There's a lot of talk going on these days about electric vehicles. With Nissan's Leaf and Chevrolet's Volt both available, it looks like we're at a peak in EV popularity. Although skeptics proclaim that Electric Cars are nothing more than a way to transfer emissions from your tailpipe to the power plant where the charging electricity comes from, EV's offer some key advantages for the environment.
1. They can be charged with power produced from ANY source.
This means that you are in complete control of where the energy used by your vehicle comes from. You can plug in to the wall and draw from a coal-based power source or invest in solar panels and windmills for your property and charge your vehicle with your own energy.
2. Charging most commonly occurs during off peak hours.
Power plants are sophisticated and can not just be shut down at the push of a button. Due to lack of storage, much of the power produced at night is wasted (which is why many power companies offer 'off peak' rates on electricity). Most EV owners will charge their car at night while they sleep, potentially using power that would otherwise be wasted.
3. Power plant emissions are more highly regulated than cars.
It is easier for a government to regulate emissions produced from one power plant rather than several million cars. A power plant is properly maintained to a high standard which many cars on the road are not. Sadly, one small mechanical issue from a fouled spark plug to a low tire can lead to a modern vehicle's emissions being increased dramatically.
4. Electric vehicles do not need the amount of regular maintenance that regular cars do.
Electric cars have one moving part, an electric motor that spins. There's no coolant or oil to leak or water pumps, radiator hoses, filters, spark plugs etc. to replace. These parts are common-failure items and require regular replacement. The manufacturing and distribution of these products uses a huge amount of fossil-fuel, not to mention the environmental impact of leaked fluid on the roads.
Contrary to what you may have heard, EV's are much cleaner overall than gas vehicles and electric vehicle technology has been around for more than 100 years! There are a lot of misconceptions about Electric Cars. I've heard people say 'but you can only go 10 miles!' and 'they're too slow!', neither is true. Just like any other vehicle, the performance of your EV is limited by your budget. The truth is that an electric cars can be exceptionally fast and have a very long-range, but the car battery
technology for high performance EV's is still quite expensive.
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