By Lucas Canter
In the past, electric cars have been for the upper class, with luxury models targeting the wealthy and affordable electric cars being hard to find As electric vehicles become more popular and the number of offered models increases, the prices of these previous “luxury” only cars have decreased greatly. However, even with the increase in the variety of styles and the lower cost of electric vehicles, charging stations for electric cars are much more infrequent than gas stations. This has proved a problem for those who own electric cars. Fortunately, at-home chargers have begun to storm the market, making it much easier and cheaper to charge electric vehicles. Despite some slight drawbacks, electric cars bring along several benefits that would make them a great choice for anyone.\
The regular fuel cost for an electric vehicle every year in the United States is $485, while the average fuel cost for a gas-powered car is an astounding $1,117. Based on these numbers, if you keep your vehicle for 15 years (the average lifespan of a car), you’d be saving close to $10,000 on fuel costs with an electric vehicle. These savings make amends for the strikingly higher average price tag on an electric vehicle.
On top of the fact that the cost to power an electric automobile is so much cheaper, there are also programs in place that can help individuals save money. It’s also estimated that individuals who own an electric vehicle would save on average $4,600 compared to owning a gas-powered car. Aside from the savings, electrical vehicles have a lesser impact on the environment. However, some of these “green” cars might not be as environmentally friendly as they are advertised to be. The fueling power for these electric vehicles relies entirely on coal, the usage of which varies worldwide due to regional fluctuations. Most of the time, carbon dioxide emissions for every mile driven are much lower for electric vehicles. Still, in some places, like coal-heavy grids in the midwestern United States, a typical electric car can produce more pollutants than a hybrid car (a car running on both a battery and gasoline).
Another significant issue is determining whether the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles is ethical or not. In places like the Republic of Congo, children are forced to mine dangerous materials from the Earth with nothing but simple hand tools to obtain the raw materials for these batteries.
That being said, recycling these batteries for grid storage is an excellent solution to cleaning up these coal-heavy grids. Currently, only about 5% of these lithium-ion batteries are being recycled. Companies like BMW and Nissan have already begun to reuse the batteries to reduce coal usage at various grids.
Ultimately, electric cars are the best bet if you care for the environment and want to save some money in the long run, but you should also realize that there are still numerous ethical and environmental issues associated with electric vehicles.