The unbiased pros and cons of electric cars

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Electric cars have been gaining popularity in recent years as people look for more sustainable and eco-friendly modes of transportation.

With advancements in technology, electric cars are becoming more accessible and affordable for the average consumer. However, like any other technology, electric cars have their advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, electric cars may help reduce your carbon footprint, and can be cheaper to maintain and operate than traditional cars.

On the other hand, electric cars are more expensive than comparable petrol-powered cars, and might not work for your lifestyle due to a lack of charging infrastructure where you live.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your individual needs and preferences. The pros and cons of electric cars depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, lifestyle, and where you live.

This article explores the pros and cons of electric cars from an unbiased perspective.

Electric car advantages

1. Electricity can be way cheaper than petrol: Driving an electric car means no buying or paying for fuel – you pay for electricity instead, which can be significantly cheaper. Except for long distance trips where you have to use rapid chargers, it is usually cheaper to run an electric car.

2. Cheaper Maintenance: Electric cars have significantly fewer parts, which makes maintenance and repair much cheaper. Besides, there is no oil to change, no air filters, no spark plugs, and no engine cooling system.

3. Reduced Carbon Emissions: Electric cars produce no emissions and are among the most eco-friendly vehicles on the road. This has increasingly become an important issue as the focus on climate change intensifies.

4. Improved Residential Value: Studies have shown that homes have sold for 1.5 – 2.5% more when they have a charging station installed. This is partly due to the value they add to the property and the convenience they offer to electric car drivers.

5. Exempt from clean air zones: Because electric cars and vans don’t produce emissions, they are free to travel in clean air zones. This further reduces the costs of running them because you don’t have to pay a fee to enter the zone.

6. Smooth driving experience: With no gears to slog through and instant power and torque, electric cars are smoother than their combustion-engine counterparts.

7. Quietness: Electric cars are quieter than ICE cars, with the sound of an engine replaced by the subtle whine of an electric motor.

Electric car disadvantages

1. High upfront cost: The initial cost of electric vehicles is typically more expensive than vehicles with a petrol or diesel engine. While the cost of electric cars has been decreasing over the years (you can now find decent used Mercedes cars and other used electric cars at a fair price), they still come at a higher price point.

On a side note, electric cars are expected to have price parity with ICE cars by 2026. However, this depends on the global supply chain.

2. Limited driving range: Most electric vehicle batteries have an average driving range of 150 to 250 miles per charge. This may not be ideal for long-distance road trips unless charging stations exist along the route.

3. Long charging time: It can take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle battery (a 7.4kW charger takes around 7 hours in most cases). Rapid chargers can give you an 80% charge in 18-30 minutes (18 minutes with 800v technology), but rapid chargers cost a lot of money to use.

4. Limited charging station availability: Public charging stations for electric vehicles are not as widely available as petrol stations, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, maintenance of public chargers has a way to go.

Weighing up the benefits of an EV

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular due to a number of factors, including environmental concerns, cost savings, convenience, and technological advancements.

The environmental benefits of electric vehicles are significant, as they produce no emissions and use energy more efficiently than combustion engine vehicles.

Electric cars produce no harmful tailpipe emissions, making them better for the environment than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles.

Related: How to choose an EV home charger

Since electric cars are powered by electricity from the grid, they use energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power, which produce virtually no carbon emissions.

In addition, electric cars can be recharged with renewable energy sources, further reducing your carbon footprint. Electric cars are also quieter and smoother, reducing air and noise pollution.

Aside from financial savings, electric vehicles are also highly convenient, as they offer the flexibility of being able to fuel up in the comfort of one’s own home.

Finally, advances in technology have dramatically improved the range of electric vehicles and provided them with semi-automated, self-driving capabilities.

Related: Hybrid vs electric cars.

Government initiatives and policy changes, such as the recent ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, are paving the way for more widespread use of electric vehicles in the future.

Should you buy an electric vehicle?

For most people, the question of if you should buy an electric vehicle is actually a matter of when.

Right now, limited charging infrastructure and charging speeds are the biggest cons to owning an electric vehicle. However, these will improve in the future.

Another useful advancement in electric car battery technology is increased cell cycle life. Cells with longer life-spans can now be used in electric car batteries and these cells are capable of storing more energy and staying in good condition longer.

EV batteries have been designed and optimized to have better thermal management and other durability-enhancing features, resulting in improved battery reliability. This means that electric cars today are less likely to experience power outages, even in extreme temperatures, than vehicles from five years ago.

Ultimately, you can adopt the technology now, or wait a few years for it to get better. Either way, we don’t think you will be disappointed if you have realistic expectations.

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!