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Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Vehicles

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/21/2011

Electric vehicles (EVs) were used extensively in the U.S. in the early 1900s, but later their use was reduced due to increasing popularity of gasoline. Now that the price of gasoline is skyrocketing manufacturers are coming up with a variety of new electric cars.

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    Using electric vehicles (EVs) is not a new concept. In the early 1900s electricity was widely used in the US to run vehicles. Around this period more than 50,000 vehicles running on electricity traveled across US. However, as cheaper methods for production of gasoline were found reliance on electric vehicles dwindled. There has currently been a revival of electric cars due to rising gas prices and environmental concerns.

    In the EVs a battery is used to store electricity, and it has to be charged from time-to-time. The normal working range of the battery is from 50 to 130 miles, thereafter the battery has to be recharged. It takes around 6 to 8 hours for the battery to get recharged completely. The battery of the EV rotates the shaft of the motor, which in turn rotates the wheels of the vehicle.

    Companies have begun manufacturing a wide variety of EVs including passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, buses etc. Motorcycles running on electricity are becoming very popular in developing countries like India. To manufacture small EV motorcycles, you have to merely assemble the components, thus they are being marketed even by local manufacturers with very little knowledge of motorcycles.

    The only major problem with the EVs is that the battery has to be recharged regularly; so it is very important to monitor it. If you are traveling a long distance, this can be a major concern since you cannot charge the battery of your vehicle on the road. There are a small number of shopping malls, grocery stores and hotels in California and Arizona that provide points for charging the battery of the vehicle, as these are the states where EVs are the most popular.

    To avoid emergencies due to discharging of the battery, companies are now manufacturing hybrid vehicles. Hybrids run on electricity as well as gasoline or diesel. This means you don’t have to worry about the distance you are going to travel and the charging points. Although you will save on gas, the initial payment for EVs or hybrids is much more expensive than a gas-powered car. However, some still wonder about the practicality of such a car. Does it pay off?

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    Pros & Cons

    Here are some advantages of EVs using electricity as the alternate fuel:

    1) Electricity is readily available.

    2) Since there is no IC engine, the vehicle runs noiselessly, in fact many times you won’t even know that a vehicle has just passed you.

    3) There are no emissions from EVs making them environmental friendly.

    4) Manufacturing EVs is very easy; you have to merely assemble various components of the vehicle. This is especially true for small motorcycles or mopeds.

    5) EVs require less maintenance.

    Disadvantages of EVs:

    1) The major disadvantage of EVs is that the battery has to be charged regularly. The normal working range of battery is about 50-130 miles and it takes about 6-8 hours to recharge completely.

    2) If you are traveling a long distance, you may be at the risk of the battery running out. As such there are no battery charging stations available on roads and highways. In some states like California and Arizona, shopping malls and some stores offer charging facilities, but they are not available everywhere. In future the trend of providing charging points is surely going to spread across other businesses and states. To compensate for this, you can chose a hybrid car, which can run on gasoline when the battery runs out.

    3) Though the vehicle running on electricity does not produce pollution, the power plants producing electricity do produce pollution. The pollutants created by thermal power plants are one of major source of air-pollution. The electricity generated from solar energy is totally pollution free.

    Vehicle manufacturers are striving hard to improve the performance of EVs. They have come up with number of alternative arrangements like hybrid vehicles in which electricity as well as gasoline can be used as fuel to run the vehicle.