Should you buy an electric car?

Strolling through the school parking lot in September, I stopped as I noticed four new parking spots painted green. I saw newly installed metal electric car chargers. I thought, “Are these cars really that popular?”

As climate change roars on, more people are talking about electric cars. Electric vehicles could be the future, or it could just be another business with a bright future but not as much traction.

  California proposed to have fully electric or hybrid vehicles by 2035. Advocates believe it would reduce the world’s carbon footprint due to lower emissions. Everyone, including myself, wants a healthier earth, but 2035 is only twelve years away. 

We’re not ready yet.

Close-up of a new charger in the Green Lot – Pierce Laveran ’24

Electric cars have grown more popular during inflation this past year. No one wants to see each dollar digit rise with each pump of gas. Even with all this success, electric cars still are not the full solution to climate change and carbon emissions. 

A car buyer must be cautious about electric cars due to many unhighlighted environmental impacts. 

One major downside is the long term, when lithium batteries degrade. We can not reuse old batteries. Once a battery gets about a few years of usage, it takes over 100 years to decompose. 

This is one reason to wait until technology improves to buy an electric car: battery technology is constantly advancing.

This is one reason to wait until technology improves to buy an electric car: battery technology is constantly advancing.

Manufacturing these batteries raises problems as well. Some batteries contain large amounts of cobalt, which requires hazardous mining practices. This also occurs with mining lithium, a component of every electric car. These batteries are toxic to the environment, and more batteries create more harm.

An increase in electric vehicles would make the U.S. more reliant on other foreign powers. Many parts of lithium batteries require raw materials and manufacturing in other countries. Most of the countries with these materials are not allies of the United States, such as China and Russia.

 A major issue many people have with electric batteries is “radius fear”–the idea of not driving long distances due to worrying about not having a charger nearby. Many countries and even the U.S. might struggle to sustain the mass infrastructure for increased electricity use. 

High-voltage chargers are necessary for cars to charge effectively. This can be quite expensive and not available in rural areas. 

Electric cars have many potential advantages and future possibilities but need more time to solve many recurring issues that are not always recognized by the common driver. 

Personally, I would wait to purchase an electric car.