I love cars. I’ve always loved cars. But as an environmentalist, I was faced with a quandary. How could I reconcile my love for fast cars that emit greenhouse gas pollution with my love for planet Earth? The answer is simple. Anyone who loves fast cars, or just cars in general, should love electric cars.
Cars and trucks powered by internal combustion engines are the biggest contributors to American greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Those emissions cut short an estimated 58,000 lives per year and are a huge factor in worsening climate change. Electric vehicles (EVs) are one of the best tools we have in the fight to curb our GHG emissions.
EVs are the future. And more than that, they’re cool. While some people may think EVs are slow, boring and hobbled by their range, many of these vehicles are slick and modern with ranges comparable to traditional gas and diesel engines. Oh, and I should mention they can be fast. Electric motors work far differently than internal combustion engines. Internal combustion engines take time to deliver power. Its horsepower must be generated by the engine and then transferred along the drivetrain. Electric motors have no delay of power. You put your foot down and the car goes. Additionally, EVs are far more efficient with the power that they produce – hovering around 90% compared to the internal combustion engine’s 35% efficiency.
EVs also deliver more power. Each wheel can run on its own individual electric motor. For example, the Drako GTE EV has four electric motors, one at each wheel, producing 225 kilowatts, which is equal to around 300 horsepower each. Together, that gives the car 1,200 horsepower to work with. In order to get that much power out of a traditional gas engine, you’d need a V12, or a turbocharger or supercharger.
Aside from the speed advantage, EVs hold mechanical advantages over traditional cars as well. First, they require a lot less preventative maintenance. You don’t need to worry about oil changes, radiator flushes, belt changes or transmission fluids. Basically, a lot of the parts and elements of a standard car do not exist in an EV, and therefore there is less to maintain. They are typically cheaper to own throughout their lifetimethan traditional automobiles, owing to their lower fuel and maintenance costs. Additionally, because electric motors are not reliant on air intakes like their internal combustion cousins, they are not impacted by thinning air at higher altitudes and they can function just as well in Denver as they would in New Orleans. Also, we are working our way closer to a point when EVs will be able to hit maximum fuel efficiency. You can only squeeze so many miles out of a gallon of gas. However, the potential for EV batteries are limitless. We’re constantly advancing battery design, creating more and more powerful batteries that can go for longer distances without recharging. We are also developing more efficient chargers that juice electric cars faster and we are building more advanced motors that run as efficiently as possible.
Demand for electric cars is growing. In 2020, EV sales clocked in at around 3 million cars. In 2021, that number jumped to 6.6 million cars. While it used to be a niche business, we’re now seeing traditional automakers regularly roll out EVs. For the first time ever, Porsche’s electric Taycan sports car has outsold their massively popular 911 sports car.
Ford is making an all-electric version of their F-150, the best selling vehicle in North America. Ram and Chevrolet are following Ford’s lead and are working on electric versions of their equally well known 1500 series and Silverado pickups, debuting in 2024 and 2023 respectively.
Ford has also released the Mustang Mach-E, an all electric version of their ubiquitous muscle car. The 2022 edition of the Mach-E has a 0 to 60 time of 3.5 seconds, faster than the gas-powered Mustang Mach 1. Dodge announced their eMuscle project, which will debut 2024. And GM has said that by 2025, they will produce 30 different EV models.
It’s not just American car makers either. Ferrari announced that it will release a brand new, all-electric supercar in 2025 and Lamborghini plans to roll out plug-in hybrids of all their current production cars by the end of 2024 – and will showcase their all-electric supercar in 2025.
Lotus, a British carmaker, has begun production of the Evija, an electric hypercar. While it only has a production line of 130, it serves as an important proof of concept. It will not only be the fastest electric car ever produced for consumer sales, producing 2,000 horsepower and with a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour, but it will also be the most powerful production car on the planet. Beyond that, the Evija will be able to fully recharge in 18 minutes.
Environment America has been working to further the cause of electric vehicles for years. We have long called for an expansion and improvement in America’s EV charging infrastructure and the landmark Infrastructure Invest and Jobs Act allocated $7.5 billion for a national network of 500,000 EV chargers. Environment America has also been pushing for Congress to extend the EV tax credit so the EV market opens up to more Americans.
Every car enthusiast should be pushing for more advanced EVs that go further and faster. Just like that effort, we must urge our elected officials to support investments in EV charging and technology to make it easier to purchase EVs. We have the power to make the world a better place. If we want to preserve car culture for future generations, we need EVs on the road.