Thursday, March 10, 2011

Electric Vehicles - Myth vs Reality

A recent article on the Sierra club website talked about Myths vs Realities of electric vehicles (EVs).  So much to learn.....hoping to spread the word by re-writing their article here.  
Disclaimer - I drive a Prius - though have been thinking about EVs for a while.

1. Myth - Switching from pollution through tailpipe to pollution through electricity generation
Reality - Emissions for electric cars are significantly lower than a conventional car.  However when compared against a hybrid car - check the source of your electric supply - the more renewables used as opposed to coal - the greater the benefit.

2. Myth - Electric cars will only lead to more coal and nuclear power plants.
Reality - Existing grids have enough nighttime capacity to power the electric vehicles.  The idea is to just distribute the load - which smart grids can facilitate  or may simply require owners to plug in at night, which most people might do anyway.

3. Myth - Electric car batteries pose a recycling problem.
Reality - Conventional car battery recycle rate in the US is 98%.  The lithium iron batteries used in electric vehicles have even more valuable recyclable metals and will have a life way beyond the vehicle.

4. Myth - My electricity bill will go way up.
Reality - Yes of course your electric bill will go up - but it will be more than compensated by the disappearance of your gas bill.

5. Myth - Electric Vehicles will just fail again like they did before.
Reality - Car manufacturers and the public sector have invested heavily in electric car infrastructure and research which leads us to believe they are here to stay.  Rest I believe is up to us.

6. Myth - My battery will run out of juice.
Reality - Well - this is going to require some discipline and some infrastructure for long distance travel.  However for most commutes and local travel the numbers support the EV.

7. Myth - EV are much more expensive than traditional vehicles.
Reality - Yes they will be - however take into account the Federal Tax incentives for the EV as well as charging stations and the incentives offered by most States.  Add to that the fuel savings, which will tip you over to make your decision.

8. Myth -  Electric vehicles are only available in California.
Reality - While CA usually leads such initiatives, more and more states are signing on.  Read the article for details on which EV is available in which state.

Visit the Sierra Club article for more information and research references.

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