Emad Barsoum writes: Torn between two… Gas or Electric
The world is still divided between the global warming issue, the environmental challenges, and the earth’s future all the while man is destroying it with fossil fuels. We are not going to take any sides or add any scientific input or theories. Instead, it is a conversation around Fuel vs. Electric vehicles and the future of the automotive industry.
Automotive buyers have been demonstrating impulsive and emotional responses to any change in gas prices. Since the first Hybrid vehicle appearance in 1996 in Japan, then in 2000 in the USA and later 2004 in Canada, and until today, automotive buyers or leasees are frequently questioning which way they should go! The choice became even more challenging after the emergence of fully Electric vehicles and the Plug-in/Hybrid.
In reality, some buyers are missing several factors around how to reach the best decision. Because almost all makers now build all types of vehicles, whether they run on Gas, are Hybrid, Electricity, or a mix of all. In return, automakers would not reveal all the facts, as long as no one is asking, about the pros and cons of different types of power used to drive their vehicles.
It is important to note and consider three factors that might determine the feasibility of using one type of vehicle over another.
First, the return on investment and cost of ownership, or in other words, are buyers able to recover the difference in a higher price paid for an electric vehicle versus the cost of gas savings! This could be determined by simple calculations of expected kilometers to be driven within a certain period, average fuel consumption, and average gas prices. In addition, the technology is not yet fully affordable to many buyers, which will change to be more affordable by the technological progress and innovations.
Second, the infrastructure and technology using electric vehicles require having enough charging stations nationwide, since the current driving ranges might not be compatible with the required distances realized by many drivers, which might have a negative economic impact on owning such a vehicle and is obvious if a driver has to wait longer times, on a business or important trip, to recharge the vehicle and continue the journey. Besides we are still waiting for the technology to advance to provide batteries with higher capacity and longer ranges.
Third, there are many studies about the dangers surrounding the production and disposal of the rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries used in electric vehicles; hence there are still destructive environmental impacts associated with the type of salt that comes from the mines, which could contaminate the water, and the highly poisonous and radioactive nature of the batteries if wrongly disposed or destructed. Therefore, many voices still call that the growing environmental risk of such batteries is not worth their utilization.
Nevertheless, we cannot diminish the speed and accuracy of scientific research and development toward efficient, safe energy and the protection of mother nature. There are still hopes in using the Green Hydrogen as a clean and safe energy source to power vehicles.