Transportation has become a key component of our lives in the last few decades. And the industry is more than happy to satisfy the demand and supply us with all kinds of innovative solutions. They come up with new technology and car models every year, and we can’t help but love them. In fact, not just cars, but all the related products and accessories as well. Do you want car protection covers? Great, so many modern cars have custom ones. Do you want some special fancy tires? Aces! I’m sure there are people who supply those too.
Now, many people know plenty about cars, different types of engines, how to pick the best carburettor cleaner and how to change the oil in their own garage. But then there are the rest of us who are not really clear on how to navigate the exciting world of automobile engineering. And most of all, how to make a decision when it comes to purchasing a car and not fall victim to marketing tricks. If you are a person concerned with the emissions your car is going to generate, maybe you’d want an electric car or a hybrid? Maybe you want petrol-fueled beauty if you like the outdoors and plan frequent outings? Let’s see what’s the difference between them and the advantages each type can bring into your life.
In an attempt to protect urban air quality, electric cars were reintroduced in 2008 and were popularized a lot in the last decade, especially across the EU. So what are the advantages and the disadvantages of these engines?
Pros: These cars are considerably quieter, and naturally, they have no harmful tailpipe emissions. Lots of electric car models have higher acceleration than the average petrol-fueled cars, thanks to the absence of drivetrain friction. An electric vehicle (EV) is on average heavier than a similar-sized internal combustion engine (ICE) car. That means, statistically, an occupant of a heavier car is less likely to suffer life-threatening injuries.
Cons: An EV is not well-suited for long-distance marathons. It takes a long time to recharge and the infrastructure in most cities is not yet ready to accommodate EVs at every corner.
Diesel and petrol engines became mass-produced in the 20th Century. And today, the modern economy depends on them greatly. But what advantages do they offer, compared to the EV?
Pros: ICE cars have a much higher level of energy density, compared to electric vehicles, thus its travel reach is much larger. Meaning you are going to have to “feed” your EV more frequently than an ICE car. And, moreover, the refuelling of an ICE car takes a few minutes only, whereas an EV need to be recharged at least for a couple of hours. So ICE cars are much better suited for long-distance trips and countryside outings.
Cons: First of all, air pollution, of course. A standard ICE emits all kinds of harmful chemicals into the air, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, etc. It’s much more likely to catch fire from a crash than an EV, although batteries in the EV are flammable as well.
Hybrid configurations have been used for heavy vehicles (such as construction vehicles) for a long time now, but the technology has been adapted for cars very recently. They have both ICE and an electric motor. So what can it give us today?
Pros: It has the advantages of both motors. It’s powered by the electric motor on the lower speed and by the ICE at a higher speed. It saves fuel and has considerably fewer emissions than the ICE alone.
Cons: Hybrids are heavy on the pocket. Both the car itself and the maintenance are expensive. It’s not built for power. They are great for the city, but again, not really great for countryside outings.
Before making a decision, consider this little list. The reality is, the desire to go eco-friendly might not be enough to maintain your car and keep it happy. You need the infrastructure as well. So do your research before the purchase and make sure you take your environment and driving habits into account!