Electric Cars Aren’t Just for Environmentalists

Many people think electric cars are just for “tree huggers” or those concerned with global warming. It’s past time to turn that notion on its head. Electric cars aren’t just for environmentalists — they never were. There are seven other strong reasons why an informed car buyer could get jazzed about driving electric, and trade the pump for a plug.

1. Performance. Sleek, fast accelerating, super performing all-electric cars is a world of possibilities which Elon Musk and Tesla Motors have opened to many. But you don’t need to afford a Ludicrous Mode, 0–60 in 2.4 seconds Tesla to enjoy inherently better electric performance. Any electric motor has more of something called torque, or tire-turning rotational force from the get-go than its equivalent internal combustion engine only counterpart.

· Jack Rabbit. And unlike a gasoline engine which needs to rev up high to provide more torque, electric motors give 100% of their torque right off the line.

· Handling. In addition, most electrics also offer inherently better handling and ride. This is due to the battery pack location, which is usually under the car and more centrally located. This gives excellent low center of gravity, and a drive experience that hugs the corners.

· Luxury Performance. All of this is why so many luxury-performance drivers are pleasantly surprised they can make the switch to an electric that actually costs the same or less and still drives great. When it first launched, the #4 trade in for a Chevy Volt was the BMW 3-series, but there’s a new game in town and now the Tesla Model 3 is eating BMW’s lunch.

· Quiet. And finally, the driving experience is further improved by much reduced engine noise and vehicle vibration — a driving experience one could only get previously in say a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom.

· Video. To see what I mean, check out this Video — Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari F12 1/4 Mile Drag Racing

2. Reliability. “EVs have 10-times fewer moving parts than a gasoline powered car,” says advocacy group Plug in America. This means lower maintenance requirements and fewer things that can mechanically wear out or fail, which results in higher long term reliability.

· Mature Technology. One could argue that this is new technology, with some kinks to be ironed out, and there could be some truth to that for certain new electric models. However the previous generation of gasoline hybrids using similar technology proved to be very reliable over the past 20 years, and the now 7 year old first generation of plug in electrics are following suit.

· Less Wear. Because electric cars all have regenerative brakes, the brake pads and rotors don’t wear as quickly, and may even last the life of the vehicle with little or no maintenance. And even plug in hybrid electrics, which carry an engine as a backup, have lower maintenance requirements as their engine just isn’t in use that often, sometimes not for weeks at a time.

· Fewer Oil Changes. No or fewer oil changes and other engine related maintenance also saves money and time (more on that later). And the batteries and electronic systems are all warrantied for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles, and proving they perform well beyond that.

· Video — “Why You Can Expect Reliability from an Electric Car” (electric rEVolution, Episode 2, part 1)

3. Convenience. Way too much emphasis is put on that electric cars need to use public charging stations, and the time it takes to charge them while there (at least the battery only ones, for the plug in hybrid electrics, public charging always optional only) But the true daily and weekly use of an EV provides far greater convenience than the way we drive and fuel now. A colleague recently told me “I had to stop for gas on the way in to work, and it was raining, the wind whipping up and messing up my hair, the last thing I want to have to stop and do on my way to work!”

· “Full” Each Morning. But you charge an electric car like a cell phone — overnight, while you sleep. Sort of like having a gas pump in your garage. With an electric car you wake up back on “Full” and ready to drive.

· No Hassle. And for many drivers, the car comes with all you need to get started, as charging can be done with the included adapter and a standard accessible outlet that most households already have in a garage or on the side of their house near the driveway. If you want to get a quicker charge, a Level 2 type charger could be purchased and installed, but it isn’t required to get the daily electric mileage most people need, especially if it’s a plug in hybrid electric which has gasoline back-up anyhow.

· Priceless. It may seem like a small benefit, but never having to stop for gas again on the way in to work is in fact priceless!

4. Personal Cost Savings — Electric cars may cost more initially to buy, but they offer long term cost savings that often can’t be beat. In many cases, after federal and/or state incentives are factored in, this savings makes EV costs less total to own over five years than an a comparable gasoline only vehicle. This is in part because the average long term price of electricity is less than half what gasoline would cost for the same driving, and in part because of those far lower maintenance requirements that also save you time as well.

· Save Money. Check out my previous piece on this topic, “Why Driving an Electric Car Could Actually Save You Money” and also Drive Electric America’s TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis that compares the long term costs of electrics and gasoline cars.

5. Domestic re-investment. The concept is simple: Money not sent out of the country for foreign products (and much of oil is still imported, as it is a global commodity) means that money instead stays in the domestic or even local economy, which in turn equates to better local economic prospects for all, and also more local job creation. This concept and the following reason number 6 were in fact the impetus behind the federal government’s bi-partisan support for incentives to promote electric vehicles and other energy efficiency initiatives that shift us away from petroleum. Read about the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

6. Energy security. Much of the global supply of oil comes from unstable regions of the world, or from nations that our relationship is more adversarial than friendly. The US accounts for 1/5 the entire world’s petroleum usage (and American drivers alone account for nearly half of that consumption), and so our military must protect the global oil supply routes around the world. This is at a cost of billions of dollars, not only for the regular security but also the Wars have been fought for oil. And terrorism remains a threat in part due to oil-related geopolitical issues. Reportedly some terrorist groups are funded by oil-rich foreign nations.

7. Human health. Not to be confused with the environmental concerns that affect our planet, this is about public health issues and associated costs which affect us all. By switching to an electric car, you could be drastically reducing the particle pollution and other toxins that the drilling, transport, refining, and burning of petroleum create. And then there are all the other toxins in engine exhaust like benzene that can lead to cancer and other health problems.

· Hidden Costs of Gasoline. This is not only a societal concern for the well-being of our own lungs and those of our fellow citizens, but also a financial concern, as health problems have a hidden economic burden.

· Less Harmful Particle Pollution. You don’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate the power of these benefits to improve air quality, especially in urban, highly populated areas. In fact, the majority of today’s electricity generation sources, when used to charge an electric car, reduce this harmful particle pollution by at least 50% or more, according to research published by the National Academy of Sciences.

There you are: A piece on why electric cars make sense for everyone, not just environmentalists, and only once did I mention the words Global Warming…Umm, oops. :)