Benefits of Electric Vehicles

We love our cars (and trucks). They have long signaled our freedom, individuality, prosperity and mobility. Tucked safely away in our automobile, we are our own masters. What could be more seductive than the anticipation of a “road trip?” What could be more emblematic of our youth than the memories of our first car?

Yet, the automobile as we know it has turned into an ecological disaster. Transportation causes more heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) than any other energy sector in the US. Once a new vehicle is purchased it will continue to spew out these gases for years (average lifespan of a vehicle in the US is over 12 years according to The Bureau of Transportation Statistics).

We can’t go back to the horse and buggy, but we can utilize and invest in modern mass transit. Similarly, infrastructure and urban planning which embraces the “15 minute rule” (daily necessities are available within 15 minutes by walking or bike) should be encouraged. However, this is difficult in a rural state like Maine. It is hard to get away from our cars. The electric vehicle offers a compromise. Let’s look at their positives: 

  • They create less than half the GGE of a gas vehicle and are constantly improving with economies of scale, improved batteries, and better component recycling. As the grid is supplied with more renewable energy, EV charging will become greener and GGE will drop further. If you have access to solar, residential or community, your driving creates no GGE (you are driving on sunshine). 
  • They are so much simpler than gas vehicles. Regular cars have around 2,300 moving parts compared to 25 or so for an EV. Moving parts require maintenance. With an EV there is no transmission or exhaust system to go wrong. No oil to change. Brakes last longer with “regenerative braking” (the use of the electric motor to slow the car). 
  • You may pay more up front for an EV (although this too is changing) but if you look at the operating and maintenance expenses, the lifetime cost of an EV is actually less than for a gas car.
  • Used EVs last longer than gas cars because they are so much simpler. No worrying about how badly the previous owner abused the vehicle. If the battery life is still intact (easy to check), buying a used EV has less potential downside than buying a used fossil fuel vehicle. 
  • Range anxiety is real, but overblown. 95% of daily drives are under 50 miles. Even with a standard 120 volt “level 1” charger, you can easily charge 50-60 miles overnight at home. A 240 volt “level 2” charger will double that number. Click here to see a discussion of the best EV charging station maps       
  • EVs are just plain fun to drive. The instant torque from the electric motor creates immediate and remarkable acceleration. 

As with any change that attacks the status quo, myths abound. Read more about electric vehicle myths and get the facts here


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