A re-visit to the Electric Car debate
By Natalie Gasper, West staff reporter
With spring break just a few weeks ago, students all over campus are starting to buzz with excitement. After a tough winter, who isn’t ready for a little warm and sunshine? Spring is much more than just nicer weather, though; it’s also the time of year when people began thinking about ways to help the environment again.
In recent years technology has made some pretty incredible advances. One of these, electric cars, has yet to be given the attention they deserve. It’s no secret that cars burn fossil fuel which then releases pollution into the air in the form of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons (carcinogens, nitrate oxide, sulfur oxide, etc.), and particulate matter. In short, driving cars isn’t doing the environment or our lungs any good.
Tri-C’s Automotive Technology Program (AutoTech), is ahead of the game because they already have a recharging station for electric cars at the Western Campus. Tesla, a big name in the car industry, is currently building dozens of charging stations, in the US and in Europe.
Their superchargers are able to charge a car battery to 50% in as little as 20 minutes, and can provide a 90% charge in just over an hour. With 75 stations currently in the US, it is possible to travel from coast to coast. By 2015, they will have stations all over the US, making it more convenient for everyone to drive an electric car.
Within the next 2-3 years, more and more companies will provide charging services or docks, and many will be powered fully or partly by solar panels. Which means the only real barrier between electric cars gaining popularity is price. The average price for one is about $28,000, although the price may vary up or down depending on the company and the model. Many people throw out electric as an option because of this, but many of these people don’t consider their gas savings (about $2000 a year).
All things considered, driving an electric car might come out a bit more expensive, but the benefit it provides to the environment is without measure.