Electric Cars

By Neftali (Nef) Hernandez

Technologies that make life simpler usually start to gain market share, get public acceptance and finally prevail over others.  Wi-Fi wireless technology, for example.  When it started, it was not user friendly or faster than an Ethernet cable.  However it was convenient and gave people the freedom to be detached from their desk or office table.  Now Wi-Fi is widely used to access the internet everywhere.  The same thing happened with digital cameras.  At the beginning I got used to the expression “digital cameras will never replace film cameras, because they will never have the same resolution.”  Guess what? They have replaced almost completely, film cameras.

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In my opinion environmentally friendly technologies that meet the same criteria won’t be the exception, especially, Electric Vehicles (EVs).  You can find out more about environmentally friendly vehicles at EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide.

I am confident that many of the shortcomings (lack of infrastructure to “plug into,” range on a full charge, battery lifespan) will eventually be overcome.  Today some experimental EVs can even give you almost 300 miles per charge and have the option of fully charging the battery in less than 4 hours.  “Four hours?  That is a lot.” Yes, it is.  But if you get in the habit of recharging your car every time you stop in your home, you may never have to wait the 4 hours.

American automobile makers are wonderful innovators and have been moving into EV manufacturing over the last several years, even pushing EPA to come up with a new sticker.

This is creating a healthy competition that will bring more affordable EVs to the general public and will likely give people greater confidence in these cars.  Is an EV better for you than the combustion engine cars of today?  Answering this is very subjective because it depends on your unique needs.  I know my answer is not that clear.  However the environmental benefits of EV are growing (zero emissions of pollution and lower noise levels) so if you ask me… Do you think that an EV could replace my combustion engine car?  My answer is simple “Yes, it will, someday.”

The next big thing for the EVs might be designing them in such a way that they can be disassembled and their components reused or recycled easily when the vehicle reaches it usable life, minimizing waste for generations to come.  Such an approach might be applied to many things that we produce, but I’ll save that for another blog.

 About the Author: Neftali Hernandez grew up in Puerto Rico and is an Environmental Scientist with EPA Region 7’s Drinking Water Branch.  He is a member of EPA’s Water Emergency Response Group and has a bachelor of science degree in biology and a masters of science degree in environmental health from the University of Puerto Rico.

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