Electric vehicles (EV) are slowly becoming more accepted by the motoring public. While we are many years away from a huge shift, the electric car is here to stay, and many of you are wondering if and when to buy an electric vehicle.
In this blog article I will outline some of the main issues and talking points with regard to the electric vehicle. The information in the article is from my research and also from personal experiences as an automotive repair professional. I will give you both pros and cons in order to be fair and unbiased.
Perhaps the biggest factor in buying an electric vehicle is its impact on the environment. EVs do not produce any emissions, so driving an electric car helps maintain a cleaner atmosphere. However, it’s not clear about the long-term impact to our environment from the disposal of the elements and chemicals that are needed to manufacture the massive onboard storage batteries which produce the energy needed to propel an electric vehicle. Also, more research has to be done in the mining industry and its impact on the environment, from extracting the elements needed for the EV batteries.
The Cost of Electricity vs. Gasoline
At the moment, electricity is cheaper than gasoline. However, in order to charge and maintain a large fleet of EVs it will take big changes to the way we produce electricity in the U.S. Today, less than 1% of the cars on America’s roadways are electric. Both the U.S. Government and car companies are pushing for a massive increase of EVs on the road by 2035. To meet these goals, the electricity needed to recharge these EVs will require upgrades to the national electric grid and constructing more power plants. Solar energy may be an option in how we obtain the electricity needed to recharge the EV’s vehicle.
EV Maintenance and Repairs
The EV will change the way we approach the auto service and repair industry. Automotive repair shops will need to invest in hi-tech equipment and also make a huge commitment in training for their personnel. The automotive mechanic will transition into a highly skilled, electrical engineer. A few mechanical components will probably get upgraded, but there will be familiar items on the EV, such as the brake system, tires, suspension, steering and differentials. However, don’t assume that the Electric Vehicle will be maintenance or problem free. The amount of technology that will be needed in tomorrow’s EV is staggering, and you the consumer will ultimately pay for that technology, both in the cost of the EV and the needed maintenance.
Recharging Your Electric Vehicle and Driving Range
Two issues must be solved: the range of most EV’s and charging the EV. There are not a lot of EV charging stations on our roadways today, although more and more companies are working with municipalities to increase the amount of charging stations. Another challenge is how and where to install enough charging stations in major cities. Unlike refueling your car, which takes a minute or two, recharging an EV can take up to 5 to 11 hours, depending on the vehicle and the battery’s state of charge. Range anxiety is real, and many EV owners think twice about taking long trips. Today, it’s probably best to install a charging station in your home, but the cost can be expensive.
The range of the EV is a major pain point at this time. Many EV’s only have a range of 60 to 100 miles. Many of the more expensive models can go 200 to 300 miles before a charge is needed. Tesla boasts a range of 520 miles on its 2021 Model S.
There’s no doubt that more and more EVs will be on our roads in the future. However, it will come with challenges. If we look back at the early 1900’s, the shift from the horse and buggy to the internal combustion engine vehicle had a lot of challenges too. Only time will tell how and when the EV challenges and obstacles are solved.