Electric Vehicles: 130 Years of Progress & Benefits

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1844 Words
Date:  2023-08-16

Electric vehicles have been around for ages the first electric car was built in 1890 by William Morrison in Des Moines, Iowa. After advancing in 130 years, electric motor and battery technology has taken a major leap and can support far more sophisticated electric vehicles. Nowadays, electric vehicles are a common sight and have earned their spot in society. They are extremely useful and versatile and present many benefits to the user and the environment as well. More recently, self-driving vehicles have become a focal point, and these are technically known as autonomous vehicles. The combination of electric energy and autonomous technology has thus far proven to be the winning recipe. Vehicles that utilize these two features are bound to be the most popular cars on the road in the upcoming years. These vehicles are superior for many reasons; they offer increased safety and accident prevention algorithms when compared to standard vehicles, they are more environmentally friendly than their gasoline counterparts, and they are a wiser financial decision than any other automobile. With consumers' demanding needs and ever-growing fuel prices, Autonomous electric vehicles are a worthwhile investment that meet the requirements of future transportation.

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A major deciding factor in most vehicle sales is safety. Today, most cars are operated by humans and may feature some form of assistance, whether it be for braking, changing lanes, viewing blind spots, or a combination of numerous features. Although they may sound like highly sophisticated systems, when compared to an autonomous vehicle, these assistance systems seem archaic. Human error when operating motor vehicles can lead to deadly situations, and has historically proven to be one of the leading causes of deaths in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 36,560 deaths caused by car accidents in The U.S. in 2018. The NHTSA article also claims that autonomous vehicles will quickly fill the roads "through six levels of driver assistance technology advancements" where "automation is incrementally increased" as the stages advance. Currently, numerous automakers are implementing partial automation in their vehicles, which gives the public a glimpse of the light of self-driving cars at the end of the tunnel.

Also, closely correlated to vehicle safety is traffic flow and efficiency. It is hard to imagine a road system that is perfectly engineered and never becomes clogged with traffic. However, this is easily obtainable with traffic automation sequences in autonomous vehicles. Throughout history, the study of and attempts to eliminate traffic have not been very successful. Autonomous Vehicles: The Answer to Our Growing Traffic Woes, an article focusing on high-tech cars and traffic flow, mentions that " A single driver can have a profound impact on thousands of cars, making managing traffic elusive. One driver that merely hits the brakes too hard can initiate a cascade effect behind him, causing every other driver in his or her wake to do the same." Although there have been significant improvements in road and highway infrastructure in the recent past, there is plenty of room remaining for further improvements to increase efficiency. One researcher by the name of Alexandre Bayen has devoted a lot of time and energy to this problem and has landed on the solution. He claims that autonomous vehicles will be able to "Eliminate traffic by subtly moderating the speed of every other car on the road" and making calculated decisions based on the gathered information. Furthermore, "Bayen's research shows that autonomous vehicles, once they reach five to 10 per cent of all cars on the road, can manage localized traffic in complex environments". In simpler terms, traffic situations such as several lanes merging into one or two will be organized for maximum efficiency and speed. With automated vehicles representing a large percentage of cars on the roads, traffic will hopefully become a relic of the past.

Besides, reflecting on the accident rates and statistics of autonomous vehicles, there is data that deserves emphasis. As stated by Don Reisinger, an experienced technology-focused writer, a vehicle incident report Study, which spans 2014 through 2018, found that when the self-driving cars were in autonomous mode and driving on their own, 38 incidents occurred while moving. In all but one of those cases, the accidents were caused by humans". This data further sets in stone just how safe autonomous vehicles can be, especially when they are not intervened with and left to complete their tasks. With further technology development and decreased human intervention, car accident rates will fall substantially, and scientists are hoping to achieve zero.

The earth's environment is commonly regarded as the most important thing to take care of and respect. Gasoline-powered automobiles have been negatively affecting the environment for ages, and change is long overdue. With battery technology progressing faster than ever, the energy density of batteries is almost catching up to that of gasoline. Current electric vehicles share similar ranges to gasoline vehicles, and with further research and development, battery technology will allow electric cars to surpass their fossil-fuel counterparts. Scientists are painstakingly working towards another massive battery breakthrough, similar to when lithium batteries were discovered. With another breakthrough, electric vehicles will become the superior choice.

Gasoline cars have always been polluters, and research shows that electric vehicles have about half the negative impact on the environment vs gas cars. Gasoline vehicles harm the environment in multiple ways throughout their lifetimes, such as manufacturing pollutants and energy, fuel consumption and combustion gasses, and material waste at the end of their working lifespans. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, only impact the environment during production and disposal, there are zero negative operating emissions. This is a large portion of emissions completely removed from the equation, which results in several positive outcomes. Due to the lack of operational emissions, the carbon footprint of an electric automobile versus a gasoline one is reduced by a massive amount, major savings in pollution and a step in the right direction to maintaining our planet. An informative article on the InsideEVs website reports that "over its lifetime - from manufacturing to operation to disposal - a battery-electric vehicle cuts emissions over 50 per cent relative to a comparable gas car," states the UCS report." Within the article, they compare emissions from start to finish, taking every process into account. The article also mentioned that the "average MPG a gasoline car would have to meet in the United States to produce less lifetime carbon emissions than an electric car is 68 mpg." Even with modern gasoline technology, it is simply not possible to achieve repeatable, reliable, and powerful vehicles with mpg ratings that high. It is far more worthwhile for scientists to invest their time into advancing electric technology than gasoline technology. With that information, let's dive into the production processes of different energy types. Besides, starting with gasoline, most are familiar with the fact that gasoline is made from oil. Pumps extract the oil from the ground and send it through large pipelines that lead to oil refineries. Within these refineries, oil is filtered, and the correct additives are incorporated. Large amounts of electric energy are used during all these processes, from the pumps to the distribution trucks. Moving on to the production of electricity, it is quite a simple process, and it can be completed using numerous techniques. Most methods can be simplified down into a turbine generator, and the way they power these turbines is the independent variable. "In a turbine generator, a moving fluid-such as water, steam, combustion gases, or air-pushes a series of blades mounted on a shaft, which rotates the shaft connected to a generator. The generator, in turn, converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy based on the relationship between magnetism and electricity" -U.S. Energy Information Administration. Historically, coal was widely used to produce electricity for its high energy density and low cost. Nowadays, cleaner and more sustainable methods are used. Production and use of electricity when compared to gasoline are far less expensive, which leads to the next major point.

Money is a necessity for everybody. Short and long term costs are a deciding factor on many purchases, and it is no different when it comes to vehicles. Consumers are constantly on the hunt for the cheapest vehicles. This is where electric automobiles come into play; they are highly effective at reducing operating expenses. With advancements being made faster than ever, "In the mid-2020s time frame, it [will become] comparable or cheaper to actually buy and operate an EV than an internal combustion vehicle"-NPR. To further break down and understand the different expenses involved with EV's, a report published by CNBC in 2019 offers a visual representation of the costs of owning and operating an electric vehicle. Within the report is a chart breaking down costs per mile of many vehicles, including averages. Gasoline vehicles have a relatively high cost per mile of 19.26 cents, and electric vehicles come out to 11.28 cents. That comes out to a 7.98 cent per mile cost reduction, which can add up very quickly. Over a 100,000 mile lifespan of a vehicle, the 7.98 cents per mile cost reduction multiplies up to 7,980 dollars saved, a large sum of money. Also listed in CNBC's chart is a fuel cost comparison, where gasoline vehicles cost up to a staggering 12.19 cents, and electric vehicles up to 3.68 cents. The gas vehicle has a cost over three times that of the competition. Clearly, there is a winner that comes out on top in almost every comparison.

Another feature of electric cars that is often overlooked is the low number of moving parts that result in minimal maintenance costs. A gasoline engine is a high tech device that contains hundreds of moving parts. Everywhere a part moves, wear and tear take place. An electric motor is extremely simple, containing only one main rotating assembly called the rotor. Oiling and water cooling systems have recently come into play in modern electric motors, adding to the moving parts tally. However, the electric vehicle still dominates with hundreds of less moving parts. For consumers, this is revolutionary; virtually zero powertrain maintenance. This is displayed in statistics too, a 2018 study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute concluded that "electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered cars" coming out at "$485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117" -EnergySage. Not only are the cost savings significant, but electric vehicles also are simpler machines, and will prove to be more reliable than gasoline cars.

Electric vehicles have been consistently outperforming gasoline cars in almost every way. There is no doubt that these vehicles are superior machines, although naysayers have a few points that they tend to gravitate towards. A popular belief is that electric vehicles are actually worse for the environment than gasoline cars, as the emissions that are produced during the cars production and disposal outweigh those of an equivalent gasoline vehicle. It is not uncommon to hear and potentially believe this theory, as battery technology is complex and contains dangerous chemicals, which seem like they exhaust more emissions during production. Despite this common rumour, it is completely false. As mentioned earlier, el...

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Electric Vehicles: 130 Years of Progress & Benefits. (2023, Aug 16). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/electric-vehicles-130-years-of-progress-benefits

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