The safety, economic, and environmental impacts of electric cars

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Electric vehicles are more pollution-free energy efficient, and economical. EVs emit CO2 less than 30% as compared to conventional cars. The UK government is also offering €5000 as a subsidy for each EV. In the UK, no parking fees are applicable to EVs and there is no need to pay congestion charges for EV. As per SMMT of UK, in the last twenty-four months, the sales of electric cars have soared amazingly in the UK. This research study will evaluate the safety, economic, and environmental impacts of electric cars as opposed to conventional petrol/diesel cars in detail.


Presently, car consumers are evincing great interest in electric cars in the UK. There are a lot of benefits of owning an EV in the UK as it is economical, reduces carbon emissions and minimises reliance on fossil fuels. There are some disadvantages also in EVs such as it takes a longer time for the recharge, it gives only 100 miles per recharge and there are no adequate skilled technicians available to repair the vehicles when there is some fault. However, compared to the traditional cars that are running on fossil fuels, EVs are having many benefits and the future is going to be EV that will substitute all other traditional cars in the UK. This research essay will analyse in detail the environmental, safety, and economic impacts of electric cars as opposed to conventional petrol/diesel cars in the UK in detail.


This research essay will use secondary sources to prove the research topic. Secondary sources are one that is already available and easy to access. By employing the secondary sources, this research study can achieve considerable savings in time and cost. This research essay will gather information from the government websites, books, journal articles and websites.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Car

Figure 1 – Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Car


Electric car vs. Gasoline

Figure 2 – Electric car vs. Gasoline



Conventional cars run by petrol or diesel have a noise level of 75 to 85 decibels whereas Electric Vehicle (hereinafter will be referred as “EV”) runs silently without any noise from the engine. For instance, in petrol or diesel cars, about 63% of the fuel is lost due to combustion engine heat and just 15% of energy is stored in the gas tank which is employed to drive the car. Aerodynamic drag and friction will also be lost in the conventional cars. However, EV converts to electrical energy from chemical energy at a pace of 90% efficiency. As regards EV, there is low maintenance cost as there is no use of oil, spark plugs, fan belts, and change of brakes in EV as compared to traditional cars. As regards to the lifespan of the battery, both Chevy and Nissan offer EV with eight-year / 100,000 miles guarantee for the batteries. Even though the EV is somewhat priced high as compared to traditional cars, the UK government is offering a subsidy of €5000 per car to make it more attractive. Further, overall cost efficiency of the electric car will be lower if we compare the annual maintenance cost, fuel cost, spare parts cost and mileage one gets with the EV. An EV minimises CO2 emission to the extent of 36 to 61% as compared to traditional cars. As per the Department of Energy, USA, an EV emits just 32 lbs of CO2 in a 100-mile trip as compared to a traditional car which emits 75 lbs for a 100-mile trip (Kelly, 2012).

Environmental Friendly

From figure 2, we can understand that EV is minimising the heavy reliance on gasoline and oil. Further, it is noise and pollutants free and its batteries can be recycled and there is the absence of fire hazards. From figure 1, we can understand that EV is not only environment-friendly but also energy efficient. From the figure 4, we can understand that by using an EV, a consumer can help to save the environment by reducing the carbon footprint in excess of 60%.

In the case of electricity, that is received from coal-fired power plants which will drastically minimise the environmental benefits for EVs. For instance, in China, almost 100% of its electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants and evaluation of the life-cycle of EV cars in China demonstrates that EVs are polluting the atmosphere as compared to conventional cars.  On the other hand, in Norway, 100% of its electricity is generated from hydropower stations. Hence, EVs are considered to be the most environmentally-friendly cars in Norway (Bomford, 2013).

Economic Advantages

As per the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI), the aggregate social and economic advantage of EVs could be about £51 bn per annum by 2030 with the creation of job opportunities to about 320,000 individuals. As per Jim Saker, the UK government should extend its support for the establishment of about 12500 hydrogen refuelling units throughout the UK and it should declare it as unlawful for uncertified technicians to offer services on fuel cell and EV vehicles. As per SolarCity, its customers of late are able to generate 8GWh of electricity production in twenty-four hours which is adequate to charge up all the Tesla vehicles (EV) plying around the world. Meanwhile, the famous Tesla EV car company introduced an “ affordable electric car “with a minimum price tag of £24.423 and is able to run up to 215 miles per charge. As per Tesla Company, the company is now having about 276,000 pre-orders for its economy Model 3 (Edie Newsroom, 2016).


As compared to traditional cars, EV is safe as there are no fire hazards and it is also noise free. However, there are some security issues as hackers can assume control of the EVs car heating systems. As the EVs are now linked to the Internet, there exists a risk of car hacking as the hacker is able to control one’s car remotely. A hacker can have access to the EV driver’s recent trips remotely. If a hacker is able to hack the engine system of an EV, then it may have dire consequences. This safety loophole has to be plugged in on a war footing basis.

Hybrid Car

As per the recent technology invention, EVs can charge even on running by shifting to wind energy into electricity and storing it the same in the battery and to continue the journey without a break.During the daytime, the solar energy can be warehoused in the battery of the car with the assistance of solar panels fixed into the top of the car. A hybrid car which uses the wind, solar and electric will be the ideal car for the future as one can travel for a long distance without charging and can also have considerable high speed and savings in fuel cost and it is environmentally friendly(Jhala et al., 2014:1).


As per the Royal Academy of Engineering study (2010), EVs are the answer to the reduction of carbon emissions and to meet the binding emission targets outlined under Climate Change Act. 2008. The above study also demonstrated that EV could play a major role in catering the target of an 80% reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases by 2050 in the UK.  To achieve this, the UK government should publish its long-run policy agenda for EVs thereby offering the right incentives to nourish the EVs industry. To have a beneficial impact on CO2 emissions, the introduction of EVs on a large scale and for this, the UK government should offer tax holidays, exemption from VAT and other subsidies to support the industry. As there are just 2500 recharging stations available in the UK and this is not all adequate to meet the demand. Hence, the UK government should allocate adequate funds to build more recharging stations to support the EV industry in the UK (Royal Academy of Engineering study, 2010).

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  1. Bomford, A. (2013). How Environmentally Friendly are Electric Cars? [online] available from > [accessed 30 April 2016]
  2. Edie Newsroom. (2016). Electric Cars worth £51bn to UK Economy if Government Act Now.  [online] available from <–51bn-to-UK-economy/> [accessed 30 April 2016].
  3. Jhala, K., Natarajan, B., Pahwa, A., & Erickson, L. (2014, December). Coordinated electric vehicle charging solutions using renewable energy sources. In Computational Intelligence Applications in Smart Grid (CIASG), 2014 IEEE Symposium on (pp. 1-6). IEEE.
  4. Kelly. (2012). Five Reasons that Electric Vehicles are better than Gasoline Vehicles. [online] available from <> [accessed 30 April 2016]
  5. Royal Academy of Engineering Study. (2010). Electric Vehicles Charged with Potentials. online] available from <> [accessed 30 April 2016]/
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