General Motors Electric Cars Disadvantages

by Jason Shaw
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Summary

Some explanations why people choose not to use electric cars will be seen in the report. Price, reduced range, poor batteries, and lack of power are some of these factors.  To make people use them, it will also offer solutions.

Introduction

Cars have been the main means of transport around the globe over the last century. Moreover, in different countries, they also serve as symbols of culture and wealth. The overwhelming use of vehicles has contributed to trillions of dollars being invested in refueling stations, with billions of barrels of gasoline being transported worldwide every day. More than one-third of the world ‘s total oil, such as natural gas, diesel, and gasoline, is estimated to be used to drive automobiles. Today, auto industries are in the toe-tip of enhancing transition into electric cars. This is due to many factors that restrict the growth of the oil and automotive industries. These limiting factors have forced engineers to introduce a number of propulsive systems that instead of oil require other sources of energy.

General Motors Electric Cars Disadvantages

Therefore, General Motors has come up with a very promising battery electric vehicle (BEV) configuration to replace the combustion engine.

An electric car is a model of a car that uses an electric motor to power the car with battery-powered electricity.

In contrast to those used in cell phones and tablets, batteries used in these vehicles have different designs of lead-acid and lithium-ion silliers. Electric vehicle evolution has been achieved to address fuel resource depression and air pollution prevention. The emission of toxic hydrocarbons has been a major global problem, mitigating the invention and adoption of less harmful forms of machinery by car manufacturers.

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In addition, due to the recent risks of global warming, there has been a rise in awareness among people around the world over the years to follow eco-friendly practices through going green. Therefore, the future alternative to save the planet from toxic emissions produced by petroleum-driven automobiles is electric vehicles. Since 1996, when General Motors created the first modern electric car in the world, these types of vehicles have taken a long journey. The Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Roadster, and Nissan Leaf are the latest electric cars that have been launched. In today’s technology and market acceptance, these cars have taken a very big move forward. This is because they have been seen as a significant step in reducing reliance on petroleum products, protecting the atmosphere, and enhancing worldwide transport sustainability (Eberhard & Tarpenning, 2006).

Electric vehicles are claimed to be able to travel a distance of 100 miles per hour, which makes them the world’s fastest vehicles. In different countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, this has brought these cars greater popularity and sales. In 2011, electric car sales in the United States rose to around 350,000 units. Many consumers bought these vehicles to qualify for tax discounts imposed on petroleum products by federal governments during an economic recession. Despite the desire of General Motors to fight global warming, due to the restricted range of electric vehicles, the industry still faces an obstacle to electrifying automotive industries. On the user side, this obstacle is primarily observed-they are afraid to get stuck along roads with empty batteries (Haaren, 2011).

While the use of environmentally friendly vehicles puts great emphasis on saving the environment, individuals need to be realistic about their benefits. This is because electric vehicles have very important drawbacks that impose a constraint on their usage and widespread availability. Furthermore, these drawbacks provide explanations why people around the world choose not to use electric cars. Therefore, the study in this paper aims to provide insight into how General Motors can increase its interest in electric cars by fan-enhancing electric cars, fixing battery issues, and increasing the range that electric cars can travel.

Reasons why people tend not to use electric cars

Although electric cars are environmentally friendly, because they create zero emission of harmful gases, they also have limitations that make many people avoid using them. Electric cars have not spread in many countries and thus are not readily available in most parts of the world because of various shortcomings (Choi, 2009).

  • Electric cars are expensive

Buying an electric car is comparatively expensive compared to gasoline-powered cars of the same range. It, therefore, turns out too expensive for many people to own these cars. In the current market, Nissan Leaf costs 33,000 dollars, while Chevrolet Volt has an estimated cost of 40,000 dollars. These are outrageous prices, which most people cannot afford, and this makes electric cars less dispersed in many countries. In addition, the lithium batteries used in running electric cars go for as high as 10,000 dollars, which is too expensive for many people (Choi, 2009).

Besides the cost of purchasing these cars, their insurance rate is also higher compared to those of gas-powered cars, because they are endangered to chances of running out of power at bad spots. They are also engaged in dangers associated with electricity, which makes their insurance premiums higher. Moreover, electric cars have higher maintenance cost compared to petroleum-powered cars. This is because they are associated with new technologies and require newly developed skills from mechanics. The high cost of purchasing, maintaining, and paying insurance premiums makes electric cars less available to many people. It is estimated that electric cars are owned by less than 10 per cent of people in the United States and the UK due to their expensive nature (Haaren, 2011).

  • Electric cars have a reduced range.

Electric cars do not suit the needs of drivers with a passion for traveling long drives. They, therefore, create inconveniences for the drivers who need to have better plans and act accordingly before starting their long journeys. Since electric car batteries need recharging, they might end up letting drivers down during long travels in heavy traffic around big cities and metro. In most cases, the distance for electric cars is set at 80 kilometres for a single charge. Any distance beyond this range will make the car run out of charge. In addition, Nissan Leaf has been claimed to cover a distance of 100 miles, while Chevrolet Volt covers a distance of 50 miles per single charge. These are small ranges, and this affects the comfort of daily and long-distance commuters (Haaren, 2011).

Road trips in electric cars can, therefore, turn into nightmares for drivers in case battery charge kicks off in areas with no place to recharge. Moreover, complete batteries recharging takes more than eight hours, creating transport inconveniences. Recently, General Motors has experienced the fear of electric cars’ drive distance range that needs to be addressed through increasing battery energy, battery density, and decreasing the time needed for the battery to recharge. This is to ensure the increase of distance range within the single charge of the batteries (Eberhard & Tarpenning, 2006).

  • Electric cars’ batteries need recharging and are not long-lasting.

The other trouble with electric cars is that their batteries need recharging. Every time individuals use their cars, they need to provide their batteries with adequate time to recharge fully. This, therefore, requires advanced planning in order to ensure the batteries are fully charged to cover a specified distance. The nature of rechargeable batteries in these cars makes it problematic for unplanned trips if the driver has not had enough time to recharge the batteries. In addition, the batteries are not long-lasting and take the duration of only 3-4 years for them to expire. Their inability to last long prevents people from purchasing these vehicles because it is expensive to replace the batteries (Matthew-Wilson, 2010).

  • Lack of power

Lack of power is another problem that prevents people from acquiring electric cars. This is because they are characterized by the inability to accelerate at a considerable speed. This is because the estimated speed among these cars is 70 mph, making them poor when driving along major highways. In addition, electric cars are also weak when driven on a hilly course. This creates inconvenience during emergencies (Choi, 2009).

Ways to increase the use of electronic cars

The biggest concern for people with regard to electronic cars is the limited range. Electric cars do not allow for long-distance traveling. This has discouraged many Americans from adopting such a car, as long drives feature prominently as a hobby among American drivers. To solve this, General Motors should implement plug-in hybrid electronic cars (PHEV) (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009). This hybrid electronic car gives drivers a range-extension meaning – drivers can continue driving on gas power when the battery is exhausted. The PHEV can go for 40 miles on electronic mode and an additional 300 miles running on gas. Nevertheless, drivers are less likely to use gas, as research indicates that American drivers drive an average of 40 miles or less a day. Use of fossil fuels is limited to long journeys or cases when recharging units are not available (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009).

Secondly, in addition to charging units placed at homes and workplaces, recharging posts should be placed in various locations across the country. This way, it reduces the chances of a driver being stranded in the middle of the road because the battery ran out. The posts should be installed in retail outlets or service stations, which have access to commercial electricity infrastructure. Furthermore, these posts should be able to charge fast. Reducing the recharging time to 30 minutes to gain the 80-mile range will motivate people to own electronic cars (POST, 2010).

One of the factors contributing to the high costs of electronic cars is the size of the battery. A bigger range requires a bigger battery, which is more expensive. The hybrid technology combining the battery and fossil fuel increases the efficiency of the car, thus reducing the size of the battery. Apart from the hybrid technology, regenerative braking technology increases energy efficiencies (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009). Regenerative braking slows down the car while recharging the battery from the movement of the motor. Though this restores a third of the energy in the battery, it reduces the need for bigger batteries, thus reducing the overall cost of the car. General Motors can also share battery costs with the consumer (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009). Electronic cars require a change of batteries every 5-10 years. Manufacturers can lease these batteries to drivers and then have them returned and used for recycling or energy storage. This reduces the initial cost of batteries, thus reducing the cost of the car (POST, 2010).

Another way of reducing the cost of the car is the mass production of electronic cars. The only way General Motors can achieve this is if the government offers some form of incentive. Federal grants and loans will provide General Motors with funds needed to manufacture the cars in large numbers, thus meeting the demand from the retailer and ultimately the customers. Subsidies of up to $7500 and an additional $5000 for charging stations will help reduce the cost of setting up the recharging post, making the EVs more accessible to the people (Messer, 2011).

General Motors should also work with the government to introduce an incentive for people using their electronic cars. The United States imports more than 55percent of their oil used in internal combustion engines. The use of electronic cars on the roads will reduce the amount of money used in importing oil and emission of pollutants to the environment. The government should introduce incentives such as discounts on parking. The cost of parking within the cities is extremely high for people using personal cars. Reducing this cost for people using electronic cars is likely to tilt the scale to the more extensive use of EVs instead of gasoline cars. Further, an advanced demonstration in different states should be set up, which will include around 500, 000 cars. When people get to understand how cars function, they are more likely to accept them (Messer, 2011).

Qualification for writing on the topic

Writing about the increased use of electronic cars is influenced by the concern for the environment against global warming and the increased cost of fossil fuels. Electronic vehicles are referred to as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), meaning they do not emit any toxic compounds into the atmosphere. In addition, the engines of the cars are very silent, which reduces noise pollution. The power plants used to generate power used in EVs are also held to higher standards, translating to lower toxic emissions compared to emissions in gasoline-powered vehicles. IC vehicles are considered as the least efficient devices in the world, as everything that goes in and comes out of the vehicle is toxic (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009).

The IC is related to problems such as the greenhouse effect with increased emission of carbon dioxide resulting in global warming. This is intensified by hundreds of millions of IC cars used on roads across the world. IC vehicles also depend on foreign oil, which leads to environmental degradation through excavation and a threat to national security. Toxic air pollution is also aggravated by IC vehicles by the emission of such gases like carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide, which leads to death and acidic rains that destroy plants and organic life. IC vehicles also lead to wastage of heat due to its inefficiency. In IC, only about 20 per cent of the heat is used compared to the 80-90 per cent of energy used in electronic cars (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009).

The price of fossil oils is also increasing. This is brought about by volatile oil prices on the international market, reducing domestic production and increasing domestic and world demand for oil. The cost of fueling a car in Britain, for example, ranges between £10 and £15 for a petrol car compared to that of recharging a car at only £2. The price of fueling an IC car will be too high for the regular American, hence the need for the electronic car (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009).

The inefficiency of IC vehicles leads to wastage of the already scarce fossil fuels while contributing to environmental degradation and pollution (Leitman, Brant, & Brant, 2009). This wastage is leading to the depletion of the already scarce resources and the increase in the price of gasoline. The increase in gas prices translates to a higher cost of living, as the increased cost of transportation is passed onto consumer products. EV, however, provide a solution to this with their zero-emission technology and efficiency in energy consumption (POST, 2010).

Conclusion

Low range, high initial cost, and problems with the battery have made it hard for people to embrace electronic cars. Advances in technology used to make EV will help increase the range of cars while reducing the price and size of the battery. This, coupled with the help from the government in the form of incentives both to the manufacturers, and the consumers will increase the chances of more people buying the EVs. This will, in turn, reduce environmental degradation and pollution while eliminating the costs associated with owning IC vehicles.

 Annotated Bibliography
  • Choi, J. (2009). Prospects of electric vehicles. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from www2.hmc.edu/~evans/PEVChoi.pdf

In this article, Jeongwoo Choi focuses on the extravagant amount of energy used to drive automobiles each day across the world. According to the author, excessive use of energy will lead to its depletion in the next few centuries. He believes that the depletion of the sources of energy will affect the structure of transportation in the world. In an effort to address the depletion of gases and fossil fuels, people must embrace the use of alternative sources of energy such as electricity.

  • Eberhard, M., & Tarpenning, M. ( 2006, October 6). The 21st century electric car. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/…/TeslaReading.pdf

This article by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning focuses on electric cars as a type of technology that has zero-degree emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere. According to the two authors, the invention of electric cars will lead to a reduction in the rate of pollution in the environment. In addition, they also indicate that lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars are efficient because they produce more energy to run the car. Sufficient energy from the batteries gives an astonishing performance to cars such as Tesla Roadster.

  • Haaren, R. V. ( 2011, December). Assessment of electric cars’ range requirements and usage patterns based on driving behaviour recorded in the National Household Travel Survey of 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from www.solarjourneyusa.com/HowFarWeDrive_v1.2.pdf

This article reviews the use of cars in the current world as a means of transport. According to Rob van Haaren, advancement in the use of cars across the world has resulted in billions of barrels of gas being used in the production of energy in the transport industry. This, on the other hand, led to an increase in pollution due to the emission of poisonous gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere. Accumulation of these gases in the atmosphere leads to global warming. In order to address these issues, General Motors should embark on the invention of electric cars that do not emit poisonous gases in the atmosphere.

  • Leitman, S., Brant, B., & Brant, B. (2009). Build your own electric vehicle. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Leitman provides a comprehensive how-to while looking at the advantages of electronic cars. He notes that electronic cars are not only fun and convenient but also, through technological advances such as reversal breaking and hybrid electronic models, could be the answer to environmental concern and increased prices of fossil fuels.  The book has been used to qualify the writing on the topic in regard to environmental conservation.

  • Matthew-Wilson, C. (2010). The emperor’s new car. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from www.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/…/The-Emperors-New-Car.pdf

This article by Clive Matthew-Wilson focuses on the shortcomings of electric cars that make few people use these kinds of cars across the world. The author indicates that, despite General Motors’ willingness to combat global warming through the invention of electric cars, there are various limitations that hinder the company. Some of the shortcomings are that these cars have reduced range and their batteries are not long-lasting and are expensive.

  • Messer, J. D. (2011, May 14). Can electric vehicles take off? a roadmap to find the answer. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from environment 360:            http://e360.yale.edu/feature/can_electric_vehicles_take_off_a_roadmap_to_find_the_           answer/2380/

Messer, in this article, notes that electronic cars are gaining popularity across the world but wonders at the potential of the car in the current markets. To find out, he suggests that a pilot demonstration project should be carried to show people how they stand to benefit from the car. This article has been used to suggest that a pilot project should be used to get people to use electronic cars.

  • Parliamentary House of Science and Technology. (2010). Eectronic cars. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn365_electricvehicles.pdf

In this research, the Department of Science and Technology under the government of the United Kingdom looks at the factors that have hindered the acceptance of electronic cars. They include the cost of the battery, limited ranges, lack of recharging posts, and long recharging time. Remedies such as mass production, hybrid technology, and pilot programs and government incentives are forwarded as possible solutions to the problem. The report also looks at the environmental benefits of using electronic cars. This report has guided me in understanding how people stand to benefit through the use of electronic cars.[/sociallocker]

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