Fuel vs. Electricity Duel

In the past, performance, power, speed, and safety have not been as prioritized in automobile design as luxury, comfort, and aesthetics. Its initial purpose as a means of transportation and conveyance bears this out. Gasoline-powered cars are the best option, both for highways and racetracks, if we’re looking to purchase a vehicle with more horsepower that is secure for daily use and offers better mileage.

The theory is based on actual world simulations, not just wild speculation or computer projections. The UC Davis has recently launched the “EV Project” that allowed the car-users to simulate their commute in an EV (Electric Vehicle) in contrast to a car running on gas. In comparison to driving a 2014 Ford Focus powered by gasoline, the project found that an electric 2014 Chevrolet Volt owner could save about $1,000 in annual fuel costs for a 50-mile round-trip commute. The cost of pure electric vehicles is higher than that of their gas-powered counterparts. For instance, the 2018 Ford Focus costs less than $18,000, whereas the 2018 Chevrolet Volt and the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt cost drivers more than $34,000 and $38,000, respectively. According to the equation in this fictitious case, it would take the Chevy owner more than 17 years to recoup the additional costs associated with purchasing an Electric vehicle. In other words, EVs are not recommended for users who intend to keep their cars for an extended period of time. EVs also have a higher initial cost than gas-powered vehicles. To meet the growing consumer demand, they require supporting infrastructure for charging, plug-in accessibility, and specialized maintenance shops.

When it comes to mileage and range, the additional worry is heightened. Most of the top electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model X, Model S, Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt, and 2018 Nissan Leaf, have an average range of only 225 miles on a single charge. On cold or hot days with the heater or AC running full blast, this number can fall as low as 170. In this situation, hybrids and gas-powered vehicles are preferable. Some auto buyers choose Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) to take advantage of the full potential of Hybrids. For longer trips of up to 420 miles, a 2018 Chevrolet Volt has a conventional gas tank in addition to its 53 miles of electric range.

Although it is true that EVs are environmentally friendly, the electricity they use is not always clean. Similar to using the same fossil fuel, but cleaner EVs use lithium-ion batteries, which must be mined from the earth. Chemically speaking, lithium is a corrosive alkali metal that, when in contact with moisture, emits dangerous gaseous derivatives that contribute to increased environmental pollution. When used, this could lead to the EVs emitting dangerous gases or even catching fire if they are kept in a cold environment or are not maintained properly. Reusing batteries or adjusting disposal costs are not currently possible with such technology’s electric infrastructure. Fuel-based vehicles can be easily rebuilt, their engines switched out, and their fuels filtered; an electric vehicle, however, cannot.

The technology of the “Future Transportations” is still young and expensive than their gas-based cousins. While EVs may be simpler to charge, their medium-term costs are higher. Even the most advanced EV batteries eventually need to be replaced because of wear and tear. Chevy Bolt battery packs cost $205 per kWh for such a replacement, compared to $190 for Tesla Model 3 battery packs. The EV sustenance system also includes the charging stations. In a euphoric state, consumers can avoid gas stations and ‘fill-up’ their electric vehicles (EVs) from a charging station while commuting to work or from a solar panel installed on their roof. In reality, EV battery charging stations might not be as common as gas stations, which can be found every mile on a regular highway. It might be difficult for people who live in apartments or condos to get the charging plug-ins. The plug-ins are currently only accessible in the most developed nations, like the US and Western Europe, at a high price. Additionally, many first-time buyers find this to be a deal-breaker, and owners of cars in developing nations experience problems as a result.

The ongoing argument over car safety is becoming increasingly popular. Compared to gas vehicles, EVs are theoretically less combustible. EVs are challenging to extinguish once they catch fire, though. A Tesla Model S caught fire in October 2017 on the Ahlberg Expressway in Austria after colliding with a concrete barrier. To put out the fire, 35 firefighters were needed. A Tesla Model X recently caught fire on March 23, 2018, after crashing head-on into an open median on California’s Highway 101. It took the firefighters five hours to put out the fire, which caused the closure of the highway. Such tragic accidents are not the result of EV motors. Lithium-ion batteries, which can start hotter fires, emit intense heat, and are more difficult to put out, are the real bad guys. A variety of toxic fumes, smoke, and gas are also produced by the battery fires, increasing the danger to the environment and daily commute. Only a small number of employees from the EV manufacturers currently possess the knowledge necessary to address these electrical emissions and hazards. Since EVs do not come with a comprehensive manual of “101 of Putting Out Your EV Fire,” state firefighters and regular commuters are not always aware of this “technological know-how.”

The question of whether electric vehicles are safer than diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles in terms of safety is once again being discussed in light of the recent crashes. The Tesla Model X might have a perfect rating for crash test safety if things were to be seen in black and white. However, practical knowledge and records consistently outperform rainbow promises and falsified laboratory findings. EVs could foretell a revolution in transportation in the decades to come thanks to technological advancements. After 2030, the cost of replacing battery packs could fall to as little as $73 per kWh, and the current concern over range could vanish. The demanding consumer end and new commercial setup may benefit from the increased options and convenience that the hybrids and EVs provide. However, at this point, it is safer to bet on “combustion” engines than battery-powered motors if we take road safety for stress-free travel into account.

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