In the future, things on earth (or Mars?) will be different. If there is still a planet and humans to inhabit it, we will all have french fry machines in our bedrooms, dental exams via drone, drone haircuts, shoelace-tying drones, hashbrown machines in our bedrooms, hashbrown-delivery drones and vehicles that run only on electricity. Wait, vehicles that run only on electricity?! That’s crazy talk!
Folks, in at least one respect, the future is here and now. While we can’t speak for fry machines and drone dentists, electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are silently hitting the streets, and faster than ever. The U.S saw a 38 percent increase in EV sales in 2016. They’ve been around so long there’s even a robust market of used EVs and hybrids. If you are thinking about purchasing a new car, either now or in the future (which is now), consider the pros and cons of the EV. And keep an eye out for our next article; Pros and Cons of Hashbrown-Delivery Drones. (Spoiler alert: There are no cons.)
1. Cheaper to power
EV’s don’t require budget-busting gasoline. The cost of charging the battery depends on electricity costs in your area, however, it is generally much lower than the cost of gas. No trips to gas stations also means no impulse buying of nachos and hot dogs. This could save you money on a future coronary bypass or heart transplant. Also: no oil changes. Praise the Lord.
2. Easier maintenance
Traditional internal combustion engines have thousands of moving parts. These parts break or need to be replaced over time. An electric car has very few moving parts. No timing belts, no pistons, no fuel pumps, etc. Simpler systems mean fewer trips to the shop, which means the days of convincing your mechanic to trade your children for repairs are over.
Have you ever accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds? If so, did you do it very, very quietly? It sounds kind of nice and feels kind of nauseating. Without a big, heavy internal combustion engine, EV’s are light, efficient and extremely quick. Hopefully someday we can say the same about the shoelace drone.
Inhabitants of the Wasatch Front can attest to the nastiness of air pollution. The particulate matter haze that becomes palpable during summer and winter inversions is incredibly detrimental to human bodies, especially young or old ones, and car exhaust is a primary contributor. Electric vehicles emit zero exhaust. Zero. While sources of electricity vary by region, charging an EV battery is generally much greener and cleaner than fueling a gasoline engine. Also, no used motor oil.
Don’t think about it too hard, but your gas-powered car is like a giant molotov cocktail with seats. Ever heard the phrase “crash and burn”? Ever heard the country song “Crash and Burn”? They’re both bad. Anyway, EV’s are safer because instead of a bathtub full of gasoline in the trunk they have a heavy battery pack under the seats. This creates a low center of gravity which prevents roll-overs. And battery packs are less likely to explode.
1. Limited range
EV aficionados know that driving an EV comes with a learning curve. EV’s can only go so far on a single charge. For example, a Nissan Leaf has a range of 60–100 miles. Pony up the cash for a Tesla, you can drive 200–250 miles before you need to plug in. You know that sense of dread you get when you’re phone battery is at 3 percent and there’s no charger in sight? Now imagine you’re driving your phone across the Mojave Desert. Should have planned ahead compadre.
2. Limited charging infrastructure (for now)
The limited range of EV’s wouldn't be such a big deal if charging stations were as plentiful as brine shrimp. But alas, charging stations are as few and far between as Democrats in Nephi. Planning ahead is crucial to a successful commute. Don’t get yourself a case of “range anxiety” — strategize. And call your city/county/state/national representatives and tell them to invest in EV infrastructure, which is the future, which is now.
3. Long recharging time
Forget to plug in your car overnight? You might have to call in sick. Charging an EV can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours depending on battery size and power source. Or you could try to harness the energy of a lightning bolt using a cable and a clock tower. This guy named Marty did it once in a documentary called “Back to the Future.”
4. Fewer options
If making decisions is difficult for you, then EV’s are right up your alley. There aren't as many makes and models to choose from compared to gas-powered cars. Fewer choices equals less anxiety, right? For those who love the unending FOMO and regret of decision-making, more electric/hybrid options are hitting the market every few years.
5. Higher initial cost
Are you sitting down? Good. Now stand up and check your pockets for money. You will need it to buy an EV. Most new models come in the $20,000–40,000 range. For a Tesla Model S or Model X, plan on $75,000–140,000 depending on the configuration (with varying power and range) you want. Federal and state tax credits are available on EV’s to help reduce the costs a little. Also, consider used options.
EV’s are the vehicle of the present and the air pollution–free future. Greener, cleaner, safer quieter, better. If the tech seems too new-fangled and scary, you can hedge a bit with a hybrid (gas motor + electric motor) for a greater range than most EV’s. But electric vehicles have been mass produced since the turn of the millennium and the tech is getting less new-fangled (more old-fangled?) and many of the bugs have been worked out. So, if the price isn’t prohibitive, we say do the electric slide. Your grandkids will think you’re hip and your great grandkids will thank you for keeping earth inhabitable.