An electric car is an automobile that is driven by one or more electric motors. If the electricity is generated or recharged by traditional fuel (typically gasoline), then the vehicle may be further classified as a hybrid electric car.
While such cars still consume energy, much of which is currently produced by burning fossil fuels (which are unsustainable), the use of electricity as a means of transporting and storing that energy introduces a number of significant benefits:
- Transporting electricity does not itself require a vehicle for transportation; it is generally transported via electrical wires, with limited and predictable loss per mile. While there is still debate about the health effects of high-voltage electrical wires, the degree and scale of possible pollution caused by such is clearly one or more orders of magnitude lower than that caused by transportation of fossil fuels.
- There are many alternatives for mass production of electrical power (many more options than there are for power portable enough to use in a vehicle, anyway). Replacing most combustion-engine based cars with electric cars would effectively solve a huge part of the environmental issues we currently deal with, freeing up many work hours to focus on cleaning up our electrical mass production infrastructure.
- Conversion of electricity into mechanical power is considerably more efficient than for chemical fuel
- Electric motors are much easier to repair and maintain than are combustion engines
- Electric motors are much quieter than are combustion engines. On one level this is purely an aesthetic concern, but on another level the excessive noise caused by combustion engines surely must have hidden costs; it isn't called "noise pollution" just to make it sound worse.
While electric vehicles are only "cleaner" (or "greener") than fossil-fueled cars under most circumstances and are arguably dirtier under some, they are not themselves inherently polluting. they are also, overall, significantly less polluting than cars powered directly by fossil fuel. Further, they have the potential to be powered entirely by sustainable energy sources, which is not currently possible for gasoline engines.
They are therefore an essential part of a long-term solution for making transportation sustainable and eliminating oil dependence, in the absence of a technological breakthrough that presents other solutions.
- Conservapedia "It is probable that some type of fossil fuel would have been used to generate the electricity in the first place, in some cases all the electric car really does is move the pollution somewhere else. However, due to the poor efficiency of small internal cumbustion engines and the relatively high efficiency of power generating stations, electric cars produce less polution and consume less fuel even when run entirely on fossil-fuel based power."
dKosopedia: no information as of 2014-05-15 SourceWatch: no information as of 2014-05-15
- 2014/04/23 [L..T] [[2014/04/23/An extremely short guide to vehicle emissions|]]
- 2013/09/09 [L..T] How Green Is a Tesla, Really?
- 2007-02-14 Hybrid cars dangerously quiet for pedestrians: US blind group: well obviously they have identified a problem, but saying that the cars need to be as loud as IC engines is just ridiculous. We can't be held back from solving one problem (auto noise pollution) just because it creates a lesser problem. There are undoubtedly better solutions to the noise-detection problem than just making the cars artificially loud. --Woozle 14:03, 14 February 2007 (EST)
- 2006-12-11 Study finds enough electric capacity to "fill up" plug-in vehicles across much of the nation: yes, we do have enough electric power to replace the power from gasoline, especially if we don't do it all at once (which would be very difficult to achieve in any case)
- 2006-08-18 Behind the wheel of the Tesla by Matt Nauman, Mercury News: a new and powerful but pricey electric car enters limited production (no mention of the car's travel range...)
- 2006-07-06 Subject: Electric Cars: letter to Jerry Pournelle (2nd entry for Thursday), with response
- 2006-06-30 The Mysterious Murder of the Electric Car by Hannah Eaves, Grist Magazine