The Benefits of Electric Vehicles
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
For those of us who want to do our small part to keep the earth's atmosphere clean, the big question is whether electric vehicles are worth it. The second question is whether to buy a purely electric vehicle, or one that can operate off both gasoline and electricity. Here are some of the things to consider when buying an electric car.
- The most obvious advantage of an electric vehicle is that it is eco-friendly. It emits very little carbon-based gasses into the atmosphere, and thereby helps to slow down global warming and helps to keep the air clean to breathe. The electricity from which the car charges has to be generated somehow, of course, but research shows that nuclear and wind-driven power plants save substantial emissions over what cars with internal combustion engines produce. Interestingly, research also shows that even coal-powered electricity generation, which is the dirtiest available, emits less carbon into the atmosphere than the number of gasoline-based vehicles that we used to drive.
- Over the lifespan of an electric vehicle, it is a bit cheaper than a gasoline-driven car and can be cheaper than even a hybrid. The initial purchase price on an electric is substantially higher than that of a fuel-efficient gasoline or hybrid vehicle; you will be lucky to find one for under $30,000. But an increasing number of Canadian provinces are currently implementing incentive programs whereby you receive a substantial rebate on the purchase price of both the vehicle and its charging station. In some provinces this can be up to a quarter of the vehicle price. With inter-province competition, all provinces will soon have such a program. Moreover, you never have to buy gasoline or oil, and you won't see your electricity bill go up by more than $15 altogether. Other parts of the vehicle, such as brake pads, exhausts and spark plugs don't have to be replaced either. The battery packs that electric vehicles use are expensive of course, but currently they tend to last as long as the vehicle itself and do not have to be replaced.
- Most electric vehicles can drive between 100 and 150 kilometres per charge. The vast majority of our driving is to work and shops close to home, so the vehicle will have to be left plugged in every few nights while not in use which in turn is effortless. Further, many shops, gas stations, and other public spaces now have charging stations, so if you do run out of power, you won't be totally stranded. The more common they become, the more public charging stations will become available.
- Hybrid vehicles do still use gasoline, where electric vehicles do not. This means that hybrids have the same conventional engine parts that have to be replaced, and require oil, brake fluid and anti-freeze. It also means that your contribution to environmental health is smaller.
Think about your impact on the environment the next time you are car shopping, and you might realize you want to invest in an electric car!