We live in a fast paced world with constant need for movement to various destinations, which warrants use of motor vehicles for fast and convenient transport. From ancient times, vehicles powered by energy from hydro-carbon sources have been used to meet the need for locomotion.
Incidentally, fossil fuel is non-renewable, has fluctuating prices and pollutes the environment. This has prompted the emergence of alternative sources of power for motor vehicles, which are fairly eco-friendly and relatively cheap. For the most part, electric cars offer a near perfect answer to this dilemma. Nevertheless, like all manmade machines electric cars have some disadvantages.
Electric cars are motor vehicles whose engines are powered by electricity, unlike vehicles with internal combustion engines which use fuel. There are three types of electric cars: those that are powered explicitly by external electric sources, those that have rechargeable batteries and those that have built in generators to provide power for thrust (Gilles 202). Furthermore, electric cars are not necessarily powered by electricity generated by fossil fuel. Renewable sources of energy like solar and wind can also be used to generate electricity for propulsion.
In electric trains, the power is transmitted via overhead cables and then stored in batteries. On the other hand, electric cars are plugged into power sources for a few hours to charge the batteries that store energy used for propulsion (Piana 288). However, people are yet to fully embrace electric cars because they are still on a trial phase and the requisite infrastructure, like power recharge stations along highways, are scanty.
Advantages of Electric cars
The most noteworthy attribute of electric cars is their eco-friendliness. They boast of having zero emissions of carbon dioxide, thus minimal environmental pollution. This is contrary to cars with internal combustion engines, which emit close to 20% of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Scoulos 162).
According to Scoulos, “Batteries could gradually become an overall less polluting fuel source in the long term, if more electricity is generated by non-carbon, renewable energy sources” (161). Furthermore, it is cheaper to operate an electric car compared to a conventional car, because it is cheaper to charge a car battery than refuel a tank. Additionally, electric car owners are accorded various privileges, like parking fee waivers in public places, due to the eco-friendly nature of their cars.
Moreover, electric cars loose just about around 10% of their energy through heat, which makes them energy efficient compared to their conventional counterparts that lose up to 80% of their energy (Scoulos 163). On the same note, electric cars have silent engines thus they produce minimum noise compared to conventional cars, which produce irritating noise. In addition, since electric cars can be powered by energy from innumerable sources, including renewable sources, the depletion of fossil fuel cannot render them redundant (Piana 289).
Disadvantages of Electric Cars
Unfortunately, electric cars are not suited for long journeys and off road excursions. This is because they have less torque and can only attain a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour, which is significantly lower than that of a normal car.
In addition, electric cars are yet to be accorded the much needed infrastructural support, like charging and servicing stations along highways, to address contingencies that might crop up in the course of a journey. In fact, most mechanics find electric vehicles paradoxical because they are a rarity and interaction with them is limited to big cities (Gilles 201).
Additionally, electric cars are dependent on batteries that store charge which can only supply enough power for a limited number of hours. As a result, a full tank of a conventional car can give a driver more mileage than a fully charged battery of an electric car. Gilles states that “A Key problem that prevents their widespread use is that they have a somewhat limited range between recharges (less than 100 miles), and recharging requires several hours at best” (201).
In this regard, electric car owners have to operate within a given radius where they are confident of getting a power source and a service station. This confines them to established cities with the aforesaid facilities. In addition, since electric cars are noiseless they are prone to accidents because people with visual disability cannot hear them when approaching crossing zones.
In this age of global warming and economic recessions that inflate the prices of virtually everything, the use of eco-friendly and cheaper sources of energy to power machines has become paramount. Electric cars therefore play a pivotal role in the preservation of the environment since they have minimal emissions.
However, it is incumbent upon manufacturers of electric cars to carry out aggressive marketing in order to popularize these vehicles. Furthermore, the public needs to be sensitized on the advantages of embracing technology that reduces green house gas emissions. Moreover, there is a need to improve the speed of electric cars and power retention capacity of batteries, to charm the users of conventional cars to switch to electric cars.
Gilles, Tim. Automotive Services: Inspection, Maintenance, Repair. Stanford: Cengage Learning, 2003. Print.
Piana, Valentino. Innovative Economic Policies for Climatic Change Migrations. Gainesville: EWI, 2009. Print.
Scoulos, Michael J. Mercury, Cadmium, Lead: Handbook for Sustainable Heavy Metals Regulation. New York: Springer, 2001. Print.