By AMANDA DALEY
Electric cars are beginning to become more popular and are said to be better for the environment. With the rise of this, it is important to understand what an electric car is, the difference between electric and gasoline powered cars, and if they really are better for the environment.
An electric car is powered by electricity instead of gasoline. The motor gets energy from a controller, which then regulates the amount of energy that is used based on the driver’s use of the gas pedal. The energy that the car uses comes from a rechargeable battery, which can be recharged by plugging into an electric outlet.
One major problem with electric cars has been their inability to go long distances. That may now be changing. As stated on hybridcars.com, “As battery technology improves—simultaneously increasing energy storage and reducing cost—major automakers are expected to begin introducing a new generation of electric cars.”
Electric cars typically produce no tailpipe emissions, are cheaper to operate, and reduce our dependency on oil. This will overall reduce our carbon footprint. Electric cars are also more convenient. You never have to go to a gas station because you can charge your car at home, and you never have to do an oil change, which also cuts down on the emissions into the environment.
“I do a lot of driving around and my car eats up so much gas, so to be able to charge my car at home and not spend $70 on gas is a major plus.” said Glenn Davis of Hazlet, NJ.
In an article on technorati.com, the author, Devon Bass, explored how much money you would save by switching to an electric car. He said that if your car gets around 25 miles to the gallon, and gas costs about $3.75 per gallon, you would save about $90 a month. However, the replacement battery can be very pricey. It can cost up to $7 thousand.
Though you would be saving on gas per month, you really aren’t saving money in the long run. According to an article in the New York Times, a buyer purchased a Nissan Leaf over a Nissan Versa. This driver would have to drive his electric car for nine years at today’s gas prices before his fuel savings “would outweigh the $10 thousand difference in price.” It was also said in the article that the Volt, which costs roughly $40 thousand, would take 27 years to pay off versus the Chevrolet Cruze.
In an article on scientificamerican.com, it was stated that in a 2007 study, the cost to charge an electric car in comparison to buying gas would be the same as 75 cents per gallon to charge an electric car. “I would rather pay 75 cents a gallon than almost $4 a gallon any day,” said Glenn Davis.
Chevy Goes Electric
So, you may be wondering what kinds of electric cars are out there and how much they cost. One type of electric car is the Chevy Volt. This car starts as low as roughly $32 thousand, and “it runs on more than just electricity,” as stated by Chevy. You can drive the Volt using electricity and go about 35 miles, or you can drive using gas for about 375 miles. It is shown on Chevy’s website that a total of roughly $1.8 million has been saved in gas just by driving the Volt, and that number is on the rise.
Toyota has also released their most famous hybrid car in plug in form. The Toyota Prius is now available as an electric car. The cost of the new Prius starts at roughly $32 thousand. To operate this car you must have gasoline in the tank, though you may only use the electricity portion of it, you still need gasoline to operate the car.
Mitsubishi has also released an electric car called the Mitsubishi I-MiEv. This car sits four people. On a single charge this Mitsubishi can travel around 62 miles. When you combine gasoline, it can drive around 112 miles.
The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is completely gas free. It runs only on electricity and starts at around $27 thousand. Also, by purchasing the Nissan Leaf you can get a federal tax refund of up to $7,500. Not only can you charge your Nissan Leaf by plugging it in, but it also has solar power capability.
“In my opinion the Nissan Leaf seems like it is the most efficient on cutting down on emissions since it does not require any gasoline,” Glenn Davis said.
Leslie Cooper of Ringwood, NJ, said, “As the owner of bigger cars, I would definitely consider buying an electric car for my next vehicle. I spend so much on gasoline as it is between my truck and my husband's truck, it would be nice to be able to save a little money and help the environment at the same time.”
“I don’t really know how well they would be going long distances,” said Alexis Zaffino, who also lives in Ringwood, NJ. “I don’t know if I personally would trust them for big road trips, but for driving around town and knowing there is a plug in station, I would consider going electric.”
It seems as though electric cars have come a long way from their beginnings. They are constantly improving battery life and coming up with new ways to make electric cars more efficient. As someone who travels a lot, I don’t think I would go electric just yet, at least not until the battery life improves much more. I think that it is definitely good to go electric if you feel adventurous enough. It is something that can change our future and reduce emissions into the atmosphere.
“Going electric is something that many people need to consider; we have the chance to cut down on emissions, why wouldn’t we consider it more as a real option of transportation,” Davis said.
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Amanda Daley is a senior at Ramapo College majoring in Communication Arts-Journalism. She has a passion for fashion, and hopes to one day combine her love for fashion and writing and become a fashion journalist and work for a magazine.