Are Electric Cars as Good as You Might Think

Brody Harlow

One of the few charging stations located in Plover at a Kwik Trip.

How much do you actually know about electric vehicles? Many think they are a great solution to reduce emissions and the next step to solve climate change. In a way this is true however, there are also negative impacts that come along with this new technology. 

Background Information on Electric Vehicles 

There are three types of Electric vehicles (EV’s). There are all electric cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles and regular hybrids. The all electric vehicle is powered by only a battery and the electric motors. Hybrid vehicles use a combination of a gas internal combustion engine, a battery and an electric motor. The gas engine is used to power the car at high speeds and at the same time charge the battery. When the car is at slower speeds the car is propelled only by the electric motors running off of the battery. A plug-in hybrid is similar to a hybrid powered vehicle. It’s different, in that you plug the car into an outlet to charge the battery that powers the electric motors.

How Popular Are These Vehicles 

 Electric vehicles are growing in popularity.  Technology is growing and getting better causing more car companies to produce these types of cars. According to Pew Research In 2020 nearly 1.8 million EV’s were registered in the U.S, and more than three times as many in 2016. However, outside of major metropolitan areas electric vehicles aren’t that common. These types of cars are not common outside of the major cities because of the limited charging stations.  The lack of charging locations makes it harder for people to recharge. 

The Positives of Electric Cars

Much good has come from the introduction of electric vehicles. “They have great performance and handling with little maintenance,” said Mr. Strobel, a Small Engines teacher at SPASH. They are known for their acceleration and a smooth quiet ride. The only regular maintenance is to the tires and brakes. While manufacturing an electric vehicle creates more emissions than a regular car, over time electric vehicles generate fewer emissions as explained in an article from CNBC.  Also “In the long run, [once they are up and running,] electric vehicles produce far less emissions than a regular car.” explained Drew from Pewresearch. 


They can also be considered safer than other cars on the road. Most EV’s are the newest on the market, meaning they are equipped with the newest safety features. Electric vehicles are also safer in head-on collisions.  Electric vehicles that lack an internal combustion engine have a greater crumple zone to absorb more of the impact in a head on collision. 

The Negative That Comes With These Cars 

Now that you have read the good about electric vehicles, now it is onto the bad and the surprising truth that many don’t think about.  First off, “Electricity grids in most of the world are still powered by fossil fuels such as coal or oil and EV’s depend on that energy to get charged.” says CNBA. Most of the energy we generate is from the burning of fossil fuels. Once fossil fuels are gone they are gone forever and that is the type of energy resource we are trying to conserve.

What Powers These Cars 

 Most people don’t think about the batteries.  EV cars rely on a rechargeable lithium ion battery to power the car. To make these batteries, they need to mine for raw materials like lithium and cobalt. The problem with the making of these massive batteries is the materials needed to create them. Harvesting these materials is a very intensive process that creates a large impact on the earth and habitat. The process to manufacture the batteries leaves a large carbon footprint, from the equipment used in the mining of the raw materials to the factories that create the batteries shown from CNBA. Lastly, most batteries are not recyclable when they are spent or get damaged. It is expensive to recycle these batteries. Most companies are not thinking about this problem because they are so new, but down the road they will need to find a solution.

In the end electric vehicles do produce less emissions than the conventional car in the long run. However, they do have many drawbacks that go unseen to the public eye and should be brought to more people’s attention.  Now that you have more knowledge about this issue you can make a better decision when your time comes to buy a vehicle.