It’s a well-known fact that nothing on this planet is infinite. That has become most apparent in the last few years with the realization of how quickly we are burning through our fossil fuels and how little of them we have left. Therefore, in true Darwinian fashion, the time is coming when our means of transportation will have to evolve away from fossil fuels. Vehicles of all makes and models currently run on either petrol or diesel fuels which as we know are made from oil. But with the oil about to start drying up in many places and remaining inaccessible in many others, the time is quickly approaching when we will have to devise another way of powering our cars and trucks. That’s where things like biodiesel, hydrogen, and electric cars come into the picture.
Let’s start with electric cars. In the article “The Truth about Electric Cars,” Manfred Mornhinweg discusses how electric cars, though great as an idea for replacing for fossil fuels, are not exactly close enough to perfection to really be a viable replacement just yet. Mornhinweg explains that cars powered by batteries are not everything the dealerships would have everyone believe. Electric cars are actually rather non-cost effective when one factors everything into the equation. For starters, they aren’t really any cheaper to buy than gas powered cars due to the cost of the batteries that are used to power them, and they don’t get very economical mileage, which is, ironically, also caused by the batteries that are used. Electric cars need to be “refueled” far more frequently than petrol/diesel powered cars.
The next problem we have with electric cars is the pollution they produce. Mornhinweg explains that while it is true that a completely electric car does not in fact produce any emissions from operating because they are battery powered, the process of making the batteries does. The batteries are made from very nasty chemicals such as lead and sulfuric acid because they are the cheapest materials for making batteries at our current level of technology. These resources are not renewable and also require the burning of more fossil fuels to harvest. Never mind the fact that your car is now full of chemicals that can easily kill you if the battery cells rupture for any reason.
Then there’s the problem of sustainability. Mornhinweg also explains that the batteries in electric cars right now simply can’t hold the required charge to make them practical. The amount of time one gets out of a charge is really rather miniscule. The average electric car (not hybrid but completely electric) can only manage somewhere in the ball park of 70-100 miles before they need to be charged again, which usually takes about 24 to 72 hours depending on where it is plugged in. And this is assuming that it is being driven in a steady law abiding fashion. If it is driven at highway speeds for extended periods of time or used to speed out into traffic regularly you are looking at much less than a hundred miles on a charge. That’s not what I would call practical.
The final issue is the power output. I realize this may not be a huge issue for everyone, but if petrol powered engines are going to be replaced, many gear heads like myself will need to know that the new engines can still produce substantial power. And once again the battery powered car simply can’t compete in this department. Now it is true, according to Top Gear, that some car manufacturers such as Tesla and Koenigsegg (pronounced Ko-nig-segg with a soft “o”) have spent exorbitant amounts of money to produce insanely fast electric cars (the electric Koenigsegg can actually produce over 900 brake horse power) they still have the same problem of holding a charge. When Jeremy Clarkson, of Britain’s hit car show “Top Gear,” drove the Tesla around 1.75 mile Top Gear test track he only managed 55 miles in it before it needed to be charged again, which took nearly 32 hours to complete. So it would appear we