Here is a different look at electric cars: Let’s imagine what it would be like if we all had electric cars now and some people were proposing a transition to petrol cars.
Import costs: If we switch to petrol instead of using electric cars we will need to import our petrol from other countries, how many billions of dollars will that cost us every year? And most of that money will go to middle eastern countries making them rich and us poor. Electricity is generated in Australia from renewables and coal, no money leaving the country required.
Fuel security: Our economy and country will be dependent on regular supplies of fuel. If there was a war or other crisis, our country will grind to a stop in about 2–3 weeks.
Servicing: An electric car needs a small service every 100,000km, a petrol car needs 10 times as many services and every 100,000km needs a major service. Petrol vehicle service costs will be about 10–20 times as much as electric vehicles.
Fuel costs: A petrol car would cost about 4–10 times as much per km in fuel compared to an electric vehicle.
Infrastructure: To switch to petrol, we would need to build 1,000s of petrol stations all over the country, and these would all have to be staffed. You couldn’t get fuel if a petrol station was closed and you would need to plan your trip around petrol station opening times. We already have a national electricity grid with power and chargers available 24/7.
Safety: Carrying a highly volatile fuel in a vehicle will cause fires and death. For example, from 2003 to 2007 in the United States, there were 280,000 car fires per year, which caused 480 deaths. Fuel spills at petrol stations will also be a fire risk, with petrol stations catching alight and causing damaging explosions.
Fuel supplies: Fossil fuels have a limited supply and are also used for making many products such a plastic. Why burn it in cars when future generations will need it for products?
Jerkiness: A petrol engine only has a limited operational range of rotation, so an extra mechanical device called a gear box will be required and as the car accelerates it will need to change gears causing an irregular acceleration. It also can’t deliver power when it is stopped, so some device like a clutch is required to allow the engine to provide power to a stationary vehicle. All these extra components add manufacturing costs, maintenance and have a limited lifespan.
Toxic fumes: A petrol vehicle emits toxic fumes which will cause pollution problems especially in large cities. It is also a problem in any underground tunnels and parking stations where air ventilation will have to be added to expel the toxic fumes.
Longevity: A petrol vehicle typically only has a lifespan of 200,000 to 400,000kms before many of the complex components such as the engine, gear box and differential need replacing or servicing which is so expensive that typically the vehicle is scrapped. Electric vehicles last 2–5 times longer.
Efficiency: A petrol vehicle is extremely inefficient, only delivering about 25% of the energy of the petrol as movement, the other 75% is wasted as heat. Plus large amounts of energy is used to extract, refine and transport the petrol. Whereas an electric vehicle is about 70%-80% efficient.
Acceleration: Petrol vehicles will have slow acceleration compared to electric vehicles.
Editor’s note: What a great piece. And it just shows how dumb a transition back to fossil fuels would be. Ipso facto, a switch to electric must be smart.
Garry Thorpe is an EV owner who recently wrote and spoke about his experiences in the bushfires in southern NSW. See How a Tesla Model 3 became safe haven in Australian bushfires