Friday, February 14, 2014

Are Electric Vehicles the Solution to Increasing Petrol Prices?

When speaking about electric vehicles, more often than not we imagine futuristic scenarios in which we are driving quiet and clean cars. Indeed electric cars' main benefit is their environmentally-friendly approach, with zero emissions both in terms of carbon dioxide and noise.

However, this is not the only factor that makes electric cars a better alternative compared to traditional ones. At a time when the cost of petrol is an increasingly relevant element in families' budgets, it is essential to save on transport to survive and enable the economy to grow.

Electric vehicles meet this need, as they can reduce consumption and maintenance costs compared to competing vehicles running on fossil fuels. The lower costs are due to various factors. First of all, an electric car has a better performance (the relationship between the work produced and the energy spent) compared to any conventional engine: from about 30% for a car running on petrol to 40% for a diesel engine against 90% for an electric induction motor. Moreover, an electric motor has the advantage of being able to work with a constant torque, providing maximum thrust immediately

However, we need to deduct a factor that takes into account the production of electricity, which is still mostly associated with fossil fuels (think of coal power stations), and the transport of electricity. So the actual figure drops to about 51%, which is still higher compared to traditional engines. Moreover, according to statistics, a conventional car uses on average 0.51/0.7 kilowatt-hour per kilometre compared to 0.11/0.23 of an electric car on a like-to-like basis in terms of power.
Now we have all the data we need to calculate how much it costs to move around with an electric vehicle and a traditional one.

Let's suppose that a car running on petrol can travel 100 kilometres with 6 litres of fuel (optimistic estimate), with an indicative current price of € 1.80/litre. Travelling 100km with a car running on petrol will cost us about € 10.8.

Instead, if we consider that a kilowatt costs about € 0.25 and an average factor of 0.17 kWh/km, travelling with an electric car would cost on average about € 4.25.
Therefore, the answer to our initial question is: YES, electric vehicles are the ideal solution to increasing petrol prices, as they reduce transport costs by more than 50%, plus the prices of oil by-products are bound to continue to increase.