Electric cars are inevitably in our future but is the technology advanced enough to achieve the same standards that have been set by gasoline cars? For years new electric vehicles have come out of the obscure shadows of which they are built, only to never gain traction in the market. The auto world is split on the topic of if current electric cars are good enough to cause a shift for everyone to drive electric and leave our gasoline days behind us. There is a new contender in the auto industry though and that comes from Tesla automotive. Electric cars seem to be poised to be here to stay but are they ready to take on gasoline cars that have been dominating the automotive market for more than a century?
For years environmentalists have been telling everyone that we need to change the course of how we travel by getting rid of our gas guzzling cars. The history of the electric car is a rough one however, Most Americans would tell you that electric cars are a recent invention but that is simply not the case. Electric vehicles have been around for almost as long as gasoline cars. The problem with electric cars is that they have never been as good nor advanced as cars that run on gasoline. The problem is range, you can go much farther with gas than you can with electricity. Electric cars were never made practical until one was released by GM in 1996. The EV1 was produced in an effort to meet the demands set by the California Air Resources Board which ruled that in 2003 10% of cars on the road should produce zero emissions. The EV1 failed miserably as most of the drivers could only squeeze at the most 80 miles onto a single charge (Carothers). The failure of this car caused GM to shut down sales in 2003.
Another monumental failure that led to the rejection of the electric car as nothing more than a publicity stunt is the Fisker Karma. The Fisker came out in 2010 and disgraced the electric car and re-assured to the public that they may not be ready. The Karma fulfilled every terrible stereotype that has haunted electric cars. The car was expensive, its range was limited, and it occasionally burst into flames. After a few years of poor sales numbers and bad reviews Fisker went out of business despite receiving multiple handouts from the government. Once again electric cars proved themselves not to be worthy of the standards that Americans are used to with gasoline powered vehicles.
A question that has also haunted the electric vehicle is if they are safe enough to drive around. Multiple car companies, one example being Fisker, have gone out of business not only because of troubles with the battery but also problems with safety. Electric cars have always had a problem of bursting into flames. A problem that eventually led to the demise of Fisker. Electric cars present a design problem because they have to be built so differently from internal combustion engine powered cars. After all a gas powered car requires a fairly large engine, transmission, and other parts to make it run. While an electric powered vehicle only requires a few small electric motors. Also because of the nature of electric motors 100% of the power is available when the pedal is pressed while on the other hand a combustion engine has to work up to that kind of power.
A car that has that much power can be very dangerous if in the hands of an un-skilled driver. That is why modern electric cars are modified to restrict a lot of that power. The batteries in the cars also pose a risk as well. Since the release of the Tesla Model S two fires have happened related to the battery being punctured. The cars are designed in a way though to direct the fire away from the driver and in both these cases the car was replaced. As said by David Friedman from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “We believe they don’t pose any greater risks than gasoline-fueled vehicles” (Kohn). The electric car as long as it is designed properly will be as safe as gas cars and that is a reason why they should be ready to take on gasoline cars in the industry.
In the past electric cars have fallen short of what we are used to with gasoline powered cars.