A true electric car is a car powered by electric motors. The electricity is house in batteries which are recharged when plugged into a mains supply. The cars tend to have strong acceleration as the power is consistently available.

Surprisingly electric cars were first used in the 1880’s and were a popular choice of transport into the early 20th century. At this point the gasoline powered car became a viable option for most families and the electric car was regulated to history. A brief resurgence happened in the 1970’s and 1980’s due to the energy crisis of that period.

Technology has now improved so much that the batteries and power management systems available today would be unrecognizable to those of the 1970’s. This new technology, combined with environmental concerns and amount of oil resource left has brought a renewed interest in the electric car. Since 2008 there have been several mass produced electric cars. There are now incentives offered by the government for those who purchase these cars.

Electric cars are far better for the environment having zero emissions but there are limitations as to their use and practicalities.

Is An Electric Car A Viable Option For Personal Transport

The Downsides

  • Currently most models are able to do around 80 miles on one charge. This may be useful for commuters but of very little assistance should you wish to go across state lines. These vehicles also tend to be for cruising at low speeds and are not going to have the power needed on those larger roads.
  • Recharging an electric automobile takes time. Many models take up to eight hours to charge. There has not yet been a quick charger designed to enable short stops before continuing a journey. There may not even be enough time to fully charge the car if you have a late night followed by an early morning.
  • The cost of recharging is not yet really known. Having a car plugged into your electricity all night will have a cost. There are unanswered questions regarding the cost of this to the consumer and how much it affects the saving in gasoline purchases.
  • An electric car costs significantly more than its gasoline counterpart. Knowing that you are helping the environment may not be enough to justify or to be able to afford the additional price tag.
  • The silence! This is actually a downside in an increasingly hectic world. People are busy and wrapped up in their own concerns. Subconsciously they will be aware of vehicles nearby due to the engine noise. If there is no engine noise there is a real risk of people walking out in front of the car
  • Batteries are expensive. Electric cars have several high powered batteries which should last between three and ten years. To replace the batteries can be nearly as expensive as purchasing a new car and not something anyone would want to do too often.
  • Many of these cars are currently only available with two seats. This might make the school run a little awkward. Two seats help to keep the size of the car down to enable them to travel further and faster on one charge.
  • Charge points are not readily available yet. Unless you can drive where you want to and back in one go you may not be able to use the car. This is because the amount of charging points available currently is very low.

The Upside

  • Owners will never have to buy gasoline again! It won’t matter if oil prices go up and so does the cost of gasoline because you simply don’t need it.
  • There are a variety of incentives provided by the government to those who purchase electric cars and are making an effort to reduce emissions. These can seriously reduce the price tag of the automobile.
  • There is very little maintenance to do on an electric motor. With limited moving parts there is no need for lubrication. There are also a limited amount of parts to be fixed or replaced. Repairs and servicing will be occasional expenses and not regular occurrences as with gasoline vehicles.
  • Driving an electric vehicle is good for pollution levels. There are no emissions to harm the environment and no noise pollution to annoy your neighbors.

Viability

There is no simple answer to this question as there are so many factors involved. Anyone considering purchasing an electric car will need to look at their own personal situation and balance their needs against the above list of pros and cons. A small electric car will probably save its owner money provided they never need to travel too far. Having a second car in the garage for those longer trips is not an option for most people.

The Future

Electric car development has come along in leaps and bounds over the last few years and there are no many parties who want this technology to succeed. This will ensure continuing research and development. Several manufacturers are already looking at how to create an electric car with a two to four hundred mile range. This would certainly influence the decision of many drivers.

The cost of new cars will be driven down as new technologies become available and there is even more interest in the technology. Consumer demand will also play a part, the more mass produced electric automobiles there are the cheaper the manufacturing costs will be.

There are several other options being researched and developed at present but they also all have advantages and disadvantages. Many of the alternatives are hybrids having electric and gasoline engines. Ultimately the trend is to move away from oil as a fuel source which will push manufacturers into electric vehicles, hydrogen or some new technology which is yet to be developed.

The amount of electric vehicles now on the market, the increasing sales and the continuing research will ensure that there is a future for these types of cars. The question is whether it is beneficial to your lifestyle now or in the future.

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