Electrical cars seem to be a good environmental choice, but they've yet to become very popular, and lack of demand has kept manufacturers from dedicating much attention to this type of vehicle. A number of factors hold these cars back from becoming a widespread choice for consumers, with inconvenience being a primary problem.
Some electric cars can drive up to 200 miles before the battery needs recharging, but most are in the 100-mile range and some even less. Charging the batteries typically takes about six hours. Electrical cars thus are practical mainly for driving to work and around the owner's local area.
Swap Station Problems
Battery exchange stations, offering drivers the chance to swap out batteries as fast as they could get gasoline, are beginning to appear in 2009. This concept has its own problems, according to "Wired" magazine. Batteries are key components of electric cars, and the owners may not want to swap them. Exchanging batteries also requires a high level of standardization among car manufacturers, which currently is not in place. Additionally, continually removing batteries may damage the protective seals.
Batteries as Environmental Disadvantage
The batteries also pose problems for the environment. Each electric car includes an array of connected batteries, and they eventually must be replaced. With a large number of electric cars, a massive number of batteries will be required unless the technology improves. Battery manufacturing is an energy-intensive process, involving hazardous chemicals. Once the batteries wear out, the components must be recycled or otherwise discarded.
Coal as Electricity Generator
Electric vehicles reduce greenhouse emissions and pollution, particularly in congested urban areas. However, in countries where coal is the primary source of electricity generation, such as the United States and China, large numbers of electric vehicles would require more coal mining and burning. According to a 2009 "New York Times" article about electric vehicle production in China, coal creates more soot and greenhouse gases than other fuels.
Speed and Price
Top speed for the more affordable models, such as the $20,000 Triac, is about 70 miles per hour. For most situations this shouldn't be a problem, but it could pose some inconveniences in areas where higher speed is common. Some people also might dispute whether $20,000 is actually an affordable price, when many non-electric cars are available for much less.
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