Electric Vehicles: If They Build Them, Will You Buy?

Jul 2, 2010   //   by Melinda Owens   //   Energy, Transportation  //  No Comments

Are electric cars the right answer to the right problem?
In case you missed the news, more than 15 models of electric vehicles (EVs) are predicted to hit the market through 2012. But are EVs the right solution? Will they solve everyday problems, or are carmakers just pandering to the tree hugging hippies out there?

What’s Driving Electric Vehicle Production?

There are a number of objective cases for electric vehicles:

Oil Dependence — According to the Department of Energy (DOE), more than half of America’s oil is imported. Of the imported oil, roughly 65% to 75% is located in the Middle East and controlled by members of OPEC oil cartel. EVs should lessen our involvement in volatile regions and allow America’s money to be invested in other areas.

Inefficiency — Did you know that your vehicle only taps 15% of the energy stored in its gasoline? The rest of the energy is lost as heat waste.  It’s estimated that if half of Americans traded the gas nozzle for an electric plug, we could reduce US oil demand by as much as 33%.

Air Quality — Automobile exhaust emits 25-75% of the key chemicals responsible for smog and health problems, such as asthma. In fact, the DOE claims that 133 million Americans live in cities that failed at least one National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Electric cars have no tail pipe emissions. The only emissions created to power an electric vehicle are at the electric utility, which is much more efficient at capturing pollutants than individual cars.

Will Electric Vehicles Solve Our Problems?

Electric cars will only make a dent to our environmental, social and economic problems if people actually buy and use them. In a recent Ernst & Young Survey, 25% of the people surveyed said that they would consider purchasing a plug in hybrid or electric vehicle once they become available. Would you buy one? What convinced you to buy now? Or, what’s holding you back?

Photo CC-licensed by Jvertson.