Even though the electric car has been around in some shape or form for in excess of 100 years, it is only recently that it has made any strides towards the mass market. Tesla has been one of the frontrunners in the sector and the launch of the company’s Tesla Model 3, the group’s first mass-market vehicle, has been an unprecedented success. The company took pre-orders totalling $14 billion with hundreds of millions of dollars put down as part payment. So, what are the real long-term benefits of electric vehicles?
We all know about the harmful emissions from traditional petrol/diesel vehicles which add to air pollution. Over the years we have seen many examples of air pollution impacting the environment, the weather and elements of everyday life such as health. So, perhaps one of the real long-term benefits of electric vehicles is the fact they have zero emissions at source.
It would be unfair to suggest that the whole electric vehicle cycle is a zero emission system when in reality this is not the case. There is a need to create the electric power, transferred via batteries, to run these vehicles and there are obviously emissions related to this. The level of emissions created in this process will depend upon how the electricity is created as we see more and more environmentally friendly power systems being built. In a worst-case scenario, the level of emissions from this particular stage of the electric car revolution is minimal compared to traditional vehicles.
As there are only two or three moving parts in an electric vehicle this has had a massive impact upon general wear/tear and repairs. Critics might suggest this is one reason why it has taken so long for the electric vehicle to hit the mass market because obviously car companies have a vested interest in supplying spare parts. When you also consider the current system used to produce spare parts most of any emissions from this area would also be eliminated.
It stands to reason that a vehicle with few moving parts is likely to be more reliable, as there is less that can go wrong, so this is also a strong positive going forward. It may take some time to build up a network of qualified tradespeople to both service and repair electric vehicles but this will happen in due course when the market is large enough. In the meantime it may be a case of searching your area for an electric vehicle expert and checking out the best price.
While we have covered a lack of emissions from electric vehicles, one area which will benefit enormously in the years ahead is large cities such as London.
The density of large buildings in cities such as London has a seriously detrimental impact upon air quality. A lack of direct wind flow ensures that unhealthy emissions remain in the atmosphere for longer than they would normally leading to problems with health such as asthma. Several large cities around the world already have congestion controls to reduce the emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles and many of these cities will eventually ban petrol/diesel vehicles in favour of all electric.
At this moment in time there are tax benefits to driving electric vehicles and at some stage there will be areas of large cities and large towns which are only accessible by electric vehicles. Tesla is currently working on an electric truck and we know that some leading delivery services already have electric vehicles at their disposal. The idea that petrol/diesel vehicles could be outlawed within 20 years is perhaps ambitious but there is no doubt that there will be ongoing restrictions on their use.
Electric vehicle prices
As with any relatively new industry it will take some time for the benefits of mass-market production to filter through to electric vehicle prices. The new Tesla Model 3 is priced at around 35,000 USD which is touching mass-market accessibility but hopefully the price will fall further as the number of vehicles grows and efficiency savings are secured. This is a natural progression for any new service or new product and with governments around the world incentivising electric vehicle users via the tax system, hopefully mass-market production prices are not too far away.
One area which may take a little longer to develop is that of electric vehicle car insurance with a distinct lack of competition at this moment in time. Personal injury claims with regards to electric vehicle incidents may also be slightly more complicated than a traditional road accident personal injury claim because of the electric power involved. This has prompted some confusion and conflicting opinions amongst experts.
How will this impact the way in which the emergency services react? What type of additional training will be required for those dealing with electric vehicle incidents? Will changes need to be made regarding the law for all road accident These are all issues which will be addressed in due course because as the market grows so will investment in so many different areas.