Fossil Fuel and Internal Combustion — those terms are so 20th century!
Even though 99.9% of vehicles on the road today are still fossil-fuel powered; internal combustion technology for propulsion has developed a rather negative connotation, having been the topic surrounding many world conflicts, and having been blamed for global warming.
If you are among those who wants to lead by example, and end your personal reliance on fossil fuels by obtaining a vehicle that you “plug in” instead of “filling up,” you are not alone — the popularity of electric vehicles has grown exponentially over the last few years. Thankfully, so has the supply. No longer plagued by impracticality and the sci-fi-inspired dorky designs, today’s electric vehicle choices are full-fledged members of our car culture. Let’s look at some of today’s offerings:
With a starting price of just under $30,000, the Nissan Leaf is actually a bargain in the world of electric vehicles. Top speed of 90+ mph and a range of about 150 miles make this tiny, relatively roomy sub-compact a great city runabout.
Ford Focus Electric
Visually, the Ford Focus Electric is an identical clone to the gas-powered Focus. However, instead of the gas engine, you get a 143hp electric motor good for a range of about 105 – 125 miles. At a starting price of around $30,000, the electric Focus costs nearly double that of its fossil-fueled brother, yet represents an excellent value for an EV.
When Fiat reintroduced their brand to the US a few years ago, we fell in love with the 500’s trendy European styling, quirky design and affordable price tag. If you don’t care so much for the affordable price tag, you can be trendy and environmentally conscious in the Fiat 500E. As with the Focus, expect to pay about twice as much if you choose the electric 500 over the standard. You can expect a range of about 84 miles.
Tesla Model 3
With price tags ranging from $49,000, the Model 3 competes with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in the compact sports sedan arena, and does so admirably. With head-turning styling, and a 271hp base electric engine good for up to 310 mile range, this car put car enthusiasts on notice: electric does not mean boring.
The simplest, and the most obvious flaw in the electric propulsion technology is the “range anxiety.” This common term refers to the uneasiness potential electric car owners feel over the limited range culpabilities due to the immense electric power needed to move the vehicle, and the limited options for this electric power storage. Our smartphones can hardly keep a charge over a full day of service. What expectations could we possibly have for an entire car? Aside from the Model 3, the electric-powered range on most of these cars tops out at around 100 miles. Plugging your vehicle into a regular 110 Volt outlet for 6-8 hours every 100-or-so miles may seem impossibly bothersome and inefficient. But it really isn’t bad. With more and more EV charging stations popping up seemingly everyday, topping up your EV’s charge is not only a piece of cake, but it’s convenient to boot.