I remember that the gasoline price is at $1.50 per gallon back in 2005 before deadly Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana. Since then, the prices continue to skyrocket, and the gas cost nearly $4.00 per gallon today. Due to such high gasoline prices, the Electric Vehicles (EV) market has grown drastically over the past two years. From 1996 when GM introduced the first electric vehicle, the EV1, to 2001 the debut of the Toyota Prius hybrid, and now the 2011 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt, the technology of electric car is going through rapid innovation and development. If you don’t believe the EV hype, here is a list of top 5 reasons that draw consumer’s attention to purchase a new electric car. 1,3
1. Electric Cars have less noise, they are quiet.
If you have been a long time conventional car driver, your first time experience driving an EV is almost disturbingly quiet. Electric engines make almost no noise, which engineers have been perfecting for decades. The only sound you can hear is probably the muffled hum of tires on road. On the other hand, the noise level inside a gasoline vehicle can be as high as 75-80 decibels.4
2. Electric Vehicles are more energy efficient.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy website2, for a conventional fuel car, the combustion engine loses 62.4% of fuel as heat, only 15% of the energy stored in the gas tank is used to move the car. The rest is lost through friction and external forces such as aerodynamic drag. On the other hand, EV converts chemical energy to electrical energy at a rate of 90% efficiency.1,5
3. Low maintenance cost.
Electric cars do not require oil changes, because there is no oil used to run the engines. Same for fan belts, air filters, spark plugs or any of other parts that need occasional replacement for a gasoline car. Even the brakes on an EV last longer than a gasoline car because EV slows the car by reversing the electrical motor instead of applying mechanical friction.1,6 The major component of an electric car – battery has high durability too, both Nissan and Chevy are offering 8 year/100,000 miles warrantees for the LEAF and Volt batteries. 1, 6
4. Electric Cars save you money.
Electric cars can save money for gas, but people always said that EVs are so much more expensive to buy. For example, the 2011 Nissan LEAF SL has an MSRP of $33,7207, the four-door 2011 Honda Civic Si offers many of the similar features for price of %$24,4051. That’s over $9,000 cheaper. But there is a catch. The U.S. government is offering $7,500 in federal tax rebate for the purchases of a new EV. Many states like California offer an extra $5,000 incentives through 20151,7. That’s a total of $12,500 saving already! In terms of fuel cost, if you drive the Honda Civic 15,000 miles per year for five years, the cost for gas can be as much as $10,057. For the same mileages on a LEAF will cost only $3,000 for electricity.1
5. Electric Cars have zero emissions.
All-electric cars like Tesla Roadster and Nissan LEAF have no tailpipe, because they have no heat or gases to release as a byproduct of combustion, therefore EVs are zero emission vehicles. 1, 6 In theory, EVs are not truly zero emissions because of the pollution comes from the electricity generation. However, an electric car reduces 35-60% less carbon dioxide emission from electricity than the CO2 pollution from the gasoline of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine.5 The Department of Energy estimates that a gasoline car emits 75 lbs of CO2 during a 100 mile trip, in comparison to 32 lbs of CO2 emits from a power plant to generate enough electricity to power an EV for the same 100 miles.2 In some areas, where rely largely on renewable power such as solar, wind or hydro, the emissions are even further less for EVs.