On a global scale, it’s clear that electric vehicles—known colloquially as EVs—have reached a new level of public acceptance. Everyone has their own opinions, which they’re entitled to, but finding unbiased and objective opinions based on facts is nearly impossible.
We aim to provide you with information based solely on facts provided to us by engineers who have done extensive, detailed research, so you can decide for yourself whether electric cars are better than gas cars and whether you should become the owner of an electric vehicle.
Electric vehicles are responsible for considerably lower emissions over their lifetime than cars powered by an internal combustible engine; but from a driver’s perspective—are they preferable?
Which Is Better for the Environment?
There are a few major arguments for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
Producing a single battery for an electric vehicle (EV) creates 17 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), whereas ICE production which creates 7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per vehicle. That includes everything from lithium mining to car assembly. However, from production to end of lifespan, ICE vehicles produce an average of 57 metric tons of CO2. In comparison, the 27 metric tons of carbon dioxide that results from producing an EV are also their total impact, because they don’t have any emissions during use. In addition, lithium-ion batteries are recyclable. As manufacturers move towards EVs, more and more are going to be produced; while that will initially pollute the air rather quickly, EVs are better overall for the environment in the long term.
Let’s not forget that electric powering stations are powered by fossil fuels, which is another argument against EVs. That argument is currently very strong; if we consider the CO2 produced by electric powering stations working on fossil fuels, the gap between gas cars and electric cars becomes smaller. In coming years, as we move closer to renewable energy sources, electrics are going to be even more environmentally friendly. In fact, by 2045, 100% of the energy will come from renewable sources, thanks to regulatory measures. Needless to say, the rest of the world will move that way as well.
Overall, EVs are better for the environment, currently by a relatively small margin, all things considered. However, they will only become more environmentally friendly over time.
How Much Does Owning an Electric Car Cost?
A brand new EV costs $12,000 more than a brand new gas vehicle. That is a considerable amount of money, but we cannot forget additional costs such as maintenance and the cost of fuel or electricity.
When it comes to fuel economy, electric cars are much cheaper. On average, you would spend $1,500 on gas, which is two to three times more than you would spend on electric charging. Keep in mind that those numbers include gas guzzlers such as fuel-inefficient sports cars and heavy-duty pickups. If we compare a Tesla to a compact car such as a Mazda3, the difference in the economy becomes less significant; eGallon is an excellent tool for comparing EVs to various gas vehicles in terms of efficiency.
Longevity and reliability are major factors when it comes to the vehicle purchase decision. The current Tesla electric battery’s life expectancy is around 320,000 km; meanwhile, there are ICE vehicles with more than 1,000,000 km still on the roads. Needless to say, ICEs win this category.
Maintenance is another area where an electric car will save you money. You can forget about oil changes and the constant repairs needed to keep a gas vehicle running well because an EV has fewer moving parts. However, if an EV does break down, prepare to spend a lot of money on repairs; at that point, it might even be more beneficial to purchase a new car.
EVs will save you money on fuel and maintenance, but if you’re looking for longevity, several ICE vehicles are far better. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong either way; just know that electric cars will most likely become cheaper in years to come.
The Drawbacks of EVs
The main drawback of EVs, which may be the primary reason why they aren’t more common, is that an EV simply cannot be your main car, and here’s why.
The amount of time to fully charge an EV is roughly 12 hours. On a full charge, you can cover 650 km. Taking a road trip that’s a bit longer will be impossible in some cases because electric stations aren’t as common as gas stations and, even if you find one along the way, you’ll have to spend a few extra hours simply charging your vehicle.
Another issue is that many people live in apartments with their vehicles parked on streets near their building. Not every renter has a garage with an electric power source. Owning an EV is nearly impossible without a good charging setup.
There aren’t too many drawbacks to owning an EV, but the ones that do exist are quite serious. They’re also the reason why you will still need a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle.
Electric vs. Gas in Terms of Performance
ICEs lose around 15% of their power before that power is transferred to the wheels. EVs convert energy much more efficiently, and that same energy and torque is accessible to the wheels almost instantly, which is why a Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in an astonishing 1.9 seconds.
ICE vehicles are usually built for a single purpose, which they excel at, leaving other categories behind. EVs, on the other hand, are economical, quick, and fast; basically, they’re great all-around vehicles. For example, a Bugatti Chiron might be able to hit 383 km/h, but its fuel economy is terrible. A Tesla Roadster will accelerate quickly, reach relatively high speeds, and do so efficiently.
An electric car is an excellent all-around option, but you have many more options with single-purpose cars.
Weather Conditions and Canadian Winters
In cold temperatures, electric car batteries, like batteries in general, lose a lot of their power. This is only going to present you with another challenge of owning an EV.
You will be able to drive your EV, but you might have to warm it up while it’s charging, use the economy mode setting, and drive at or below the speed limit.
If you have access to multiple nearby charging stations, an EV will serve you very well, even during the winter. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend more money on a long-range battery or simply purchase an ICE vehicle.
ICEs have been widely used for over a century; they’re more efficient than ever, and they’re only going to become more efficient. The reason for that is that automakers profit much more from investing in emissions equipment research for their ICE vehicles than they do from investing in EV research. The reason is simple: emissions equipment benefits their entire line-up, while an EV brings them only a small percentage of their entire profits. It’s safe to say that automakers aren’t done with ICEs.
Electric batteries and EVs are relatively new to us, which only means that there’s enormous room for improvement. As we move towards renewable energy, EVs are going to become more efficient and beneficial. In turn, automakers are going to focus much more on electrics, making them more accessible to everyone. For now, we can only speculate about the details, but we can all agree that EVs have a bright future.
Are Electric Cars Better?
Electric cars aren’t better or worse. They have many advantages and a few major drawbacks, and they should be used alongside gas vehicles. As long as you have the resources, an EV can certainly be advantageous, but it cannot be the only vehicle you own, at least for now.