The Duel of Fuel and Electric
The history of automobile emphasizes on luxury, comfort, and aesthetics over performance, strength, speed and safety. This is true for its original necessity – transportation and conveyance. However, if we consider buying a car with more horsepower that is safe for everyday use and gives more mileage – gasoline-powered cars are the best choice – both for highways and racetracks.
The theory is not merely a wild speculation or desktop projection, it’s a real world simulation. The UC Davis has recently launched the “EV Project” that allowed the car-users to simulate their commute in an EV (Electric means) compared to a gas-powered means. The project found that, a 50-mile round-trip commute could save an electric 2014 Chevrolet Volt owner about $1,000 of annual fuel costs compared to driving a gasoline-based 2014 Ford Focus. However, pure electric cars are more expensive than their gas-based counterparts. for example, a 2018 Ford Focus costs less than $18,000, while the 2018 Chevrolet Volt will set consumers back more than $34,000 and the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt will take more than $38,000. Solving the equation in this hypothetical scenario, it would take the Chevy owner more than 17 years to recoup the additional costs of buying an Electric. In other words, EVs are not appropriate for the users who plan to keep up on to the means for a long period of time. EVs also cost more upfront than gas-based cars. They need supporting charging infrastructure, plug-in accessibility and specialized maintenance workshops, which are not adequate however to meet the rising consumer need.
The additional concern is spiced up when it comes to mileage and range. With a single charge, most of the elite EVs like Tesla form X, form S, form 3, Chevrolet Bolt, and 2018 Nissan Leaf can run only 225 miles on an average in an ideal scenario. This number can get as low as 170 on cold or hot days with heater or AC running complete blast. Hybrids and gas-based cars are better options in this case. To get complete possible of the Hybrids, some auto buyers opt for the Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV). A 2018 Chevrolet Volt, for example, has 53 miles of electric range, and a traditional gas tank for longer trips up to 420 miles.
It is true that EVs are ecosystem friendly but they are not necessarily clean as the electricity is generated somehow. It is comparable to using the same fossil fuel – only cleaner. The EVs run on lithium-ion battery, which needs to be mined from the ground. Chemically, lithium is a corrosive alkali metal which disposes hazardous gaseous derivatives when it comes in contact with moisture, resulting in increased ecosystem pollution. In application, this may cause the EVs to release hazardous gases or already catch fire if they are stored in a cold weather or are not properly maintained. The current electric infrastructure of such technology does not provide provision for reusing the batteries or recalibrating the disposal costs. Fuel-based cars can be easily rebuilt, their engines swapped and fuels filtered; but not so currently with an Electric.
The technology of the “Future Transportations” is nevertheless young and expensive than their gas-based cousins. The EVs may be easier to charge, but they cost more in the medium-long run. already the most progressive EV batteries use out ultimately and need frequent substitute. For such substitute, Tesla form 3 battery pack costs $190 per kWh and Chevy Bolt battery pack $205 per kWh. The charging stations are another link to the EV sustenance. In a euphoric state, consumers can skip the gas stations and ‘fill-up’ their EV either from a charging stop on their way to work or by an additional solar range sitting in their home. In reality, while gas stations can be found every 1 mile on a regular highway, EV battery charging stations may not be found that often. People living in apartments or condos may find it difficult to get the charging plug-ins. At a high cost, the plug-ins are now obtainable only in the most progressive countries, such as the US and Western Europe. Not to mention, this becomes a deal breaker for many new buyers and gives headache to auto owners in the developing countries.
The perennial argue gains much traction over automobile safety issue. In theory, EVs are less combustible than gas cars. However, once caught on flame, EVs are hard to put out. In October 2017, a Tesla form S caught fire after it crashed into a concrete obstacle on Ahlberg Expressway in Austria. The incident took 35 firefighters to extinguish the blaze. Recently, on March 23, 2018, a Tesla form X rammed headfirst into an unshielded median on Highway 101 in California and caught on fire. The blaze shut the highway for 5 hours which became a nightmare for the firefighters to put out. The EV motors are not responsible for such disastrous accidents. The potent villains are the lithium-ion batteries that can fuel hotter fires and release intense heat and are harder to extinguish. The battery fires further generate a range of toxic fumes, smoke and gas that present greater danger for daily commute and the ecosystem. At present, only a handful personnel from the EV makers have the skill in tackling such electrical emissions and hazards. The state firefighters and general commuters are not always aware of this ‘technological knowhow’ as the EVs do not come with a detailed manual of ‘101 of Putting Out your EV Fire’!
The recent crashes are bringing back the argue on whether EVs are safer than diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles when it comes to safety. In black and white, the Tesla form X may have a perfect score for crash test safety rating. But hands-on experiences and records always prove stronger than rainbow promises and white-washed lab results. With technological breakthrough EVs may be the harbinger of transportation dramatical change in the coming decades. Battery packs substitute cost may drop to as little as $73 per kWh after 2030 and the current range anxiety may become a thing of past. The Hybrids and EVs may offer greater options and more convenience to the demanding consumer end and new commercial setup. But at this stage, if we consider road safety for tension-free travel, it is easier to bet on the ‘combustion’ engines over the battery run motors.