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Advantages of the Electric Car

Updated on March 31, 2016
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After more than a century of existence, electric cars are finally gaining a share of the automotive market. The technology has a high price at the moment, but this is normal with any new technology and is expected to change in the near future. There are many reasons why the electric car is technologically superior to the gas car.

The Electric Car is More Energy Efficient

This is true, and by a wide margin. The average gas car has an efficiency in the range of 15 to 20%, while the electric car has an efficiency of 80%. In other words, if you purchase $10 worth of fuel for a gas car, up to $8.5 will be wasted as heat due to mechanical inefficiency and only $1.5 becomes actual movement. The electric car, on the other hand, converts $8 out of the $10 of electric charge into movement!

The electric car is more energy efficient even if the electric power comes from a plant powered by fossil fuels. The reason is simple, when fossil fuels are burned in power plants, they are burned more efficiently than when they're consumed in a car engine:

  • Coal and fuel oil plants have efficiencies in the range of 30% to 40%.
  • Natural gas power plants have efficiencies of up to 60% if combined cycle technology is used.

Ideally, the energy for an electric car should come from a renewable source... but even with today's fossil fuel dominated power grid, the electric vehicle is more energy efficient than the gas car.

The Electric Car is Environmentally Friendly

First and foremost, the electric car has no emissions. With this fact alone, it is already superior to the gas car with respect to environmental impact.

What it the electric power plants are powered by fossil fuels? The electric car is still more environmentally friendly than the gas car. As stated above, power plants burn fossil fuels with greater efficiency than cars, which means that a given volume of fossil fuels can power more electric cars than if that same amount of fuel was consumed by gas cars. Another important detail is that power plants are charged hefty carbon fees if they don't control emissions, while in gas cars the control of emissions is virtually nonexistent.

Electric Cars will Not be Phased Out by the Decline of Oil

A couple decades ago, a renowned geologist called Marion King Hubbert developed a mathematical model for oil production. According to the model, humanity will face a sharp decline in oil production before the 21st century is over. The model has been accurate for localized oil operations, so it would be logical to assume it will also predict the behavior of global oil production.

Once oil is displaced by renewable sources, owners of electric cars will be unaffected. The owners of gas cars, however, will be forced to invest in an electric car.

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    • WheelScene profile image

      WheelScene 13 months ago from U.S.A.

      Interesting article. I like how you included the graph for peak oil to compare the short term savings of buying gas vs long term savings of owning electric. what is your opinion on hybrid cars then? are they valuable or just a fad as we switch over to full electric vehicles?

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