Electric cars have been around for a long time. An electric vehicle is powered by a battery instead of an internal combustion engine. Surprisingly, they have been around longer than gasoline powered vehicles. One of the first electric vehicles was created in 1828 by Ányos Jedlik in Hungary. Throughout the years, they’ve been more or less popular, depending on technology and fuel costs. Recent electric vehicles include the Tesla Roadster and Nissan Leaf. A related technology, the gasoline-electric hybrid car is powered by both large batteries and a gasoline engine. Working together, this setup improves fuel efficiency. The first thoroughly modern hybrid car was the Toyota Prius, which was released in 1997. Recently, there has been a small
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Electric vehicles are different because of the fact they don’t require fuel in the traditional sense. A car powered by electricity alone will still need to be charged. Where this power comes from is up to the operator. Electric vehicles are charged by plugging them into an electrical grid. These grids can be powered by coal, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric, solar, wind, nuclear, and others. All of these sources are cleaner compared to the amount of air pollution emitted by mass amounts of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
With the concern about air quality higher than it’s ever been, the importance of reducing air pollutants is usually thought about when researching a new car purchase. Hybrids and electric vehicles usually output much less pollution into the air than conventional vehicles. This is because the battery takes over the duties of the conventional engine either fully or part of the time. Dangerous pollutants that are expelled from a vehicle include: hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, soot, sulfur oxide, and volatile organic compounds. All of these compounds damage the environment, humans, and our infrastructure. An electric vehicle will have no emissions. If solar, hydro, or wind power is used, these are renewable sources which have almost no effect on the environment.
While usually overlooked compared to fuel efficiency and air pollutants, the reduction of petrochemical waste is an important factor when thinking about