Quieter, faster, and cheaper to run, there are a multitude of reasons that you may choose to replace your traditional petrol car for one of the new electric vehicles (EVs) on the market.
However, read any article about the future of EVs, and you are guaranteed to find one reason that stands above the rest: The Environment.
Advertised as the future of our roads, EVs (as suggested in the same) run off electricity. This means that no harmful tailpipe emissions (CO2, SO2, C) which are damaging to not only our health, but also the environment, are released. Despite being fairly new on the market, these benefits are being recognised by governments worldwide, and there already exist a whole host of government-backed incentives to convince people to make the switch.
In the UK, drivers of electric vehicles are entitled to a free pass of London’s congestion charge, and even a government grant towards purchasing their car! There are also power outlets for electric cars being installed in parking lots across the country, allowing drivers to charge up their car batteries before the drive home.
There are, of course, still some problems with EVs that need smoothing out. The limited mileage could prove troublesome, they are more expensive the purchase than traditional cars, and at the moment, there are very few models to choose from.
However, the main issue that critics have with EVs is, ironically, their main selling point: The Environment. Are EVs really better for the environment? After all, the electricity for the cars still has to be produced somewhere. Here in the UK, that “somewhere” is often in large power plants that burn fossil fuels, releasing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. As sceptics would say, the problem is not being solved; the emissions are simply being moved away from the public eye. Out of sight, and out of mind.
However, before denouncing EVs as overhyped, it’s worthwhile remembering that these days, there are many ways to produce energy other than by burning fossil fuels. If the electricity were produced by solar, wind, hydroelectric, or even nuclear power (although that would bring with it a whole new host of contentious issues), the emissions from the car could effectively be zero.
As it stands, only around 15% of electricity in the UK is produced renewably; the vast majority of energy is still generated through burning coal or gas, meaning that emissions are still high. However, it is undeniable that fossil fuels are being phased out, and it is estimated that by the year 2020 only 11% of the UKs electricity will come from burning fossil fuels. Add to this the upcoming new designs of EVs, such as built-in solar panels that can charge on the go, and engines with increased efficiency, and it is likely that electric cars could soon overtake their petrol counterparts. One thing is clear; and the future of electric cars is promising!