Table of contents
- Price comparison:
- Compare with functions of both vehicles:
- Pollution issue:
- The ethical claim about electric vehicles:
In recent years, new energy vehicles - charging vehicles appear in the automotive industry market. Some people argue that “electric cars should replace gas-driven cars”, which is a topic that I strongly disagree with. I will analyze it from four aspects: function, price, ethical claim, and production pollution respectively. From the first article, it is mentioned that even the cheapest electric car is very expensive so many people cannot afford it, while the fuel car is a better choice to support my argument (Peters,2019). From the second reading, I learned that charging cars takes a long time to recharge, and charging stations are not widely promoted. From the third article tells the pollution generated by the production process of charging vehicles is several times more than gas-driven vehicles (Ramey,2018).
In the fourth article, a moral claim about batteries is revealed, showing that charging cars is not the “green” as the electric car manufacturers advertised (Stanisljevic, 2019).
In terms of price comparison, I will analyze both the price of charging cars and government subsidies to show that gasoline cars have more price advantages. The cheapest electric vehicle is Nissan Leaf - $30,000. Some customers cannot afford that amount of money. Instead, people can choose a Toyota Corolla L- a refueling car, which costs $10,000 less than the Nissan leaf. Here is another set of data to compare. Everyone knows the charging car leader Tesla. Its cheapest model, which is model 3, costs $55,990. For most expensive model, which is the model x, costs $116,090. On the contrary, with prices ranging from $10,000 to $300,000, customers are free to choose the gas-driven car that maximizes their utilities based on their needs and budget. Even though sales of electric cars are growing in the automotive industry, they account for only 1% of the market (Peters,2019). Moreover, most of the market share is coming from wealthy areas of the United States, such as Washington and San Francisco (Peters,2019). At present, charging cars are just an accessory for the rich, and can't replace refueling cars in people's daily life, unless the price of electric vehicles and the price of batteries can be drastically reduced in the future, making it affordable for more people.
The government has offered subsidy rebates from $2,500 to $5,000 to stimulate the new energy car industry if a citizen buys an electric vehicle. China, the country with the largest purchasing power for charging cars, also subsidizes residential energy vehicles. But what we need to think about is how long the government can provide subsidies. If EVs rely on government subsidies to stimulate purchases for a long time, the government's financial pressure will be so big. As we all know, our country was facing a fiscal deficit in 2018, thus the government will stop subsidizing after a period for sure. New-energy vehicles cannot rely on the government for a long time to consolidate their position in the market and replace gas-powered vehicles. China plans to end subsidies for electric cars as well by 2020 (Stanisljevic, 2019). There has been news in various countries that subsidies for the purchase of charging cars will be reduced or discontinued, which means that there is no advantage of buying a charging car in the future, and even the price of the electric car will be higher than that of a comparable refueling car. A large part of the government's revenue comes from gasoline taxes. If gasoline cars are completely replaced, the government's budget for infrastructure, welfare for the elderly, and subsidies for infants will be greatly reduced. Thus, after analyzing the car price and government subsidy, charging cars still have no price advantage, even more, expensive than fuel cars, which is enough evidence to show that the price of fuel cars is more suitable for current customers.
Compare with functions of both vehicles:
Since people's work and life are more and more fast-paced, Efficiency is the top need of people. when choosing the type of car to buy, they will pay more attention to its functionality, such as how far the car will run when full of electricity, or how long it will take to charge. According to the Canadian automobile association (2019), we can find out that there are three levels to charging electric vehicles. Using 110 volts to charge a charging car, usually takes all night at level 1, just like we charge our mobile phones at home. Using 220 volts in a charging station, usually takes 5 to 10 hours at level 2, depending on the battery capacity. We can also buy a charging pile at home, but it will cost a lot of money. If you're using a 400-volt quick charge at level 3, it usually takes about 45 minutes to recharge. In contrast with gas-driven vehicles, any type of refueling vehicle can fill up a tank of gas in 5 minutes, which is more convenient and time-saving. Especially in an emergency, I believe no one can wait an hour for charging. Wintertime is very long in Canada, from October to April of the following year. You must turn on the air conditioner while you're driving. For this reason, it will shorten the battery life. Take my friend Nic’s electric vehicles as an example, he bought a tesla MODEL X last year and he complains that after a year of use, the car has gone from running 450 km on full power to 430 km now. We can imagine that even a company like Tesla, which has top-of-the-line battery technology, still contains a problem with battery endurance, not to mention cheap rechargeable cars, such as the Nissan leaf, whose batteries need to be replaced every two or three years. Furthermore, for example, Canada has relatively few charging stations, compared with the United States. Finding charging stations within cities is not so hard, for instance, Yorkdale Shopping Center, Eaton center, and Pearson Airport. If you want to spend a weekend camping out or barbecuing with friends in the suburbs, finding a charging station on the go can be a headache. To sum up, gas vehicles provide us with a more convenient operation to refuel and save time, which is needed for our fast-paced lifestyle. In terms of function, the gasoline car is the most efficient first choice undoubtedly.
The positive side argued that gas-driven cars are polluting the environment by emitting a lot of exhaust gas. But they did not mention charging cars produces far more pollution than for refueling vehicles at the stage of automobile production. According to Ramey (2018), “Mercedes-Benz estimates that currently, an EV releases significantly more climate-warming gases at its manufacturing stage than a gas or diesel-engine car.” Therefore, even if the manufacturer advertises zero emissions, charging cars are polluting the environment before leaving the factory. I think manufacturers should develop new technologies to reduce the pollution emitted by the production of charging cars. The article also mentioned that battery production also releases pollution into the atmosphere, especially in remote cities where battery factories are located (Ramey,2018). Battery production and recycling have always been a topic of great concern to environmental activists. In the next 20 years, many used batteries cannot be recycled systematically, and the battery production process also needs to be improved.
The ethical claim about electric vehicles:
Are electric cars really as harmless as everyone's objective impression? The answer is no. The dark secret behind electric vehicles has not been revealed. As we all know, the battery is the heart of the charging car. Cobalt is the main raw material of batteries. Two-thirds of the world's cobalt comes from the republic of Congo (Stanisljevic, 2019). What we don't know, even though the republic of Congo has vast mineral resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. When we feel smug about owning a new energy car, we even ignore the children who pay a huge price for batteries. Stanisljevic (2019) indicates that “UNICEF estimates there are more than 40,000 children working in mines on jobs such as underground digging, transportation of heavy loads or washing mined cobalt in rivers”. Instead of having a happy childhood like other children, excessive work affects their growth, making them less likely to grow up as fast and strong as their peers. Cobalt disease is common among miners in the republic of Congo and is killing more and more people each year. It's hard to imagine their lives getting any worse once charging cars have completely replaced internal-combustion vehicles. Charging cars will not be universally accepted by the mass market unless charging companies find more efficient and humane ways to extract cobalt. In order to establish social ethics of the enterprise.
It is quite clear that electric vehicles shouldn’t replace gas-driven vehicles. Due to the arguments mentioned above: fuel cars have better performance; electric cars have no price advantage; polluting issues; the ethical claim of battery materials. The solution is that rechargeable car companies need to continue developing technology, shorten charging times and provide more charging locations, and find out if there are alternative battery raw materials. For internal combustion vehicles, the exhaust pollution problem has been solved, if can find a new energy alternative to gasoline is even better. It is the best choice for both charging vehicles and fuel-powered vehicles to exist in the market at the same time so that both sides will have competitive pressure to improve their products, to better achieve the goal of environmental protection and reduce pollution.