Electric Vehicles Promote Green Living

Consumers seeking to reduce their impact on the environment can easily make changes by taking into account various electric vehicles now on the market. Most car manufacturers offer at least one model, vehicles that have no emissions and offer the equivalent of greater than 100 mpg driving. Going electric may be advantageous to you, so consider the following when exploring this new vehicle purchase option to achieve your green living goals.

Definition

To choose electric vehicle means to define an electric vehicle. The EV category is broad and includes all vehicles that have at least partial electric generating capabilities including hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Pure electric vehicles run only electricity only and are charged in to replenish the energy source. Such vehicles include the Tesla Roadster, the battery electric Ford Focus, CODA Sedan, Mitsubishi i-MieV, Toyota RAV4 EV and the Fiat 500E. Some models are available in limited markets, such as California, while others have a broader distribution range.

Environmental

It goes without saying that EVs are environmentally friendly vehicles with just a small impact on the environment. That impact includes the energy they derive from coal-generated power plants and the eventual disposal of worn out parts.

The Environmental Protection Agency notes that EVs convert approximately 59 to 62 percent of its energy used to power the wheels compared with 17 to 21 percent for conventional gasoline engines. Electricity is a domestic energy source and can be derived from coal, solar, nuclear, hydro and wind generating power sources.

Challenges

To paint an accurate picture of EVs, consumers must be aware of certain shortcomings that must be weighed when exploring EV purchase. Those shortcomings include vehicle range, recharge times, battery cost and the weight of electric vehicles.

Most EVs have a driving range of at least 70 miles to no more than 100 miles. One model, the pricey Tesla S, has a range of more than 250 miles. Recharge times can interrupt your trip and take four to eight hours to complete. Faster recharges with a quick charge recharger can replenish your battery to 80 percent charge capacity in just 20 to 30 minutes. The limited range of such vehicles produces what is called "range anxiety" for potential buyers, enough to chase many people away from considering EVs.

Because EVs are powered by technologically advanced and expensive electric propulsion systems that store energy in lithium-ion or similar batteries, these cars cost far more than equivalent gas-powered models. Those costs are passed along to the consumer, but can be partially defrayed by taking a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 per vehicle. Also, the bulkier battery systems mean that cabin or storage room, sometimes both, are restricted by the battery pack’s intrusion into the car.

Considerations

While an EV may be desirable for some consumers, car shoppers can eliminate range anxiety and achieve a more positive environmental impact by choosing one of various hybrid models available. Such models can tap a back up energy source, an internal combustion engine, when needed and effectively extend range by hundreds of miles. Consumers still get available electric-only power, producing a net reduction in emissions and fuel use compared to conventional cars. Models to consider include the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford C-MAX, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu ECO and Cadillac ELR.

The long range prospects for EVs improves as these cars gain wider adoption and costs begin to fall as such vehicles become mass produced. Volume production spreads costs across more models, enabling car manufacturers to hold prices steady or reduce them as demand increases and technology improves. As that happens green living will become more commonplace, enabling all of us to enjoy a cleaner environment.

Author Information
Neil Dunsmore is a consumer energy expert, helping ordinary Americans secure extraordinary deals on their energy bills. Visit Electric.com for more information.

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