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Ruiz 1

Christofer Ruiz
Lynn Taylor
1 December, 2014
Classical Argument
Have you ever thought about what your carbon footprint is? Do you think that you waste
energy? Can you even use too much energy? Everyone wastes energy. It is just a part of life, but
there are a lot of different things that you can do to help lower your contribution to the carbon
footprint. There is one particular way that sparks debate if it is helping the environment: electric
cars. Electric cars are a technological advancement for the automotive industry, and literally have
no pollutants at the tailpipe. The controversy of electric cars is still pretty new, but they do have a
smaller carbon footprint, are economical, and will improve with the advancements in technology.
Electric cars have been around for quite a while. Some of the first electric cars were built
in the late 1800s. Electric cars were in their prime coming into the 1900s. One third of all the
cars were EVs, electric cars, in the United States. Even Ferdinand Porsche, who founded Porsche
sports cars, created an electric car in 1898 called the P1. He even created the worlds first hybrid
car. Even Thomas Edison went at it to make an electric car. Henry Ford, who was a friend of
Edisons, partnered with Edison to make an affordable electric car. Unfortunately, Henry Ford
was able to mass produce his Model T, which was much cheaper than any electric vehicle. After
that, the electric starter for the petroleum engines was made, which stopped the hand cranking
starter. Electric cars didnt have enough technology or affordability to compete with electric cars.

After about five decades, the United States had petroleum shortages. The 1970s were
rough for petroleum cars. The Energy Department was involved in the Electric and Hybrid
Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1976, which authorized them to
support the research and development for hybrid and electric vehicles. EVs had more attention
again. They were on the rise, and GM was featuring the EV1. The production cost was figured
and ended up being too expensive to put into production. Then the economy started to boom
again, and the public was not interested in fuel efficient vehicles. Now, Tesla, who was granted a
$465 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2006, paid it back in full in 2015. They
sparked the new coming of electric cars for the 21st century (Matulka The History..).
Electric cars do have a smaller carbon footprint. They produce no emissions at the tail
pipe. There is no fuel to burn, any air intake, and just electric power. The energy used for electric
cars, however, comes with the production and recycling of the batteries. The batteries themselves
are made with some rare earth elements, and companies have to mine thousands of tons of these
elements every year for the cars but the waste and energy made and used compared to the waste
made from burning coal is thousands of times less. Even when we start using more green energy
to produce electricity, such as nuclear power plants, solar power, hydroelectric power plants,
wind turbines, and natural gas plants, it will drop the carbon footprint even lower (Conca).
One other concern for electric vehicles is if they are really economical. Sure, you do not
spend as much money for gasoline, but what about your electricity bill? Surely that will make up
the difference on gas you save. Well, it does not. The average cost for a gallon of gasoline this
week is around $3. That is actually the lowest it has been for quite a while. Electricity on the
other hand, cost between $.03 and $.25 per kilowatt-hour. This means that it would cost $1 on
average for a car to travel the same distance as a car similar in weight to travel on one gallon of

gas. That is a $2 per gallon of savings. Plus, up to 80% of the energy is transferred to the car
from the battery. A gasoline powered car transfers about 14-26% of that energy. That is a huge
difference in efficiency; you literally get more distance with your money. Another major factor in
considering the economics of electric vehicles is the regular maintenance. Electric vehicles do
not need oil changes, as there is no oil, nor any engine. They also have brake pads that lost
longer as well, due to the regenerative braking, which is a method of converting the energy used
to reduce the speed into power that is stored back into the vehicles battery. You save energy
when you slow down (MIT).
The room for advancements in technology makes electric vehicles stay ahead of their
competition. I am not talking about having the latest navigation system, or the newest stereo
system. I am talking about the advancements in making an electric vehicle lost longer. The
average electric vehicle can get just over 100 miles before it needs a charge. That is plenty of
distance, considering the average American commutes around 30 miles a day. The number has
gone up from around 65 miles on a charge from 2012, which is just around three years ago. That
is almost 60%more distance. The cost for these cars are steadily lowering, the popularity is
rising, so the attention towards these cars will grow. Companies will throw everything they have
to keep up with the public, and they will fall through technological advancements to make their
product appealing for the public It is like coming out with new features for a newer car, but
electric vehicles will have a longer driving range, cheaper costs, even lower maintenance, allow
room for bigger cars, and even have them be better for the environment (Matulka Top Ten..).
The biggest concerns with electric cars, however, are the batteries. They are the most
expensive part of the vehicle, and they are also one of the heaviest. In 2009, the battery cost
around $33,000. They are also a part that limits the range of the vehicle. In2009, the average

distance the battery could travel was around 60 miles. Today, the average is around 100 miles.
The battery is what powers electric vehicles, so they are the most vital. This is a good concern,
but technology has already come a long way for these batteries. In 2012, the price of these
batteries went down to an average of $17,000; that is almost half the cost. By the end of 2015,
they are expected to drop to $10,000. Electric vehicles will only continue to grow with
technology. The concerns people have now for these cars may have been accurate for 2009, but
today they are put to the test (Matulka Top Ten...).
Electric cars are a better choice for car buyers. With their advancement in technology,
they are better for the environment, compared to their petroleum counterparts. They use cleaner
energy, are economical, and are always growing with the advancements of technology. We do
need better technology for these batteries, but they do save the consumer money. They are
starting another green hype, and they are going to start leading to make the sight for cleaner
energy to be ever more ready for our future. Even with half of our nation moving over to clean
energy, they may be the extra motivation for the rest of the nation to get to the clean energy
The importance for an electric vehicle in our modern age is something that people should
put to mind. They help make our environment cleaner, and even here, in Salt Lake City, where
our air quality is horrible. If people drove electric cars, our air would slowly become cleaner. We
would actually be able to breathe when we step outside. We wouldnt have to smell that nasty air
every morning. We could make the nation notice us, and then other large cities can follow suit,
such as Reno or Los Angeles. It is not too late for us to push electric cars. Anyone can get an
electric car, even a sports car kind of person. Ferrari has an electric vehicle, but if you dont have
a few million dollars lying around, you can get a Tesla. They are all electric, and are the leading

company for research towards electric cars and their batteries. Start paying attention to parking
lots. You will start to notice green parking spaces, as well as charging stations at the front of the
parking spots. Why not be a part of the people who get to park at the front of the store in those
spaces? You even get a grant from the government to help pay for your car. Be a part of the new
trend, and help make a step towards creating a cleaner environment.

Works Cited
Conca, James. "Are Electric Cars Really That Polluting?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 21
July 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

Matulka, Rebecca. "The History of the Electric Car.", 15 Sept.
14. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Matulka, Rebecca. "Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Electric
Vehicles.", 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.
MIT Electric Vehicle Team, April 2008. "Technology, Challenges, and the Future of
Electric Drive."Technology, Challenges, and the Future of Electric Drive (2008): n. pag.
MIT, Apr. 2008. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.