Although the history of electric cars dates as far back as the invention of the internal combustion engine, this transportation option did not become a reliable resource until the 1990s. Part of the reason for this delay was the fact that consumers had 3 different versions of vehicles available from which to choose at the time: steam, electricity, and petroleum.
One of the crucial changes to the electric car industry that promoted its growth in recent years was Elon Musk’s efforts to produce an affordable vehicle for the average household. When their roadster became available in 2008, it was one of the first options available to consumers that could cover over 200 miles on a single battery charge. With the introduction of Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV in Japan, a new market developed.
Other major automakers began to introduce competitive models, with GM’s release of the Chevy Volt, which was a notable addition to the industry. Nissan also introduced the Leaf, giving customers a choice to have a 5-door, all-electric hatchback.
If you are thinking about purchasing a new vehicle soon, then the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars are worth taking into consideration.
List of the Advantages of Electric Cars
1. Electric cars are quiet and competitive with traditional vehicles on the highway.
You only need to ride in an electric vehicle once to understand how this technology improves the quality of the experience. A car powered by an internal combustion engine creates a louder cabin and a rougher drive compared to a battery-powered one. It is an experience that makes the older vehicles seem to be outdated and clunky.
What typically surprises people the most during their first ride or drive in an electric car is the amount of torque it offers. When you step on the accelerator, power is delivered immediately to the wheels. This outcome provides the classic push-you-into-the-seat experience.
2. You can recharge an electric car at home.
An electric vehicle makes it so that you never have to go to a gas station ever again. All you need to do is pull into your garage or driveway, reach for a plug, and push it into the charging inlet. This advantage provides a high level of convenience, and it only takes a few seconds every day to make sure that you have a full charge. That means you know that your vehicle has a range of 200 miles or more every morning when you get going.
Unless you have a long road trip to plan or live in a condominium or apartment complex, this advantage can save you a lot of time and money.
3. Electric vehicles are typically cheaper to operate.
Although the initial cost of an electric car is more than what you would pay for one equipped with an internal combustion engine, most owners find that this new vehicle option is cheaper to operate. The cost per mile to fuel a battery-powered car is about 30% of the price of gasoline when measured on a per capita basis. This benefit is due to the higher efficiency ratings that this technology provides. Because it doesn’t come with an exhaust system or need oil changes, owners will also pay less for maintenance costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.
A conventional car will typically cost drivers up to $2,000 per year to maintain, depending on the fuel costs in your area. The average maintenance cost for an electric vehicle is about $600 per year for a comparable driving distance.
4. You don’t need to worry about tailpipe emissions from an electric car.
Electric vehicles, even when they operate in regions that are highly dependent on coal, have a smaller environmental impact during regular operations when compared to cars with an internal combustion engine. When an area has a stable grid that features a mix of renewable energy solutions, such as wind, solar, or hydropower, the benefits of this technology become quite dramatic.
Although some critics may disagree with this benefit, the lack of a tailpipe on an electric vehicle will still provide a significant advantage by improving the air quality around you.
5. Electric vehicles may provide you with infrastructure benefits.
Several communities across the United States have HOV lanes placed on highways and major arterials. Accessing this faster lane typically requires a carpool or a tolling pass, but you may be able to use it if you own an electric vehicle while driving by yourself. That means you can save time on your daily commute, reduce the cost of your driving to work, and maybe have fewer traffic concerns to manage.
6. This technology offers an enhanced driving experience.
An electric car provides an improved ride that doesn’t offer the same hiccups and delays that occur when a transmission shifts to a new gear. You will feel fewer stalls as a driver because the torque and engagement are immediate with this technology. Because it offers such a powerful experience when you get behind the wheel, these vehicles are highly competitive on today’s roadways if you can afford the initial expense.
7. Competitive leases are available for electric vehicles at most dealerships.
Although the cost of an electric car can be prohibitive for many families, leasing opportunities create a new chance to enjoy the many benefits of this technology. Some of the base models produced by the major automakers are available on terms that start as low as $199. There are long-term options available that allow you to use this technology for 3 to 5 years. You may not gain the benefits of ownership with this advantage, but you will get to start saving money on your maintenance costs every day.
8. Tax incentives are available on most electric vehicles right now.
Depending on where you live and your current income, it is possible to secure up to $10,000 in tax incentives when you purchase an electric car. That means you can offset most, if not all, of the extra costs of this technology when compared to a conventional vehicle. Although some rules apply that limit this benefit to the first 200,000 vehicles produced by each manufacturer, there are still several models available in the United States to consider. You will want to ask your dealership about Form 8936 if you wish to use this advantage.
9. Some electric vehicles may be safer when compared to conventional cars.
Electric vehicles typically use a lithium-ion battery to provide power for the driving experience. These battery packs generally are more massive than an internal combustion engine, drive providing you with a lower center of gravity while on the road. That means you can hug a curve tighter, have a better response in emergency situations, and have better options for cornering.
This benefit includes the noise that your ears pick up while driving. The average internal combustion engine can produce 70 decibels of sound when you have the windows open while on the road at top speeds. Older cars can be above 90 decibels. When you drive an electric vehicle, this issue gets cut in half.
List of the Disadvantages of Electric Cars
1. Electric vehicles come with a limited range.
Range anxiety is an authentic problem for the owners of an electric vehicle. Many of today’s popular cars can only travel up to 300 miles before they need to go through a recharge. Some of the models can only go 125 miles before needing to get plugged into a receptacle. When you are traveling, it can take several hours to restore the mileage that you can obtain, which would extend the amount of time needed to go anywhere that is some distance away.
If you plan to take a long highway road trip, then you must adequately prepare for stops along the way so that you can have access to the recharging stations that you need.
2. It can take a long time to refuel an electric vehicle.
There are plenty of quick-charging mechanisms that are available in numerous communities around the United States that can give you a restoration of your range in about 30 minutes. You would need to have access to a charging point that offers 150 to 350 KW to get that time, and that would allow you to add up to 200 miles of range in about the time it takes to fill up at a gas station.
If you use a standard receptacle to charge an electric vehicle with a 240 Volt source of electricity at home, then you will add about 25 miles of range for every hour it’s connected. A level 1 charger that’s compatible with your electric car will require several hours to give you the full range of the vehicle. Even if you have a level 2 charger, it will take at least 60 minutes to restore your range.
3. Electric vehicles have a higher price tag than traditional models.
Most of today’s electric vehicles are priced in the $40,000 range. That makes it one of the more expensive car options that are available right now for the average family. If you were to purchase a conventional car that uses gasoline, then you could have some luxury options to consider instead of buying only a base model. Although there are incentives for this transaction that can be valued at up to $10,000, the initial outlay of money could be more than what some individuals are willing to pay.
4. There are fewer consumer choices in the electric vehicle market.
The early models of electric cars were mostly compact designs or hybrid sedans. Now that the entire automotive market favors crossovers and SUVs, more models are becoming available with this technology. You can even have a 7-seat option because of the Tesla Model X. Chrysler Pacifica Offers a similar package that can carry the same number of passengers.
Several automakers have set aggressive goals to release at least a dozen new models of electric cars in the coming years. By 2030, there should be at least 1 option available in every segment and category. Although the styles of these vehicles can sometimes be polarizing, it is difficult to ignore the environmental and long-term maintenance benefits that this technology can provide.
5. The availability of charging stations is inconsistent.
As of 2019, the United States had more than 68,000 connectors and 20,000 electric car charging stations that were available to drivers. That means that there is more availability than ever before to increase the range for these vehicles. Although that seems like it would be a benefit, over 30% of the stations are located in California. When you add Florida, Texas, and New York to those figures, then almost half of the stations available to Americans are in those 4 states. A majority of the states still have fewer than 1,000 units.
Tesla Has spent billions of dollars on upgrading its charging network for drivers, and they still don’t have enough stations to support the current demand. That means you might be limited to the amount of time that you can stop add a charger during a single visit. You may not receive the full range that your car can maintain, and partial charges could impact the lifespan of your battery.
6. There are fewer choices available on the market today.
When you compare the number of model choices that are available with an internal combustion engine compared to electric cars, there really isn’t a comparison to make. Even though there are more choices now than there were in the 1990s, it is still a market with severe limitations. Many drivers find themselves forced to compromise on the aesthetics of their cars so that they can support the environment.
7. Some vehicle owners must qualify for the alternative minimum tax.
If you want to take advantage of the financial benefits of ownership with an electric car, then your tax filing must qualify for the AMT. If you are not required to pay the alternative minimum tax, then the offered tax credits for this technology would not apply in your situation. This disadvantage has been in place in the United States since 2010.
If you are in the market to purchase a new car, then you will want to speak with your dealership and your financial advisor to determine if you qualify for that particular incentive.
8. You must eventually replace the batteries in your electric car.
The batteries that give your electric car the power to be on the road will eventually wear out. Although this issue takes several years to develop, the methods that you use to charge them can impact how fast this disadvantage appears for you. If you consistently use quick charging stations because of your commuting responsibilities, then the lifespan of your battery can reduce by up to 10% more over the first five years of ownership. That means your maximum charge will produce less driving range for you to enjoy.
9. There isn’t a standardized plug available in the electric car marketplace.
Different automakers equip their electric cars with a specific plug that you need to use for charging. Even if you connect the vehicle to a quick charging station, the structure of the system must be compatible with the energy that you receive. That means you might only receive 50 kilowatts of electricity as your car charges even though your connection is providing 350 kW. That means you could find yourself paying up to triple the cost of a home connection while only receiving an additional 3 to 5 miles of extra range for every 15 minutes of charging.
10. Driving an electric car is not a zero-emissions option for most owners.
An electric car is supportive of the environment based on how you obtain the energy resources to charge its batteries. If the electricity comes from a coal power plant, then you are still contributing particulates and emissions to the atmosphere indirectly. Although you don’t create more greenhouse gases because these vehicles don’t contain an internal combustion engine, you must be aware of how the local grid obtains power so that you can support the sustainable driving that you want.
Electric cars are a fantastic technology to consider if you are in the market for a new vehicle. It is an excellent option for anyone who wants to reduce their emissions profile and fuel costs while still driving a nice car. Although the upfront costs mean that you must make a more considerable investment with this purchase, the reduction in fuel and maintenance charges can help to offset the long-term expense profile of this technology.
Drivers must be aware of how long it takes their battery to charge when driving a vehicle equipped with electric options. Quick charging stations are available in some communities, but it may take an overnight connection at home to ensure that you have a full range available when you need to go somewhere.
That’s why the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars must receive careful consideration. It is ultimately up to each driver to determine if this kind of vehicle is the correct fit. If you decide that it is, then you can take further steps to reduce your emissions profile by integrating solar panel systems into your charging matrix.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.