It's a buzz phrase in the car world, isn't it? Green Cars (aka electric or low-emission cars). More and more people are becoming aware of them and considering to perhaps get one when they next change their car.
And it's the same in the leasing world as it is in the purchasing world. Whether people are looking at Personal Leasing or Business Leasing, considerations of going green are on the increase, as are the number of Low Emission cars that Nationwide Vehicle Contracts have on offer - many with great deals.
Are Green Cars For Everyone?
BMW i3 on the road
Car manufacturers are increasing the number of Green Cars that they are both producing and 'concepting', looking to follow in the footsteps of the Nissan Leaf, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the BMW i3. They have obviously seen a gap in the market for these green machines, and the potential to get more of them on the road, as we detailed in our recent blog about Boris Johnson's involvement and recent statistics.
Nissan LEAF on the road
But it is important, before making any decisions, to look at the pros and cons of Green Vehicles, because at first glance they can seem to be too good to be true; and that may not be the case because there are drawbacks and limitations of these vehicles. As Elizah Leigh says, writing on the Recycle Nation website: "For a very long time, we’ve been quite comfortable with slick, roomy, gas-guzzling vehicles and yet, given the choice, what consumer in their right mind wouldn’t want a more efficient option, particularly if it takes the burden off of his or her wallet in the midst of a depressed economy?"
Pros of Green Vehicles
Mitsubisi Outlander PHEV on the road
Green vehicles reduce the car emissions that are damaging the earth, and in the case of electric vehicles, negate them
Green vehicles reduce our reliance on fuel from the earth's surface and below. Around 40% of the fuel used in the USA is used on personal cars and trucks across the country whereas Electric Vehicles get their power either from a battery or from recycled power via their modified internal combustion engine
Green vehicles cost less to run than those using the more traditional fuels of petrol and diesel, and the tax breaks associated
With zero noise, noise pollution is substantially decreased
Green cars tend to be lighter due to both construction and engine size, meaning that energy consumption is lessened.
There are solar powered cars in the technological pipeline that will save even more emissions and pennies
There are even some Green Cars that are designed to be as recyclable as possible when scrapped, featuring unpainted plastic body panels and air ducts as well as recyclable interior fabric and dashboards.
Cons of Green Cars
An Electric chargepoint at a service station
When it comes to finances, Green vehicles require a more expensive initial outlay, and also have a need for a replacement battery after a few years. Even those cars that feature a hired battery cost more. Lithium-ion batteries also tend to suffer performance wise in cold weather as well as when the user uses their stereo, air conditioner or heating.
Depending on the particular electric vehicle and battery, recharging may be required more often than is convenient. And charging overnight at home will require a lead into a power source - not ideal if you live in flats or on a main road with no garage.
The range of electric cars is limited in comparison to normal-fuelled vehicles as is their speed (especially top speeds.) Green cars are built for economy, not for speed.
Recharging times are a lot longer than 'filling up at the pump,' and vehicles are tied to the current lack of electrical outlets throughout the country (even though they are on the increase.)
When it comes to hybrid vehicles they can also cost more to repair because of the complexity of the dual compulsion system used in most of them. As with all new technology, there aren't that many mechanics trained or equipped to work on hybrid vehicles and repair bills could be larger.
Technology is still under development and seemingly limited
There is also a suggestion that Green Cars aren't as 'green' as first suggested with the energy that they require being created by methods such as nuclear, natural gas, hydro and coal power plants that create emissions. According to Elizah: "Studies have found that EVs can result in more local air pollution at the electricity generation source, especially if the source is a coal power plant.”
It seems that the march towards Green Cars is continuing, although not at a pace that environmentalists would like. Low Emission cars and Hybrids may well be the way forward for now, with Electric Vehicles an ultimate goal. As technology advances and experimental concepts are continued, the time when we get to see more EVs than traditional-fuelled cars on the roads may be sooner than we think; but I wouldn't hold your breath, even though the air will be cleaner.