The Electric Vehicle: To EV, or Not to EV? That is the Question.
It might surprise you that we’d even mention the words “Electric Vehicle“ on a site primarily focused on supporting gas and diesel equipment. After all, wouldn’t it be easier just to ignore the elephant in the room? It may surprise you more for us to acknowledge that an EV could be the best choice for you. Yes, really. So, let’s explore.
Unless you already own an electric vehicle, you are relegated to the world of liquid-filled automobiles. We’re talking oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. And don’t forget about gasoline (or diesel) fuel. With all these fluids to maintain, you may ask yourself, “why wouldn’t you opt for an electric vehicle?” It’s no secret that electric vehicles are gaining exposure in the media every day, but there are two main detractors that might keep you from jumping on that EV bandwagon.
Start with asking yourself two questions.
What are your typical driving habits? And,
What are your reasons for considering the switch to electric?
Each of the above two questions require deeper exploration.
Driving Habits: Do you use your vehicle solely and exclusively for short trips, like commuting to and from work? Do you ever take longer trips to visit family or friends, travel the country, etc? If you drive longer distances, do you restrict yourself to highways and metro areas, or venture through rural routes? And do you ever tow a vehicle behind you? What about the time you tend to stop enroute for eating, fueling and resting?
Reasons for Considering the Switch: Is it primarily to be environmentally conscientious? Is it an economic decision to reduce fuel costs? Or perhaps, is it the desire to keep up with the latest fads and trends for progressive or social purposes?
There are no right or wrong answers to any of the questions. They are personal choices. Important, however, is that you make informed personal choices. Get the facts so you can make the right decisions for yourself. Otherwise you’ll be faced with a serious case of buyer’s remorse.
You’re likely already familiar with driving gas or diesel powered vehicles. They’ve been around for ages. More likely, you’re unfamiliar with the novelty and nuances of an electric vehicle, so let’s focus on EV considerations.
Electric Vehicle Shortcomings
The first huge downside to electric vehicles is a 2-pronged negative:distance limitations and the availability of charging stations along the way. The physical distance an electric vehicle can travel on a single charge is dismal. It’s extremely limiting at best. It won’t always be that way as technology improves. But in the here-and-now, you must work with what IS, and not what will be someday. You can find tech articles about future generations of electric vehicle batteries. Eventually, electric vehicles should be able to provide 400-500+ miles of travelling on one charge. But they’re not there yet. Realistically, you can anticipate 200 to 250 miles on a charge. Then you’d better be in proximity to a charging station or you might be left stranded on a long trip. Of course, towing or hauling decreases your distance-to-empty.
Electric vehicles aren’t expected to reach driving distances of gasoline powered vehicles for at least 4-6 years. And when that day comes, once you have driven 400-500 miles and depleted your battery, how long will it take to charge your battery? That’s, of course, assuming you are nearby a charging station. For electric vehicles to really supplant the gasoline engine, the charging infrastructure needs to be built up first. It’s cost prohibitive to create a wide-reaching, sustainable infrastructure for EVs. Electric car manufacturers eagerly promote vehicle sales, but the infrastructural support is lacking.
In the absence of actual charging stations, there are adapters and portable chargers available for interim charges. (It’s like carrying a spare gas can in case you run out of fuel.) But unless you actually plug into a rapid charger, your “fuel stops” in an electric vehicle can take upwards of 30-60 minutes. If you happen to be in the middle of nowhere when your battery gets low, you may have to ask a stranger to boondock for a recharge. Awkward.
Another major drawback of electric vehicles is that the cars (and industry itself) are in their infancy. Sure we’ve used electricity in homes and industry for over a hundred years. But the electric vehicle is still relatively untested. Very few mechanics have been trained on diagnosing and fixing systems in EVs. Accordingly, once your warranty expires and something breaks, there’s no history of repair costs. In other words, you can’t gauge vehicle maintenance and repair expenses in your family budget.
Environmental Motivation for Buying an Electric Vehicle
One of the primary considerations for getting an EV is the “green” impact on the environment. Keep in mind, today’s excitement about green energy ignores tomorrow’s problem of where and how to dispose of expended batteries.
As an alternative, keep this in mind:Synthetic oils and lubricants are much more environmentally friendly than conventional. Conventional oils and fossil fuels negatively impact the environment. Renewable sources from agriculture (ethanol) are being integrated to supplement today’s gasolines. Likewise, synthetics are cleaner, more efficient, and safer for the environment.
The EV Will Have Its Day
In considering an EV purchase, perhaps get one if you make short trips, stay within main traffic areas, never tow, and don’t mind long waits to recharge when enroute to your destinations. Otherwise, let the early-adopters be the guinea pigs, bear the expense, and discover the flaws. Once the kinks are worked out of EVs and the supporting infrastructure, the day will come when an electric vehicle is a more viable option. For now, we’d recommend relying on the tried-and-true gasoline engine. Save time by getting to your destinations without having to sit in your car and waiting for it to charge.
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