Six reasons why electric vehicles are good to drive, charge and park

Author: 
Paul Wessel
Published on: 
Friday, July 1, 2016

It’s clear we need to figure out better ways to get around cities, suburbs and rural areas. It’s clear that we’re going to live in a poly-fuel, multimodal future—and that means we’ll get around in a lot of different ways, using lot of different fuels. Finally, it’s clear that electric vehicles are a growing part of the future.

President Bill Destler of Rochester Institute of Technology made a case for why electric vehicles are good to drive, charge and park:

1) Electric vehicles are inherently more efficient at turning energy into miles driven. 

Electric drivetrains are more efficient than internal combustion engine (ICE) drivetrains (about 75 percent vs. 25 percent). 

2) Electric vehicles are greener than gasoline-powered cars.

Research shows that most of a vehicle’s carbon production comes during operation rather than production, and electric vehicles that consume only a third as much energy in operation are inherently greener, no matter what fuel is used to generate the electricity they use. Also, electric vehicles powered by electricity from hydro, solar, wind or nuclear sources produce no carbon in operation.

3) Electric vehicles can be powered by electricity produced from multiple energy sources.

Electricity can come from wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, biofuel and fossil fuel sources, including natural gas, oil and coal. Nearly all of those sources are produced almost entirely within the United States from local natural resources. Therefore, electric vehicles have the potential to support the U.S. economy and reduce our dependence on imported oil.

4) An efficient distribution network for electricity already exists in the United States.

This seems obvious, but compare this situation to that of other next-generation vehicle fuels, such as natural gas and hydrogen.

5) Range is less of an issue than most people think.

Most Americans drive 40 miles per day or less on average, well within the range of almost all available electric cars, and future models will have 10 times this range or more. For advanced designs such as the Chevy Volt, driving distances are unlimited as long as one keeps filling the gas tank, because an onboard gasoline powered generator can provide electricity when the battery is depleted.

6) Next generation technologies, such as fuel cell vehicles, will require electric drivetrains to propel the vehicles.

Fuel cells can be efficient, portable sources of electricity running on a variety of fuels, but all cars and trucks using these energy sources will use electric drivetrains.

Garages can help fuel the growth of the electric vehicle market. We can build out the public charging infrastructure for workplace charging and for “EV orphans,” urban EV drivers without home charging stations. 

Garages offer EV charging for a variety of reasons:

  • Tenant demand
  • In response to a request by a local government
  • Generating revenue from leasing the space to EV charging companies or from advertising revenue
  • Earning points toward LEED or Parksmart certification