The consensus about electric cars is that they pollute far less by not burning fossil fuels, thus being more environmentally friendly and contributing far less to greenhouse gas emissions. They are clearly the cleaner option for crowded urban areas suffocated by exhaust fumes – they are still criticized for not being as green as advertised, considering that the majority of electricity they consume is produced using coal and other polluting generation methods.
This is slowly changing, of course, with many countries making it their goal to switch to eco-friendly means of producing energy (like solar, eolian, nuclear and any combination of the above). But the arguments against electric cars don’t stop here. Even if they prove to be the most reliable cars in the world, they will have their critics – and these are the arguments that they will definitely bring up against them.
The average electric car has a range of between 80 and 100 miles per charge – Tesla’s models are among the exceptions with their minimum range of 220 miles. The majority of affordable models, in turn, were not built to be used for long-distance travel – they are small models with a limited range, perfect to be used in a city, for example.
Their shorter ranges are great for your daily commute and running errands but they are simply not fit for covering long distances. “Range anxiety” is often brought up as an argument against electric cars. Then again, you can run out of gas in the middle of nowhere as well… The trick is to use your car as it is intended and make sure your batteries are full before leaving on a longer trip (or use a train, a plane or perhaps a bus).
Charging the batteries of your EV takes much, much longer than filling up your traditional car with gas – this is a well-known fact. In most cases, your car has enough time to charge – you simply get home, plug it into an electric outlet, and go to sleep, and by the time you wake up, its battery will be full. How about going on a longer trip – see above? Well, this is something that is still under development right now.
In the US, Tesla’s Supercharger network will charge an 85 kWh battery to 100% capacity within 75 minutes – the time it takes for you and your family to have lunch at the charging station, for example. As for most other electric cars, well… they are not designed to be used on long trips (because of their limited size and battery capacity) so you shouldn’t use them as such.
Even though there are an ever-increasing number of EV models available today, they are still far behind the variety of traditional cars – and their prices are also much higher. The more affordable electric cars are usually small and have a limited range, while those with a higher range and decent leg space tend to be in the luxury category when it comes to prices. But don’t forget the time before Ford’s Model T, when the vast majority of the Americans had to make do with horses and carriages, and only the select few could afford an automobile.
The situation of EVs is similar today: they are at the beginning of their road (the Tesla Roadster, the first mass-produced EV, was only released a little over a decade ago). In time, all the minor inconveniences will be worked out and many more options will become available. It takes time and dedication – but mostly time. Electric cars may or may not be the solution for pollution – it is way too early to tell. They have critics and they will have critics in the future – but remember, so did the train, so did the airplane, and so did the automobile at its time.