Throughout our time in modern history, there have been numerous technological advancements that have taken the world by a storm, such as the first rocket being launched, the world wide web, or the iPhone. These advancements are a result of the research and data collection that has helped us become more efficient as a society. Electric cars have slowly begun to gain more momentum and popularity as the world evolves towards becoming more environmentally friendly and looking for alternative fuel resources. Although problems of pricing, adaptability, and charging exist for electric car owners, the world has recognized the need to move away from coal as our primary source of fuel and look at the disadvantages and advantages that electric cars will bring in the future.
Air pollution has been a rising issue around the world and electric vehicles can provide huge environmental benefits to the world. The declining air pollution effects all living things in the world. Gasoline powered cars produced 14% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions in the world (Bennett). Emission produced form electric cars are generally dependent on how the electricity is produced. Electric cars rely on electricity to run on and how the user gets their electricity can cause problems because, according to BBC News, 40% of the electricity generated in the UK relies on coal (Bomford). Electric cars are not zero-emission cars however, they help towards a larger problem we are facing today. UCS, Union of Concerned Scientist did a research which stated that EV's would result in lower gas emission that even a 50mpg gasoline-powered vehicle (Reichmuth). China and India gain to benefit the most from electric vehicles as their countries suffer from rapidly declining air quality. Electric vehicles are not the entire solution to the global warming issue but it is a step towards a better future for the world.
There has been a growing awareness that oil is not sustainable for Americans and is a diminishing resource. Electric vehicles could reduce oil demand by 3.5 million barrels a day by 2025 according to Barclays commodities analyst (DiChristpher). That number is almost equal to the entire output of the OPEC's third largest producer, Iran, which produces 3.8 million barrels a day(DiChristopher). The world is choosing to move away from oil as our main source of fuel; its unreliability and environment effects have become an increasingly growing concern. The United States owns oil reserves but gets most of its oil from abroad. This compromises the nation's ability to depend on itself and make decisions based on principle rather than economic needs. There would be less of a need for the United States to interfere in unrelated foreign affairs. EV producers face a battle against oil companies that have an incentive to prevent the rise of electric cars.
The American economy driven by capitalism has a tendency to slow down innovation and technology as powerful companies who feel threated completely shut down the competition. The big oil companies have “monopolized the entire energy industry by shredding competitors' attempts to offer alternatives” (Diamond). This forces consumers to choose gasoline-powered cars over alternative clean energy. The emergence of electric cars would kill the economy of the middle east which is largely dependent on the OPEC. The oil industry has taken efforts such as lobbying our politicians and making moves to repeal tax credits on battery powered cars. There are states that are planning to repeal income tax credits for owners of EV's such as Colorado, while other states plan to let them expire (Tabuchi). Electric vehicles only make up 1% of the entire total sales in the United States, and to a make large enough dent will need to continue to be subsidized. While the United States lacks behind in the race to change for alternative energy resources, other countries have taken a bigger step forward. Government incentives have turned China into the largest market for electric cars. Sales of electric vehicles have jumped more than 70 percent in countries like China, France, and Sweden (Tabuchi). The Indian government minister has also claimed to want his country to have all cars sold by 2030 to be electric. Government support will be crucial if the electric car industry hopes to stay alive. If countries and their respective governments continue to provide funding for research, public charging stations and tax breaks for electric vehicles, the world could be seeing a real change.
The problems for electric cars with consumers mainly has been the increase in pricing and adaptability. Electric cars haven't really made the mainstream because the average consumer is not able to afford an electric car. Electric cars are generally viewed as luxurious cars to the average consumer. However, in the recent years, that's been starting to change as Tesla introduced the new car the Model 3 which retail for the base price of $35,000. The car has an average range of 220 on a full charge (Gertner). Although that price is still not affordable to the lower-class citizens, it is a step forward for an electric car driven world. The price on the Model 3 is a huge step down from the company's other basic model starting at $70,000. Other manufacturers such as Chevy, Hyundai, Nissan are also starting to adapt to the change. The Chevy Volt starts at $37,000, the Nissan Leaf at $31,000, and the Hyundai Electric at $30,000. The auto industry is starting to focus on producing more electric cars as it realizes the shift in consumer purchases. The declining prices of electric cars are to be expected as more cars go into mass production. Tesla was able to cut back on the price of its car by building its' Giga-factory in Nevada. The main component of electric cars is the battery, also making it the most expensive part of the car (Gertner). The Giga-factory by Tesla is mainly a battery building factory to supply all of Tesla's cars. According to the Department of Energy, the cost of batteries fell by more than half between 2012 and 2016. Cheaper batteries mean cheaper cars, but it also means that Tesla can put larger batteries for the same cost allowing the car to travel more miles. Tesla aims to build more Giga-factories around the United States to supply the increasing need for batteries.
Tesla has recently been the most popular and mainstream electric car manufacturer in the world. Tesla is usually only viewed as a car manufacturer when it is a lot more. Unlike other car manufacturers, who sell their cars to dealers who in turn make a profit from selling the car, Tesla directly sells their cars to the consumer. Tesla is giving the purchasing power back to the consumer as they are able to buy their cars however they want. Tesla has been marketing the electric car really well and creating an aesthetically pleasing car with innovative features. The self-driving mode, although not created by Tesla, has been popularized by the company and is a huge feature of the car. Tesla is also, “actively courting gas stations, hotels and restaurants in its bid to install high-speed electric chargers across the country” (Fung). There are also currently 3,500 superchargers around the nation and they were free of charge for Tesla user until the beginning of this year. Tesla's could be widespread enough that fully charging one might cost as little as $16 (Fung). Tesla has put itself in a good position to expand their operation and reach out to the broader public with their technology.
There is still a long way to go to improve electric vehicles but significant advancements have been made in the electric vehicle industry. The electric vehicles today do not match their gasoline-powered counterparts but they are far greater machines than they were a couple years ago. The electric vehicle industry will continue to grow as people switch from buying gasoline-powered cars to electric powered cars and as gasoline-powered cars break down. Many automakers have taken notice and have already even begun to produce electric cars. They need to focus on reducing the cost of production so that the average consumer is able to afford the vehicle. The industry is receiving help the governments around the world as countries with high environmental concerns begin to push and market electric vehicles. Electricity is the leading alternative source of energy and these vehicles are about being the leader in this new technology that everyone agrees is coming. The United States is not aggressively pushing for a change and are going to be purchasing products from a foreign country if we do not become the leaders first. The possible benefits of electric vehicles outweigh the negatives as the reality that the oil-powered auto-industry is not sustainable and is going to be replaced sooner than later by an alternative source of energy, electricity.
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