The Electric Car Debate

September 29, 2011 / 2 Comments

Everybody wants to do their bit for the environment. Switching from a conventional to an electric car is one way to make a difference. But is it a viable option right now? Here are some pros and cons of electric cars that can help you make an informed decision.

electric car The Electric Car Debate

The Pros of Electric Cars

(1) Efficiency of Energy: Electric cars only lose 10-20% of the energy produced by their engines. Compare that to the staggering 80% energy loss of standard combustion engines and the energy efficiency of electric cars is obvious.

(2) Zero CO2 Emissions: Electric cars can help reduce the planet’s carbon footprint. They produce no CO2 or nitrous oxide omissions, unlike standard cars which are a major cause of global warming.

(3) Renewable Energy: To truly be zero emission electric cars must be recharged from a power point that derives its electricity from a renewable source. However, even when recharged from non-renewable sources, electric cars still slice CO2 amounts in half when compared to standard cars.

(4)Far Healthier: Anyone who has walked through Tokyo or LA can testify to the malevolence of smog from standard car engines. Diesel and petrol exhaust fumes contain dangerous chemicals which are extremely unhealthy for people and the planet. Electric cars emit no harmful chemicals.

(5) Reduced Noise: Electric cars are extremely quiet, meaning they could play an important role in reducing the levels of noise pollution in busy city centres.

(6) Cost of Fuel: Alongside the environmental benefits, electric cars drastically reduce fuel costs. Petrol prices keep on rising, whereas fully recharging an electric car’s battery costs about the same as a pint of milk.

(7) Other Financial Savings: There are many incentive schemes such as free charging bays and reduced parking costs operating in some cities. Also, electric car drivers avoid having to pay road tax or the London congestion charge.

The Cons of Electric Cars

(1) The Batteries: At the moment the batteries for electric cars are quite expensive. They also need replacing after a certain number of recharges. This means owning an electric car is currently quite costly.

(2) Recharging Time: Electric car batteries can take a total of 8 hours to fully charge. This means longer trips and weekly recharging will have to be carefully planned and scheduled.

(3) Upfront Costs: At the moment the upfront cost of buying a new electric car is quite expensive when compared to standard car costs.

(4) Car Performance: Electric cars are not for flash drivers who cherish speed and showy performance levels. Average electric cars have a maximum speed of around 50-55 miles, which is perfectly adequate for city drivers. However, there are issues with hills too, which can be a drain on the battery which affects overall performance levels.

(5) Travelling Distance: This is a major issue. At the moment, electric cars can only manage between 50 to 100 miles before needing a recharge. This means long drives are a real problem, particularly as the current infrastructure means you can’t be sure there will be a recharge point near you when required.

(6) Style: Many would say this shouldn’t be an issue. This is about being green and doing what we can to save the environment. That’s true, but less ethical drivers might be put off with the different aesthetic of an electric car.

(7) Current Infrastructure: In short, the current infrastructure in the UK needs to be improved a great deal. If you live in London you are fine, but for longer journeys far more charging points need to be set up nationally. But when will this become a reality?

This is a guest post from our friends at Vroom Vroom Vroom, a UK car rental comparison site.