What is a Zero-Emissions Vehicle?
A zero-emissions vehicle is a motor vehicle that does not emit gas exhaust from the motor or source of power onboard. The term zero-emissions was created by the California Air Resources Board and refers to pollutants emitted and clean air benefits. By choosing to drive a zero-emissions vehicle, you will help to reduce harmful air pollution and if you drive an electric vehicle, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further.
Some of the benefits of electric vehicles include improved fuel economy, lower fuel costs, increased energy security and as previously mentioned, reduced emissions. Because electric vehicles rely in whole or in part on electric power, their high efficiency drastically reduces fuel costs and improves fuel economy. Since electricity is produced in the U.S. from resources that include coal and natural gas, this helps to support the U.S. economy and adds to the nation’s energy security. Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles also have significant emissions benefits over conventional vehicles as electricity does not pollute the air.
Although fuel costs are lower than conventional vehicles, the purchase price is often significantly higher. Advanced batteries are designed for extended life but will eventually wear out, especially in extreme climates. Most electric vehicles only have a range of 125 – 300 miles. These concerns can result in range anxiety as it takes a lengthy amount of time to recharge a battery. While a conventional vehicle can just be refilled at a gas station, an electric vehicle must be plugged in and commonly adds about 20-25 miles per hour. This forces the user to plug in every night and prohibits many lengthier road trips. However, new charger and battery technology is slowly helping to improve this issue.
The Future of Zero-Emissions Vehicles
As electric vehicles grow in popularity, charging stations are beginning to pop up in major cities all over the country. This will continue to improve our nations energy security and decrease air pollution. However, it may also change the manufacturing process, affecting jobs and creating disruptive new competitors in the automotive industry. One thing is for certain though – whether a car runs on gas or electricity, it still needs wheels!