Pros & Cons of Electric Cars - Everything you Need to Know
Updated: Dec 6, 2023
In the grand orchestration of global transportation, a staggering ensemble of approximately 1.47 billion vehicles fuels our interconnected world's movements. Among this vast automotive choir, a silent revolution is stirring—the electric car. Amidst the roar of engines and the pulse of combustion, these eco-conscious vehicles have begun to carve their distinctive melody. As they weave into the fabric of our transport landscape, they offer a promising rhythm, promising a more harmonious future while confronting challenges in this symphony of modern mobility. Join me as we dive into the pros and cons of electric cars to see if they can live up to their promises.
Pros of Electic Cars
Electric cars: where eco-friendliness meets innovation. They're the silent champions of cleaner air, cost savings, and futuristic tech. Join the ride as we explore their symphony of advantages.
In the landscape of transportation, electric cars emerge not just as a futuristic marvel but as a tangible solution to our planet's environmental woes. Powered by Li-ion batteries, omnipresent in our daily electronics, these vehicles champion the charge toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their lower carbon footprint, a stark contrast to the emissions spewed by conventional vehicles, paints a promising picture for our planet's health. With each electric mile driven, these cars whisper through streets, leaving behind not just the absence of noise but also a considerably lighter ecological burden. They symbolize a pivotal shift toward cleaner air and a sustainable future, where the notion of transportation seamlessly intertwines with environmental responsibility, steering us toward a world where our journeys leave behind little more than tire tracks on the road.
Electric cars aren't just revolutionizing the way we drive; they're reshaping the economics of owning a vehicle. While the upfront costs of an electric vehicle may be higher compared to a gas-powered car, the fuel expenses are where an electric car wins in the long run. The price of a fully charged car battery ranges from $0 (when you use the solar power from the panels on your rooftop) to over $50 when you fast charge along the highway. In this calculation, we use $25 for a full charge as this is the average.
The average electric vehicle will get you about 400km (250 miles). This will differ per vehicle, road conditions, and driver but it is a good average. So, the cost per km is about driving with an electric car is: 25/400= $0,06 per km.
A full tank on a gasoline car will set you back: 60L(13.5 gallons) x per Liter = $56,40 which lets you drive about 725 km (450 miles) on average. So each km will set you back about $56,40/725=$0,078. Which is considerably higher compared to an electric vehicle
Plus, many governments offer enticing incentives, slashing purchase prices or providing tax credits, making the transition to an electric vehicle an increasingly cost-effective choice. Imagine redirecting those saved dollars toward adventures instead of fuel – that's the electric promise, redefining affordability without compromising on performance or style.
Electric cars offer a paradigm shift in performance, marked by instantaneous torque delivery and seamless acceleration. Unlike traditional internal combustion engine vehicles that require gear shifts and RPM build-up, electric vehicles provide immediate power, resulting in swift and smooth acceleration from a standstill. This attribute not only enhances the driving experience but also offers a responsive and dynamic feel on the road. Furthermore, electric motors deliver consistent torque across a wide range of speeds, ensuring a consistent and powerful driving experience regardless of the vehicle's velocity. Overall, the inherent design of electric motors elevates the performance standards, offering drivers an exhilarating and agile ride.
Electric cars boast unparalleled efficiency, marked by their ability to convert a significantly higher percentage of stored energy from their batteries into actual movement compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
Whereas an electric vehicle needs about 0,225KWh/km on average. A gasoline-powered car is much less efficient as a lot of the gasoline is turned into heat and is therefore lost energy. Even though a liter of gasoline equals about 9.5KWh of energy, about 30% of it is lost as heat. So each liter will only result in 9,5x0,7= 6,65KWh per liter of gasoline. The average car drives about 13km on a liter of gasoline so 6,65/13= 0,511KWh/km
Moreover, their regenerative braking systems capture and convert kinetic energy back into the battery when slowing down or braking, further enhancing efficiency. This inherent efficiency not only extends the vehicle's range but also translates to lower energy consumption per mile, contributing to reduced operational costs and a more sustainable mode of transportation.
Electric cars have revolutionized the automotive industry with their integration of cutting-edge technological advancements. These vehicles embody the pinnacle of innovation, seamlessly incorporating smart features and connectivity. Through sophisticated software updates, electric cars continually evolve, offering drivers an enhanced and personalized driving experience. From intuitive infotainment systems to advanced driver-assistance features, such as autonomous driving capabilities and intelligent energy management, electric vehicles not only redefine transportation but also pave the way for a more interconnected and technologically advanced future on the roads.
Cons of Electic Cars
While the rise of electric cars heralds a promising shift towards sustainable transportation, their adoption isn't without its challenges. As with any emerging technology, electric vehicles come with a set of drawbacks that potential buyers and enthusiasts should consider. From concerns regarding charging infrastructure to limitations in range and battery longevity, exploring the cons of electric cars provides a balanced perspective crucial for informed decision-making in the transition towards eco-friendly transportation.
The biggest disadvantage of an electric car is for the environment even though you may initially think the opposite. The production of batteries for your electric car is not as green as you might hope. Electric cars require a large lithium-ion battery as their energy source. Lithium-ion batteries are chosen as these are very energy efficient however, they are not very environmentally friendly to produce. The indigenous communities living near lithium mines in Chili and Argentina are not properly informed about mining projects on their lands. They are given insufficient information about the potential impacts it may have on their water sources as mining lithium is very water-intensive. The Andes mountains are a very dry land area, but the extraction process of lithium requires water 500,000 gallons of water per ton of lithium. In some other regions in Chile, 65 percent of the available water is used up in the production of lithium. The lithium brine then requires 12 to 18 months to evaporate. Any water returned to the farmers (that use the water for the country's food production) could be tainted with chemicals. This lengthy evaporation process of the lithium brine can be sped up by heating the water resulting in faster evaporation. However, this process requires the burning of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, with increasing demand, the desire for faster and cheaper production of lithium may outweigh the environmental impacts.
Human right violations
The batteries for electric cars require, next to the previously discussed lithium, cobalt. Cobalt, which was traditionally mined as a by-product of nickel and copper, is now up in demand against a limited supply. Most cobalt mines can be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to UNICEF, in 2014 about 40.000 children were working in cobalt mines across the DRC. Next to child and slave labor, people are exposed to toxic waste leakage and radioactivity in the cobalt mins which is again a great disadvantage of electric cars.
Even though it is claimed that lithium-ion batteries can be 95% recyclable, the reality is, it is more easily said than done. Lithium-ion batteries undergo irreversible changes during their lifespan. Meaning that they can’t be recycled anymore but they need to be completely taken apart, the lithium extracted, and then re-manufactured. This isn’t a simple process. Battery manufacturers incorporate several chemicals into the battery to speed up the manufacturing process or increase durability. These used chemicals different per company and are company secret making it difficult (labor-intensive) and therefore expensive to repurpose. Moreover, this chemical mixture has been known to explode when handled incorrectly. Because of these difficulties, only 5% of the lithium batteries are recycled while the rest ends up in landfills.
Electric cars are more expensive
While an electric car may be more economical in maintenance, when you are on the market for a new electric car, it certainly isn’t. Electric cars look very similar to regular gasoline-powered cars the big difference is the battery. This is also what makes a car expensive. The battery in a car is very large to make sure you can drive a decent mileage but this comes with a hefty price tag. As such a large battery costs anywhere between $6.000 and $20.000 (depending on the model) you can expect to this much for a new electric car compared to a gasoline-fueled one making it another great disadvantage for electric cars.
Even though electric cars may be cheaper to drive, they are more expensive to purchase and insurance is higher as well. This is again due to the large battery that is very costly to replace.
Price of electricity
It is no secret that the price of gasoline has increased significantly over the past year (especially in Europe). This makes the use of an electric car even more attractive but don’t forget that electricity is not free. Also, the price of electricity is increasing and an electric car requires a lot of it. So, when using an electric car you can expect to see an increase in your electric bill.
Loss of value
According to Forbes, an electric car will lose about $5,700 of its value over the first 5 years of ownership. This is considerably higher compared to the value loss of a gasoline-powered car.
The battery of an electric car is what drives the car. The entire vehicle is designed around this massive battery. It is the most expensive part of the entire car. Most electric cars come with a warranty that is usually 8 years or about 100k miles. This may sound like a great deal but you have to keep in mind that the average car is on the road for about 12 years. This may indicate that you need to replace the battery of your electric car at some point in its lifecycle. As your car loses value over time, the costs of replacing the battery may be even higher than what the vehicle is worth. As mentioned before, the battery for an electric car can set you back somewhere between $6.000 and $20.000 (depending on the model) so you have to carefully make the decision whether or not replacing the battery is worth it to you.
Another big disadvantage of electric cars is that you can’t charge your electric car as easily as you can fill up the tank for your gasoline-powered car simply because there are a lot fewer public charging places. This is luckily something that has been worked on over the past few years but it can still be a challenge to find a place to charge your car.
Finding a place to charge your car can be a challenge and when you have found a place to charge your car it can take a long time for it to be fully charged. At a regular charging point, it may take up to 8 hours for your car to be fully charged when it was empty. This depends on the size of the battery and the charging station as well as a battery can be charged much faster at a rapid charge station.
An electric car is battery operated, you are completely dependent on it how far you can go with your car. As batteries as weather-sensitive, this can have a big impact on your range. In a cold climate, you can expect your range to reduce by about 12%. If you decide to turn on the heater on full blasts as well this can be over 40%.
Big and heavy
Again due to the massive battery, an electric car is rather big and heavy. This is because consumers want a decent range while driving an electric car which means the car needs a bigger battery and bigger batteries weigh more and take up more space on the car. In some cases, it even changes the shape of the car to accommodate the increased size of the battery.
Electric cars are silent
Another big disadvantage of electric cars is that they are silent. Because an electric car does not have a motor running, this means that they hardly make a sound. This is especially the case when they drive at a slower speed. This can be dangerous for cyclists or pedestrians who are paying more attention to the traffic around them that make a sound. Pedestrians are about 40% more likely to be hit by an electric car compared to a petrol or diesel-powered car. This percentage is even higher for people who are (partly) blind.
As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of transportation, the electric vehicle revolution stands as a testament to innovation and sustainability. While electric cars undeniably offer a host of advantages—from environmental stewardship to cutting-edge technology—they also present challenges, reminding us that progress often comes with its own set of considerations. Yet, as charging infrastructure expands, battery technology advances, and costs become more competitive, the promise of a cleaner, smarter, and more efficient driving future becomes increasingly tangible. Embracing electric cars isn’t just about the pros and cons; it’s about envisioning a world where sustainable mobility drives us towards a brighter, cleaner tomorrow—one electrifying mile at a time.