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Electric cars: Advantages and disadvantages

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Almost all car manufacturers have added electric cars to their product portfolio or plan to do so in the near future. This is because the figures regarding e-mobility show that electric cars are becoming increasingly more important. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of EVs compared to gas-powered cars?  

Advantage 1: Smaller environmental impact

One of the most important advantages of electric cars compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines is the smaller environmental impact when they are running. When driving, electric cars do not produce direct emissions which affect the air quality, endanger people’s health and damage the environment. They emit none of the following pollutants: nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide or particulate matter. Especially from this point of view, they are a good alternative for environmentally friendly transport.

If the car can also be charged with green electricity from renewable energies, for example via a photovoltaic system, all the better. Without electricity from renewable sources, the environmental footprint may suffer somewhat, but in contrast to gas and diesel from internal combustion engines, electric cars still come out ahead.

However, manufacturing electric cars still produces CO₂ emissions. The extraction of the necessary resources and the production of the finished battery increase the CO₂ footprint. This can be offset, for example, by recycling old batteries, which allows sought-after raw materials to be reused.

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Advantage 2: Lower operating costs

When talking about the pros and cons of electric cars, the operating costs play an important part. The price for charging electric cars depends on different aspects such as the model, the driving style and the current electricity prices. Car owners who have the possibility of charging their electric car with a station at home can expect an average of four to six francs per 100 kilometers. Filling up with gas, on the other hand, is significantly more expensive. This difference decreases if charging is not done at home but, for example, at a more costly DC (direct current) fast charging station.

In contrast to conventional vehicles, electric cars are also more efficient, since they convert the electricity from the battery into kinetic energy more effectively. As a result, they can cover the same distance by using less energy. This can be described clearly with the degree of efficiency. This factor indicates how much energy is actually converted into movement. The gas engine only achieves a value of 20 percent here. The electric car scores significantly better with 80 percent.

Overall, electric cars come out ahead due to their lower operating costs, especially in urban areas and for shorter but regularly driven routes.

Advantage 3: Environmental incentives

It is not only consumers who are becoming increasingly interested in electric cars. Governments around the world are evaluating electric cars in terms of their advantages and, as a result, have set ambitious climate targets and are looking for ways to achieve them. CO₂-intensive road traffic is an obvious starting point here. Focusing on electric cars is a possible contribution to the solution. This is why electric car drivers can often count on incentives and financial benefits. These incentives make it more attractive to buy an electric car and contribute furthermore to lowering the ongoing costs for the vehicle.

The construction of charging stations is also being promoted. The aim is to encourage companies in particular to invest in their own sustainability and to create incentives for employees to use electric cars.

Although there is no national funding (yet), there are nevertheless canton-specific environmental incentives for which governmental offices can apply. Interested parties must inform themselves locally about regional subsidies or reduced vehicle taxes. In any case, you save gasoline tax with an electric car.

Advantage 4: Lower maintenance expenses

When weighing up the pros and cons of electric cars, you should also consider the lower maintenance requirements. Electric cars have a less complex construction, so breakdowns and wear and tear occur less often. The need for regular oil changes and other maintenance required on an internal combustion engine vehicle is eliminated.

Advantage 5: The noise level

Electric cars make much less noise. Noise pollution from road traffic is a growing problem in many cities, especially in densely populated areas. Electric cars can make a necessary contribution in this case by reducing the noise level, which in turn reduces the amount of noise pollution suffered by residents and pedestrians.

Disadvantage 1: Purchase cost

In addition to the many advantages, electric cars also have some disadvantages. The most decisive is probably the high purchase cost. The price of electric cars remains significantly above comparable models with internal combustion engines. There are various reasons for this, which include the expensive production of batteries, which are still not mass produced, and the higher costs for developing and producing electric engines. The price is expected to decrease in the future, as electric cars become more prevalent and, as a result, the production scaling of batteries and electric engines increases.

Disadvantage 2: The mileage

Many drivers considering purchasing an electric car are concerned about their range. How many kilometers can you drive on one charge? This is less relevant for the usage within urban traffic but can certainly be an issue with longer distances. The range also plays a decisive role when used in more rural areas, where distances are longer and charging stations are less common.

It is not possible to make a general statement about the range of an EV. It varies depending on different criteria such as the model, the battery capacity and your own driving style. The performance can also be affected by energy guzzlers such as heating or air conditioning. In general, most batteries for electric cars have a capacity of 40 to 100 kWh. This makes it possible to achieve distances of 200 kilometers to over 600 kilometers.

Disadvantage 3: Charging times

Compared to refuelling with gas, charging with electricity takes up significantly more time, even with the fastest type of battery charger. This can be less of a problem with the right planning and good charging infrastructure, but nonetheless, this must be listed as a disadvantage for electric cars. 

Disadvantage 4: Charging infrastructure

The extent to which mileage restrictions and long charging times become a disadvantage which is primarily related to the charging infrastructure. Especially if you don’t have your own charging station at home, electric car drivers are dependent on the availability of enough compatible charging stations in their vicinity. 

Disadvantage 5: Service life of the battery

The central element of every electric car is the battery. Unfortunately, however, its performance decreases with increasing usage. This is not a sign of poor quality as this generally happens with every battery in any kind of device. Meanwhile, many manufacturers even grant warranties of up to ten years on a certain battery performance.

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Conclusion: The electric car remains the ideal alternative for some requirements

The pros and cons of EVs balance each other out in our comparison. Ultimately, it depends on what your requirements are for the electric car and whether there is a model that meets these conditions. In the past, the strongest argument against an EV was its price. But this is becoming less relevant. As more people buy EVs, their price will go down. And their low operating cost is a huge plus.

FAQs on the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars

Are insurance costs higher for electric cars?

No. If you would like to insure your electric car, it is not automatically more expensive. Various factors play a part in calculating the premium, such as model and additional services, especially in relation to the battery.

Do electric cars accelerate faster than internal combustion engines?

Yes. One advantage of electric cars is that they have full torque from the start. Many drivers therefore talk about greater driving pleasure.

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