First, let me say that I have no ax to grind in this debate. I don’t design electric cars, I don’t own any stock in electric car companies, and I am not in favor of electric cars over other designs just on principle.
But it seems that of all the current, proven technologies, electric cars might be the best vehicle if it wasn’t for the excessive space, weight, and cost of batteries.
An electric car:[ol][li]Doesn’t need much of the baggage of an internal combustion engine like a carburetor, muffler, distributor, transmission, etc.It is quieter than an ICEIs less polluting than an ICE (yes, I know that power generation is not pollution-free, but it’s easier to contain it at a single power plant than at a million cars)Is vibration-free, so the ride is smootherDoesn’t spend fuel or cause vibration at idleThe engine is smaller than the same power plant in an ICEThe power plant is more reliable because it doesn’t rely upon hundreds of explosions per second and it is rotary motion, so maintenance is cheaper.[/ol][/li]So, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that a good battery or other electrical storage device has been developed; it is cheap, it is compact, it is safe with careful handling, it can be recharged under reasonable conditions (takes little more than the time it takes now to fill a gas tank) and it lasts long enough that replacement cost is not a major consideration.
Under those conditions, is the electric car the best option today?