Everyone around the world is doing research on the pros and cons of electric cars. Before taking a leap of faith and investing in either a hybrid or electric car, drivers should weigh the pros and cons of owning an electric or hybrid car. Millions of people have discovered there are many pros to owning electric cars. In addition to helping the environment, people who own electric cars can save a tremendous amount of money on gas and car insurance.
The Pros of Owning an Electric or Hybrid Car
– Electric Cars Can Help Save the Environment –
One of the main benefits of going green and purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle is that these cars help the environment in so many ways. In addition to reducing our dependence on fuel, these vehicles also help decrease pollution levels everywhere.
– Electric and Hybrid Cars Help People Save Money on Gas –
Another benefit of owning an electric car is that these cars help people save money on fuel. Whether you purchase an electric or hybrid car, these vehicles help people save a significant amount of money on fuel each year.
– Owners of Hybrid and Electric Cars Save Money on Car Insurance –
In addition to saving money on gas, people who purchase either an electric or hybrid car will also save money on car insurance. Insurance companies always extend additional savings to people who own electric and hybrid cars because owners of hybrids and electric cars are considered a better risk than owners of traditional cars.
The Cons of Owning an Electric or Hybrid Car
Even with all the benefits of owning an electric or hybrid car, there are some cons that should be considered.
– Electric and Hybrid Cars Can Only be Driven Short Distances –
One of the major drawbacks of owning an electric or hybrid car is that these cars can only be operated for very short distances before their battery needs to be recharged. For people who drive their car a lot each day, buying an electric or hybrid car may not be the best choice. Since these vehicles need recharging frequently, people may find recharging their vehicle extremely inconvenient. This is especially true for people who have to use their cars throughout the day and do not have access to a place where they can charge their electric or hybrid car conveniently.
– Electric and Hybrid Cars Are Costly to Maintain and Repair –
Although hybrids and electric cars help owners save money on fuel and car insurance, people who own electric and hybrid cars may find that owning a green car is actually more costly to maintain and repair than a traditional car. Since hybrid and electric cars are in a class of their own, owners may wind up paying more on repairs and maintenance because not every mechanic is trained to repair and maintain hybrid and electric cars.
– Electric and Hybrid Car Battery Replacement May be Costly –
In addition to the cost of maintaining and repairing an electric and hybrid car, prospective owners need to factor in all the additional costs of owning a hybrid or electric car. Since hybrid and electric car batteries have a limited shelf life, owners need to factor the cost of replacing these batteries into their overall cost of owning an electric and hybrid vehicle.
– Electric and Hybrid Cars Damage the Environment in Other Ways –
In addition to the cost of replacing hybrid and electric car batteries, environmentalists are also concerned about how much damage hybrid and electric car battery disposal will have on the environment. Even though these car batteries can be recycled, millions of these batteries will be thrown out around the world each year. While hybrid and electric cars are definitely a great way to reduce harmful emissions and control pollution, owning an electric or hybrid car can have a harmful impact on the environment.
When considering the pros and cons of electric cars, it is clear that there are some major advantages and disadvantages of owning hybrid and electric cars. At the end, if these cars help people save a tremendous amount of money and help the environment, the pros of owning a hybrid or electric car will outweigh all of the cons.Electric Vehicle Buyer´s Guide
Electric Vehicle Buyer´s Guide
The Electric Vehicle Buyer’s Guide can help you to avoid costly mistakes when buying your first green car. Many consumers are unfamiliar with the specifics of green cars, so deciding which one to purchase can be challenging. This guide will help you understand more about electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and when it comes time to selecting one, you’ll know what to look for, know the right questions to ask, and how to determine the right car for you. By reading this guide, you’ll learn the characteristics of green cars and be better informed when considering different cars and models. With this knowledge, you’ll purchase a car that you’ll enjoy for years to come. To go to the Electric Vehicle Buyer´s guide click here.
How Green are E-Vehicles? Electric Mobility is Still in its InfancyHow Green are E-Vehicles?
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic must make their transport sectors cleaner and more sustainable in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With 1,590 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year emitted in the U.S., 145 million tons in Germany, and 5,470 million tons worldwide, transportation is one of the major contributors to global warming. In relative numbers, cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains etc. generate a third of the United States’, 17 percent of Germany’s and 23 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
There are multiple ways to reduce the sector’s emissions, such as encouraging people to use public transportation, convincing industry to switch from road to rail, or by making current transportation technologies and fuels less polluting. Regarding the latter, the efficiency of petroleum-based engines in cars has improved considerably, particularly in periods of high oil prices such as 1975-1987 and the last few years. However, in the future it is a new technology, electric vehicles, that is seen as the route to a low-carbon transportation system. If charged with electricity from renewable energy, these cars have the potential to make individual transportation almost carbon-free.
Yet in 2011 there are few electric cars on the road. A look into most car manufacturers’ showrooms reveals that they are either not yet available or hardly affordable. Thus, what environmental benefit can we really expect from e-mobility? What is the current status of electric vehicle technology, and when will we be able to buy these cars?
The event “Opportunities and Challenges: The Future of E-mobility in Germany and the US,” hosted by the German Embassy and The Representative of German Industry and Trade in late March in Washington D.C., aimed at providing answers to these questions. Panelists from the automobile and energy industries and German and US policy-makers offered insight into the progress electric car technology is making and the policies currently in place to support e-mobility. They also discussed some of the key barriers to the further advancement of e-vehicles and their dissemination.
The German and U.S. governments both have public incentives to promote the dissemination of electric vehicles. Germany has allocated EUR500 billion for the next ten years and created a National Development Plan with the aim to transform the country into the leading market for electric cars with 1 million e-vehicles by 2020. The United States is even more ambitious, planning to have 1 million e-cars on its roads by 2015. The U.S. goal is backed by a bundle of grants, loans and other incentives worth several billion dollars, and available to the car industry and other customers.
Despite of all the past and future investment, however, electric car technology is still in its infancy. As a BMW representative reported, his company is at the moment only conducting field testing with some 450 cars in the U.S. and a smaller additional fleet in Europe. Most other automobile manufacturers are still testing prototypes and do not plan to release their first electric cars for a few years. Nissan, one of the front-runners, released its first mid-size electric car, the LEAF, in late 2010. Some other manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi or Th!nk Global, offer small-size e-cars.
Problems with batteries are mentioned as the main reason for the slow diffusion of e-cars, as they cannot store enough energy to allow for long distance trips. As a result, without improvements in battery technologymanufacturers would need to rely on additional batteries which make the car heavier, less efficient, more expensive – and thus not market-ready. Also, a lack of standardization among car manufacturers and countries are causing problems when it comes to infrastructure such as charging stations. This is particularly acute in Europe, where only little cooperation in the area of e-mobility exists between EU member states. The industry claims that improvements in technology are developing quickly and that costs will decrease soon as well. Some car manufacturers promise that they will be able to deliver e-cars to market in the near future.
However there is another important issue that needs to be addressed – one which seems to be hardly discussed, and when so, only reluctantly: the environmental aspect of e-vehicles. While e-vehicles do not emit pollutants and other greenhouse gases themselves, they are not necessarily environmentally friendlier than conventional, petroleum-powered cars. If exclusively charged with electricity from fossil-fuels, for instance, electric automobiles generate a comparably high amount of CO2 emissions to that of those running on oil. In some cases, their climate performance can be even worse – caused by energy losses in electricity production, transmission and conversion – and an energy-mix dominated by coal.
Although e-vehicles can be somewhat less polluting than conventional cars if they are charged with electricity from a well-balanced mix of sources, only by utilizing electricity from renewable energy will e-vehicles significantly lower CO2 emissions. Otherwise transport emissions are simply shifted to the power sector. Therefore, stronger cooperation between the car industry and the electricity industry, policies that foster renewable energy in the national energy mixes, and the availability of 100 percent renewable electricity plans to e-vehicles drivers are necessary components to really make e-vehicles “green vehicles.” E-mobility then can not only be a fashionable trend but a real and sustainable solution for clean transportation.Measuring the Green Value of Electric Vehicles
Measuring the Green Value of Electric Vehicles
A question that may not receive the attention it merits is the true environmental value of an electric vehicle (EV)–namely, the carbon and climate impacts of an EV over the course of its full lifecycle. Could it be the case that hybrid vehicles–widely considered a transitional technology to full-fledged EVs–may in fact have less of a carbon footprint? This question has important implications for consumers, auto manufacturers, and policy makers, particularly at a time when hybrid sales continue to rise while those of EVs have not grown as quickly as once anticipated, and for broader debates about whether or not public incentives to encourage EV are effective.
The answer to this question may be more context-dependent than at first glance. Taking into account the “what” and “how” of the EV and its manufacturing process, and how the vehicle is used (long distance versus short distance drives), another important factor is the “where”: where the vehicle is used, and how the electricity powering it is generated.
A new report by the organization Climate Central tackles this question, examining at a state-by-state level the carbon footprints and climate impact of EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, and gas-powered hybrids. In particular, the study focuses on three major criteria: where you live (and the carbon-intensity of the electricity source); how far you drive (which incorporates both the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process as well as that incurred in driving the vehicle); and what you drive (as every EV and hybrid on the market have different levels of efficiency in converting energy into mileage).
The answers to these questions depend significantly (though not exclusively) on the sources of the electricity powering the vehicle in any given location. For example, the report found that in 11 states, the best EVs had less of a climate impact than any gasoline-powered hybrid vehicles. A characteristic shared by these states is an electricity grid reliant on hydro power (e.g. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) and/or nuclear power (e.g. Vermont), along with renewable resources. In 18 states (including several heavily dependent on coal for electricity), gasoline-powered hybrid vehicles were more climate-friendly than EVs.
It is noteworthy that these figures are dynamic in nature–and changing as new, cleaner energy sources become more widely used and vehicle technologies continue to mature. For example, the report found that, between 2010 and 2012, the reduction of the carbon footprint of electricity generation (such as through the increase of natural gas and decrease of coal) doubled the number of states from 13 to 32 where EV’s had less of a climate impact than gasoline-powered vehicles. These shifts also changed where certain types of EVs performed more effectively than others in producing fewer emissions. For example, driving an all-electric Nissan Leaf was found to generate fewer emissions (excluding manufacturing emissions) than a hybrid Toyota Prius in 32 states in 2012. At the same time, when total lifecycle emissions (including manufacturing) are considered, this number drops to 13 states. It also found that no EV currently on the market outperformed a gasoline-powered hybrid vehicle in having a lower climate impact over a 50,000 mile driving lifetime, and that over 100,000 miles EVs only outperformed gas-powered hybrid vehicles in four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Vermont.
What are the implications? One is that the green “value” of an EV rises where the electricity grid is also green. Where EVs perform best, their numbers are spectacular. Not all states have the hydro power resources of some of the best performers, and the future of nuclear energy (also a contributing factor for some states that rate highly) is uncertain. On the other hand, the rising use of natural gas and renewables appears to be greening the grid in some states, thus improving the environmental value of EVs. A second consideration is that improved EV technologies that more efficiently convert electricity into mileage, and more energy and resource-efficient manufacturing processes, will also increase the green quotient of EVs. Though offering somewhat sobering findings of EV performance, this report and its holistic approach are a valuable resource for benchmarking and considering broader strategies for tackling climate challenges.
Top Fuel Efficient Electric Vehicle on EPA’s List?Top Fuel Efficient Electric Vehicle on EPA’s List?
The what? Mitsubishi might have chosen a name that is a little easier to remember; that aside, I guess they are hoping the efficiency of the car makes it memorable.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s 2012 Fuel Economy Guide, North American-spec i-MiEV an all-electric vehicle (EV) produced by Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA), has been named the most fuel-efficient EV. MMNA is responsible for manufacturing and marketing operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. Fleet and retail customer deliveries in the U.S. began in December 2011.
The yearly Fuel Economy Guide features information relating to the fuel economies of automobiles in the US market, providing fuel economy rankings as well as information on the fuel economy labels required on window stickers at dealerships. The North American-spec i-MiEV drives 112 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in combined city and highway driving, 126 MPGe in the city, and 99 MPGe on the highway.
Norwegian Study Environmental Impact of Electric VehiclesNorwegian Study Environmental Impact of Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been accepted as greener alternatives to traditional vehicles, but since EV technology is so new, their comparative environmental impact is not fully understood. In an attempt to shed light on this issue, a study from Norway set out to compare the life cycle analysis (that is, production, use, and end of life impacts) of EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), as directly as possible. Their results have sparked debate over the idea of “problem shifting” and the rationality of widely promoting EV technology.
Production: The authors estimate that during production, EVs produce approximately twice the amount of greenhouse gases compared to ICEVs. Battery production (35-41 percent) and powertrain components (16-18 percent) account for the majority of this increase. It would therefore be very detrimental to replace the batteries in an EV. Human toxicity potential (HTP) is another startling area for EVs. Depending on the type of batteries used, the authors estimate that EV production causes between 180 and 290 percent greater HTP—the biggest sources of which can include copper, nickel, and other mining practices throughout the battery production process. The authors note, however, that significant efficiencies are likely to be found given the rapid expansion of the industry.
Use: One of the main criticisms of EVs is that they are only as green as their source of electricity. While this is true to a large extent, the study found that, assuming a 150,000km (93,000 mile) lifetime, EVs have lower global warming potential (GWP) than gasoline vehicles by roughly 27 percent if powered by coal, 22 percent if powered by “average” European electricity, and 12 percent for natural gas. The study also adjusted GWP reductions based on vehicle lifetimes of 100,000km (9-14 percent) and 200,000km (28 percent) for “average” European electricity. Under more extreme scenarios, the authors estimate that wind power would lead to a “life cycle carbon footprint” of just 106g of carbon dioxide per kilometer, whereas using electricity produced by lignite would lead to 352g of carbon dioxide per kilometer. This means that if you added the carbon dioxide produced in all 3 life cycle phases of an electric vehicle and divided it into its lifetime mileage (resulting in 106g per kilometer), it would be lower than the carbon dioxide level of 130g per kilometer mandated by the European Union in 2009 for all new vehicles. If an EV is running on lignite, however, the study says it would be much higher than ICEVs.
End of Life: Surprisingly, the study found that end-of-life treatment, which includes material recovery and disposal, adds only a small contribution across the impact categories.
Though some have criticized the study as being biased against EVs, it nonetheless offers a thought-provoking life cycle analysis of EVs and ICEVs. The authors conclude that while EV technology is a crucial component in reducing vehicles’ footprints, it cannot be “harnessed everywhere and in every condition.” So, is your EV greener than a traditional vehicle? Almost certainly, but just be mindful of where you’re filling up.