Thanks to the tireless efforts of Tesla, Nissan, and a few other independent companies, you can’t travel very far without running into a charging station in the USA.
This means that it is easier than ever to own an electric vehicle, though some segments are still lagging behind when it comes to electrification, which is why you won’t find a new Nissan Frontier with an EV variant.
Nevertheless, gas-free vehicles are becoming more popular and many automakers seem to be shifting towards a lineup devoid of traditional combustion engines. But until the rest of the world has the infrastructure to support this decision, we won’t be able to live in an emission-free utopia.
Hurdles To Overcome:
For many areas, especially in the developing world, fossil fuels continue to be the easy and affordable choice, despite increasing crude oil prices and dwindling supply.
This is because alternative fuel cars require a lot more prep work on the side of the government before they become viable en masse. Anyone can install a home charging station, but until such time as there is a public network in place, owning an EV is not logical.
Outside of the US, there are actually a lot of charging stations spread throughout the world. Europe, in particular, has a well-established network, as does China, Japan, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
However, South America, the whole of Africa, and large swathes of southern Asia are largely devoid of such infrastructure. These are also the countries that could most benefit from lower emissions and less reliance on fossil fuels. Sadly, the cost of getting these systems in place often discourages taking the leap.
Worth The Investment?
Many people ask whether or not an electric car is better than a gas-fed version, and motoring enthusiasts may argue vehemently that it is not. This isn’t because they lack power, since a set of electric motors can develop more horsepower and a lot more torque than your average combustion engine. To get your hands on something comparable, you’d have to spend millions of dollars on exotic hypercars, so this argument doesn’t really hold water.
What is undeniable is the savings when it comes to fuel economy and the fact that these emission-free vehicles are much easier on the environment. Still, they are not without their faults, which is why they haven’t quite taken over the automotive industry just yet. Here is a quick breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of your average EV:
- Nigh-unbeatable mileage figures
- High-tech interiors and standard features
- Tax incentives for owning ‘green’ cars
- Lots of power at your fingertips
- Available n a variety of configurations
- Higher initial price tags
- Limited range and long charge times
- Most are geared towards economy rather than fun
- Battery packs can eat up space in the back seat or trunk cargo capacity
Though EVs may be all the hype right now, they are not the only type of alternative fuel vehicles. Biofuel has been supplementing gasoline in cars for some time now, especially in large commercial fleets. It helps to offset some of the cost, but it can’t completely replace gasoline, so it isn’t viable in the long run. One of the top alternatives, though, is the hydrogen fuel cell.
These work on a similar premise to EVs, since the chemical reaction produces large amounts of electrical energy with which to power the systems and motors than drive the wheels. However, unlike EVs, these cars do not need to spend hours in a recharging bay between uses.
Instead, the fuel cells simply need to be replaced when they run out of juice. Unfortunately, they do still rely on a different form of infrastructure than a standard automobile, and refueling stations are rare, even in the United States.
Across the globe, not many nations have made much of an effort to support this alternative fuel source, which is a pity considering that it may be more efficient than even an electric vehicle.
A Matter Of Time:
It won’t be all that long before all our fossil fuels are used up and we are no longer able to produce gasoline for our cars. Try as we might extend the supply with the addition of biofuel or the substitution of synthetic fuels, the writing is on the wall. We will eventually need to shift over to electric or hydrogen power, which means the onus is upon automakers and governments to ensure that there is global support for this inevitable change.
It’s never too early to start doing your homework, though. Just about every automaker has started expanding its lineup of hybrids and EVs, so there are a lot of options to sift through.
Whether you want something affordable like a Hyundai Kona or Tata Tigor, or prefer a more luxurious electric roadster like a Tesla Model 3 or Volvo XC40, there is something for everyone.
Right now, they are still relatively novel, which means prices may seem high even with incentives, but once they become more mainstream, owning an electric car will become the new norm.