storage solutions like larger trunks, front trunks or “frunks,” and big storage cubbies inside.
Infrastructure Limitations for Charging Stations: One of the major problems that plague electric car owners is the ability to easily charge a vehicle in rural areas. Long road trips will be a challenge to plan out and rural areas don’t have as many charging stations as cities do. This also poses a problem for condo/apartment dwellers in cities who don’t have access to at-home charging. The lack of easily accessible charging areas and the resulting range anxiety can make driving an electric car quite stressful.
Inconsistent Range Issues: Every electric car has an estimated total driving range set by the manufacturer and the government, but that figure is notoriously difficult to achieve in real-world driving conditions. The official range was achieved by an expert driver with immense patience and in perfect conditions that don’t reflect what drivers encounter in the real world. Weather, for example, plays a big role in driving range: In cold weather, the range can drop by as much as 40 percent. EVs might not be the most logical choice for people who have to deal with cold winters. Also, EVs perform better when a gentle touch is used – heavy-footed drivers will get far less range.
Total Range Still Limiting: Even with the best-in-segment 335 miles of total range offered by Tesla’s Model S 100D, that figure still does not compare to the total range offered for a typical gasoline four-cylinder vehicle on a full tank of gas, which averages around 370 miles. Apart from that Tesla, the rest of the electric car segment all have a range between 100 to 278 miles on a full charge, making the prospect of driving an electric car for day-to-day activities daunting and possibly problematic. Most people don’t need that much range, however, with the average commuter driving about 30 miles a day.
Can Be Quite Pricey: Electric vehicles can still demand a price premium over comparable gas vehicles. Although there are several government rebates and tax credit discounts available to consumers, the initial above average asking price for an electric vehicle may be out of reach for the typical buyer looking for some value in their vehicle purchase. Some EVs also depreciate quickly, but others, like Teslas, hold their value well.
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