It seems inevitable that electric vehicle use will become mainstream in the future. How far away the point where we are all driving electric cars is up for debate, but what we can be sure of is that there will be significant changes to driving and road use when the time comes. Here is our guide to what will be different when most of the vehicle use is in electric cars.
Bigger Demand for Electricity
Firstly, we couldn’t merely all switch to electric cars tomorrow as there isn’t enough power in the national electrical grid to power all our homes, businesses and then add in our entire vehicle network at the same time. This will have to change, and as we see the demand increase, then the supply will need to peak as well to meet it.
We’re not going to see quieter roads in terms of traffic numbers anytime soon, with the obvious exception of the current lockdown situation. Still, overall the trend will inevitably be upwards. What we will see, or hear, is less noise on the average road due to electric motors being much quieter than their gas counterparts. There has even been talk of introducing some noise in electric cars to alert pedestrians as we are used to hearing as well as seeing traffic, who remembers the stop, look and listen method we were taught as kids for crossing the road?
The humble American gas station could be a thing of the past as electric charging will be different from fuelling up a traditional auto. There are so many places that you can charge a car, have a look at the EV charging networks, and you can see that even if a gas station installs charging points, then they face a lot of competition. There will still be the need to provide charging capacity along highways and interstates, so there will be some need, but the gas station may need to diversify their business model to survive.
Cost of Buying a Vehicle
Currently, electric cars cost much more to buy as new vehicles, but market economics would dictate that as they become more popular, then the price will come down; however, this is not likely to be for at least five years. One point to note though is that the initial high cost of purchase is offset by the cheaper cost of running the vehicle comparatively.
Cleaner Air Quality
One clear benefit, once we move to electric vehicles, is the cleaner air quality we will all experience. We can see a real-world example of what this may be like from the recent fall in emissions due to the global COVID 19 pandemic where there has been a temporary dive in air pollution; and people are reporting more natural breathing and even seeing distances that have not been possible for generations. We do need to be careful that our electricity is being produced cleanly, there is no advantage to using an electric car if the electricity comes from a coal-powered power plant.