"Electric cars are not going to take the market by storm, but it's going to be a gradual improvement."

Carlos Ghosn, Businessman

Pros and Cons of Electric Cars

the advantages and problems of electric cars

Electric cars are automobiles that are propelled by electric motors instead of conventional fuel engines.

 

Due to the global warming issue, electric cars might be a promising future alternative to the use of conventional cars.

 

However, also electric cars have some downsides. In this article, the pros and cons of electric cars are examined.

Audio Lesson

Pros of Electric Cars

  1. Less noise pollution
  2. No fumes
  3. No direct greenhouse gas emissions
  4. No air pollution
  5. Perfect for short distances
  6. Electric energy is cheaper compared to fossil fuels
  7. Hedge against increasing gas prices in the future
  8. Larger average storage opportunities
  9. Used electric cars can be quite cheap
  10. Less maintenance required
  11. Government subsidies
  12. Faster commuting
  13. Could be charged at home

Less noise pollution

Compared to conventional car engines that use gas, electric cars are much quieter. In fact, the volume from electric cars is not disturbing at all. You could have a conversation nearby a running electric car and would not be distracted at all.

 

This is a big advantage, especially if you live in a house or a flat near a big road. Imagine that one day, there are no conventional cars anymore and the noise pollution completely vanishes. Wouldn’t that be great?!

 

Thus, by switching from conventional to electric cars, we could significantly lower the noise pollution issue for millions of people worldwide.

 

No fumes

Conventional cars also emit large amounts of unhealthy fumes into the air. Especially if you walk around in areas with heavy car usage, chances are that you will inhale large amounts of toxic fumes, which are not only quite unpleasant, but could also hurt your health in the long run.

 

For instance, the risk for lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases may increase significantly by inhaling those toxic fumes on a regular basis. In contrast, since electric cars do not emit those fumes at all, health issues related to the inhalation of fumes could be significantly reduced.

 

No direct greenhouse gas emissions

Since electric cars do not emit harmful fumes into the air, there are also no direct greenhouse gases from the use of electric cars. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that electric cars are entirely green. The core question in this regard is if the energy that is used by electric cars have been produced through green and renewable energy sources.

 

If this is the case, the level of greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting contribution to global warming implied by the use of electric cars is quite low. However, if the energy is produced with conventional fossil fuels, electric cars are not much more eco-friendly compared to conventional cars in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Thus, you should inform yourself where your electricity for your electric car actually comes from and if it has been produced with conventional or green energy sources.

 

No air pollution

Especially in big cities, air pollution is a significant environmental issue. This implies the emission of greenhouse gases, but also significant levels of particle pollution, which can lead to serious pulmonary diseases. Thus, especially in those areas with heavy air pollution, the use of electric cars could be a good measure to reduce overall air contamination since electric cars do not emit any harmful gases at all.

 

Perfect for short distances

Although the range of electric cars might be rather low compared to conventional cars, electric cars are a suitable alternative when it comes to driving short distances. For instance, electric cars could be perfect for commuting to work and back home or for other short distances.

 

By using electric cars instead of conventional ones for short distances, you could not only decrease the level of greenhouse gas emissions, but you could also improve the overall air quality in cities.

 

Electric energy is cheaper compared to fossil fuels

Electric cars are not only much better in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, the use of electric energy is also significantly cheaper compared to the use of fossil fuels when it comes to the price per mile, meaning that you pay less for fuel if you use electric cars instead of conventional cars for the same travel distance.

 

Thus, in the long run, you might be able to save plenty of money by using electric cars instead of conventional ones.

Hedge against increasing gas prices in the future

Another advantage of electric cars is that by using those cars, you can hedge against increasing world market prices for fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels like gas are finite resources which may become eventually depleted in the future, the prices for fossil fuels may increase over time.

 

If you still use conventional cars, you may be dependent and may have to pay higher fuel prices. By using electric cars instead, you might become independent from increasing world market prices of fossil fuels, which may save you a lot of money in the long run.

 

Larger average storage opportunities

Since electric cars have no conventional engine and the engine, there is often much more storage space in electric cars. This could be quite convenient, especially if you have a large family and you have to buy plenty of food and other things. Your old car might not have enough storage space to carry home all those things.

 

However, by switching to electric cars, you might be able to get more stuff inside your car due to an increased storage space. However, not all models have larger storage spaces. Thus, before you buy a car, make sure that you visit your local car dealer and take a look on the different models and options.

 

Used electric cars can be quite cheap

It is true that new electric cars are often much more expensive compared to similar conventional cars. However, electric cars decline in value quite fast over the first few years, similar to conventional cars.

 

Thus, if you do not want to spend too much money, you by a used electric car instead of a new one. Therefore, you could profit from huge discounts and still get a decent electric car which may be almost as good as a completely new one.

 

Less maintenance required

Compared to cars that use conventional fuel engines, electric cars require less maintenance on average. This is due to the fact that electric cars have fewer moving parts and therefore, less parts can brake or worn down. Thus, you might have less issues and lower costs for repairs by using electric cars instead of conventional ones.

 

Government subsidies

In many countries, you might also be eligible for financial subsidies if you buy an electric car. This may come in the form of direct subsidies or also through tax advantages for electric vehicles. Thus, even though the initial costs for electric cars might be higher compared to conventional ones, by taking into account those subsidies, this might lower the difference between the price of conventional and electric cars significantly.

 

Faster commuting

In many cities, you may also be allowed to use the carpool lane or other lanes that are specific to electric cars so that you might be able to commute much faster and do not have to be stuck in traffic for a long time like with conventional cars. This may be another big advantage of electric cars compared to the use of conventional vehicles.

 

Could be charged at home

Charging your electric car can be quite convenient. If you install an electric charging station at your house, you will be able to charge your car overnight and do not have to rely and wait on conventional gas stations. This may safe you plenty of time over the long run.

Cons of Electric Cars

  1. Rather high costs for new cars
  2. High depreciation in the first years
  3. Battery may become weak over time
  4. High costs for battery replacement
  5. Low range
  6. Charging may be an issue
  7. Charging takes much longer
  8. Outdated due to technological progress soon
  9. Not eco-friendly if power comes from conventional energies
  10. Limited selection of electric cars

Rather high costs for new cars

Compared to conventional cars, electric cars are usually more expensive. Thus, many people may refrain from buying electric cars due to the high initial costs. However, due to government subsidies, these costs may be lower than expected.

 

Moreover, since the fuel is cheaper for electric cars compared to conventional ones, electric cars may be cheaper in the long run.

 

Therefore, even though electric cars might have a higher initial purchase price, you should still consider to switch to an electric car since the price difference may amortize over the lifespan of the vehicle.

 

High depreciation in the first years

Buying a new electric car might also be not too clever from a financial standpoint. Since the depreciation of electric cars in the first few years is quite high, your electric car may lose even close to 50% of value in those first years.

 

Thus, it might be more senseful to buy an electric car that is a few years old but still in good shape since you can save plenty of money and still get a decent car for a much better price.

 

Battery may become weak over time

Almost all batteries lose part of their power in the long run. This is also true when it comes to electric car batteries. Therefore, the range of electric cars may get lower due to weaker batteries over time.

 

However, if you only use your electric car for short distances like for commuting or shopping, the battery power will still be enough to manage those distances even after many years.

 

High costs for battery replacement

At one point in time, it will be necessary to get a new battery for your electric car. This can be quite costly compared to batteries for conventional cars.

 

For instance, while the battery for conventional cars usually costs only a few hundred dollars, electric car batteries may cost up to 6,000 USD, averaging a few thousand dollars.

 

Thus, replacing your old electric battery with a new one will be quite costly which you should take into account for your buying decisions.

 

Low range

Another problem of electric cars is that they often have a much lower range compared to conventional cars that are operated with fossil fuels. While the average electric car may have a range of around 150 miles, the average range of conventional cars should be around 300 miles.

 

Thus, electric cars may rather be suitable for short distances and not for long travel distances. However, our technology progresses rapidly and we might see vast improvements in range of electric cars in the near future.

Charging may be an issue

The infrastructure for electric cars is still not mature and the number of charging stations is quite limited in many regions. Therefore, it might be quite difficult to use electric cars on a regular basis if there are no charging stations nearby. However, people could help themselves by installing a charging station at their house.

 

By doing so, you could charge your car overnight and do not even have to wait at charging stations, in contrast to the use of conventional cars. Thus, if you have the opportunity to install an electric charging station at home, fueling your car might be even more convenient than fueling conventional vehicles.

 

Charging takes much longer

If you do not charge your car overnight at home, you will have to spend longer at electric charging stations compared to the fueling of conventional cars. For instance, it may take 15 to 30 minutes to charge an electric car, while it only takes a few minutes to fuel a gasoline car. Thus, you should be aware that by using electric cars, you might have to spend a little bit more time for charging purposes.

 

Outdated due to technological progress soon

Since the current technology behind electric cars is still not mature yet, there might be significant advancements in the near future. Thus, if you buy an electric car now, you might miss out on many convenient features in the future.

 

Moreover, there is still no consensus among leading scientists regarding the future of electric cars. Some scientist believe that electric cars may be a transitory technology which may be replaced by hydrogen fuel cell cars in the future. Thus, electric cars may become outdated over time.

 

Not eco-friendly if power comes from conventional energies

Since a high fraction of our electricity still comes from power plants that use fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, the majority of energy cannot be regarded to be green at all. Thus, this also implies that the use of electric cars can also not be considered to be green if those cars use conventional energy. Therefore, until the majority of our electricity comes from green energy sources, electric cars cannot be considered to be green at all.

 

Limited selection of electric cars

Even though more and more car companies engage in the electric car market, there still is a rather limited number of electric cars available compared to conventional cars. Thus, potential buyers may have to make compromises regarding the design and the features of the respective electric cars.

Electric Cars Pros & Cons - Summary List

Electric Car Pros

Decrease in noise pollution

No fumes

Less greenhouse gas emissions

No air pollution

Perfectly suitable for short distances

Cheaper fuel compared to conventional cars

Hedge against increasing fossil fuel prices

Larger storage spaces

Cheap used electric cars

Less maintenance needed

Subsidies

Faster commuting

Charging at home might be possible

Electric Car Cons

High costs for new cars

High depreciation

Battery may become weak

Battery replacement is costly

Rather confined range

Charging issues

Longer charging duration

May become outdated

Not entirely green

Limited selection of cars


Conclusion

Electric cars are a promising alternative to conventional cars that need fossil fuels. Even though there are many advantages of electric vehicles, the use of electric cars also implies serious downsides. In the end, you have to decide by yourself if you favor electric cars over conventional ones or not in order to make profound buying decisions.

Sources

About the author

 

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

 

As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

 

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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