We asked people on the street about when they felt the Electric Vehicle was first invented, many give dates within the last 2 decades. Swiftly they recall memories of the General Motors EV1, which debuted in 1996 and was then pulled from the market amid controversy in 2002. When we explain that their answers are off by over 150 years, a look of disbelief comes over them. While several inventors have been credited to inventing the first electric vehicle, we know that they were first on the roads, or dirt paths, around 1828. But what about modern electric vehicles?
The modern Electric Vehicle or EV for short, is powered by an electric motor with rechargeable battery packs and EVs have a few advantages over traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. On average an internal combustion engine will convert 20% of the chemical energy from gasoline to power the wheels. Comparing that figure with the 75% conversion of chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels in an EV, you can easily see the energy efficiency gains over traditional cars. While you will have to recharge an EV’s battery packs, normally off the domestic energy grid, this energy is produced in the U.S. with local resources. Domestic energy production and consumption reduces our dependence on foreign oil which saves money, creates jobs and helps with national security efforts. Electric vehicles often are fun to drive as well, with quicker acceleration, smoother rides and quieter operation when compared to a traditional car.
Before making the leap into a modern electric vehicle, you will want to consider some of the perceived issues electric vehicles have been facing. On element is driving range, EVs like the Nissan Leaf, will only travel 100-200 miles before needing to recharge. More upscale EVs such as the Tesla Model S have capacities of 300+ miles per charge meaning the technology is advancing. Another drawback is the recharge time; it usually takes up to 4 hours to fully charge an EV vs. minutes at a gas pump for a traditional car. The electric vehicle may not be ready to take you from Atlanta to San Francisco but the average commute is less than 20 miles. Consider the environmental gains of using an EV for daily activities vs. that of your driving needs to help decide whether an EV is right for you.
From reducing your carbon footprint, to having the cool car on the block, an EV is a green choice when it comes to your daily commute. Don’t forget that the modern electric vehicle is here to stay and has a heritage of over 150 years of steady improvements. When you combine improved battery technologies with renewable energy sources, EVs can help lessen the impact of global warming and charge us into a new age of travel.