Electric cars are excellent for the environment and offer many benefits over traditional vehicles, but they do have some downsides. One of the biggest questions for potential electric car buyers is whether to purchase an all-electric vehicle (AEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or one that runs on gasoline.
How Do Electric Cars Work?
An electric car is a vehicle that uses electricity from an external source to power its battery. There are various groups of Electric and Hybrid vehicles: all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Both types use electricity and utilize internal combustion engine technology.
Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles
The popularity of electric cars continues to grow. Just like conventional cars, electric cars have certain benefits and drawbacks as well. Here are some important ones to keep in mind:
Electric Car Pros
- Electric cars are energy efficient
- Electric cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Electric cars require lower maintenance
Electric Car Cons
- Electric cars can’t travel as far
- “Fueling” takes longer
- Electric cars can be more expensive
In addition to saving money on gas, electric cars are also better for the environment because they generate less pollution, they save energy and they require little maintenance. On the downside, you may not be able to travel as far between refueling stops since it can take longer than filling a car with gas and the upfront costs could be a barrier.
Here are the pros and cons of EVs in more detail:
Advantages of Electric Cars
Electric cars are energy efficient
Energy efficiency is the amount of energy from a fuel source that can be converted into actual power for a vehicle. Electric vehicles are far more efficient than gas-powered vehicles: batteries powering AEVs convert between 59%–62% of the energy into vehicle movement, while the engines in gas powered cars only convert 17–21%. This means that charging an AEV’s battery is more efficient than filling up at the gas pump because it puts more towards actually powering the vehicle.
Electric cars reduce emissions
Because electric cars use no fuel, they also produce no emissions, which is another benefit for all-electric vehicles. Because they rely on a rechargeable battery, electric cars don’t produce tailpipe emissions, which are a major source of pollution in California and across the nation. Since the car has a rechargeable battery, this means you’ll spend less money on fuel and all energy can be domestically-sourced through renewable resources like solar panels systems.
Thanks to today’s advanced battery technology, light-duty AEVs can travel 100 miles while consuming only 25–40 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Assuming your electric travels three miles per kWh, your electric car will travel roughly 43 miles for $1.
To compare, let’s assume gas costs $2.50 per gallon (which is well below the state and national average). A gasoline vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 22 miles per gallon will only be able to travel 10 miles for the same price. For $1, an electric vehicle can travel nearly four times as far compared to a gas-powered car. The overall distance traveled in a gas-powered vehicle for $1 is nearly four times as far for electric vehicles.
Electric cars perform well and don’t need much maintenance
All-electric vehicles are also high performance cars, whose motors offer smooth and quiet operation and require less maintenance than internal combustion engines. The driving experience with an AEV motor can also be fun because of the responsive way these motors deliver a good amount of torque. Electric vehicles are also newer and more digitally connected compared to their gas-powered counterparts. Many charging stations now provide the option to control charging from an app.
Disadvantages of Electric Cars
Electric cars can travel less distance
On average, AEVs have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Most electric cars run on batteries that provide a range of 60 to 120 miles per charge. Some luxury models have been designed with larger, more powerful battery packs which allow them to travel around 300 miles per charge.
To compare, gas-powered vehicles average around 300 miles on a full tank of gas, while more fuel efficient cars can get much higher mileage. If you frequently take road trips, this could be an issue when researching AEVs. The limited availability of charging stations is less suitable for going on long trips in an AEV.
Electric cars can take a long time to recharge
Because all-electric cars run off of a battery, it must be recharged regularly, so fueling it can also be a challenge. It can take up to 8 hours to fully recharge a battery pack with a Level 1 or Level 2 charge. Fast-charging stations will take 30 minutes to charge batteries up to 80% capacity. Unlike drivers of gas-powered cars, electric car owners must carefully plan their routes to avoid running out of power.
Electric cars can be expensive
EVs usually have a higher upfront price tag, but you can save money over time with one since there’s generally less maintenance on an EV and it’s cheaper to charge than fuel with gas. While battery packs are more expensive in EVs compared to gas-powered vehicles, they last much longer and come with 8-10 year warranties. As a result, you likely won’t have to pay for a replacement out of pocket.
Pros and Cons of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have many of the same benefits as all-electric cars. PHEVs are excellent vehicles for reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. When driving short distances, a PHEV may not need to switch its engine off. As a result, the car will produce no tailpipe emissions.
An even more significant advantage of PHEVs is that they can use 30 to 60% less fuel than conventional gas-powered cars. If electricity is generated by renewable resources, such as solar panels, it results in less greenhouse gas emissions than would be produced if the energy were generated using fossil fuels.
PHEVs are also a great option for people who need vehicles that travel longer distances and don’t have access to a place to recharge electric cars. AEVs are limited to their battery range, but plug-in hybrids have a backup fuel supply so that when the batteries run out, they can keep going and even recharge the battery with fuel. Because of their hybrid engine and other energy-saving features, PHEVs generally have a better fuel economy than their gas-powered counterparts.
Owning a PHEV is much like owning an AEV in that it takes the same amount of time to recharge the battery. Although PHEV batteries tend to be smaller than those found in AEVs, they can still take several hours to charge with a Level 1 charger. A Level 2 charger typically takes one to four hours. While fast-charging options do exist, most PHEVs don’t have this charging capability.
Cost is another factor: like AEVs, PHEVs have a higher price tag than many gas-powered cars. Although the initial cost of PHEVs can be high, there are fuel savings and tax credits that can help offset these costs—and as more people buy PHEVs over time, prices may come down.
Are Electric Vehicles Worth It?
All-electric cars and plug-in electric cars offer drivers a chance to cut down on carbon emissions, save money on gas, and drive flashy models. While charging a car’s battery can take a long time, the process may not fit into some people’s lifestyles and the upfront costs mean it’s a larger initial investment.
In the end, it’s up to the driver whether or not this kind of vehicle is right for them and if so, they can take additional steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by integrating solar panel systems into their charging.
Is Owning an EV Right for You?
As the market for electric cars grows, the more innovative and practical electric cars will become along with the availability of more charging stations to ease range anxiety.If you’re committed to combating climate change, you can add solar panels to your home to charge your electric car, save money and further complement an emissions-free lifestyle.
If you’re ready to save money and power your home with clean, reliable energy, contact us today for a free customized solar quote.