Would you buy an eco car?

Have you ever been tempted by an electric or hybrid car? With dwindling natural resources and growing concerns about the environment, many motorists are turning to eco cars.

Most modern cars rely on fossil fuels for power, which are created from finite supplies of crude oil. Spills of crude oil are extremely damaging for the natural environment, and burning fossil fuels has been proven to emit greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming effects. It’s no wonder that car manufacturers and drivers alike are setting their sights on eco cars for the future.

Electric Cars

Although we might think of them as such, electric cars are not a new invention. They were popular with motor vehicle drivers in the late 19th and early 20th century, until gasoline powered cars become cheaper and overtook them. Now, however, they are making a comeback.

Electric cars use an electric motor for power, and draw energy from rechargeable battery packs.

Advantages of electric cars:

  • Recharging your battery is much cheaper than buying petrol
  • They don’t produce exhaust fumes or noxious fumes
  • They are quieter than conventional cars
  • They reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the need for fossil fuels
  • You can charge your car at home
  • Electric cars need less maintenance than conventional cars
  • The reduce the dependency on foreign oil from unpredictable or developing countries
  • Energy is normally drawn from utility companies, which could be from renewable sources too
  • They have good acceleration performance

Disadvantages of electric car:

  • The price of electric cars is still higher than for conventional cars
  • Replacement batteries are expensive, although they normally last many years
  • It can take many hours for battery packs to be recharged
  • The travel distance that electric car batteries achieve is less than petrol powered engines achieve. However, this is normally upwards of 100 miles per charge, and is being improved, with many electric cars now able to achieve hundreds of miles on a charge

Some people see hybrid cars as a good bridge between electric cars and conventional cars.

Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars are powered with both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. There are various types of hybrid cars but they normally use petrol or diesel to power the engine, and batteries to power the electric motor. They share many of the same advantages as electric cars, with the extra boost of power that an international combustion engine provides.

Advantages of hybrid cars

  • As with electric cars, they are quieter and cheaper to run than conventional vehicles
  • Although they use petrol, they are more fuel efficient so consume less fuel than conventional cars
  • They produce less air pollution
  • The internal combustion engine is light and economical
  • They help make drivers more efficient
  • The engine automatically turns off at a stop, but the car can restart quickly, so they are great at lights and traffic jams

Disadvantages of hybrid cars:

  • Repairs can be more complex and costly than on electric or conventional cars
  • They are more expensive to buy than conventional cars
  • They can be less powerful and slower than conventional cars, because the internal combustion engine is smaller

Would you be tempted to drive an eco car?

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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24th Sep 2017
Thanks for voting!
No I wouldn't be tempted to buy/drive and eco car!

They are over priced, of limited capability and using as yet first generation technology.

End to end eco vehicles cost more to build, run and scrap than conventional vehicles. They require electricity generated by fossil fuel or nuclear - wind and solar panel do not produce electricity 24/7/365 and that technology is still in first generation development.

That leaves fossil fuel generation which obviates the merits of an eco car.

All in all it seems to me to be an expensive bad choice.
28th Apr 2015
Thanks for voting!
I understand there is a monthly hire charge on the battery of electric cars which should be considered when looking at the running costs against petrol fuelled vehicles. My Toyota IQ has very low emission and is extremely frugal on petrol usage so will be staying with it.
31st Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
The problem is that, whereas everything today, from this website to your smartphone is 100% dependent on electricity, the only method of storing it - a battery - is still in the Stone Age.
Currently the emphasis is on renewable energy which is only a charter for squeezing more money from the taxpayer.
The next, great technological breakthrough will be in the storage of electrical energy. Then, everything changes.
29th Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
I am not convinced that electric vehicles are the way forward and believe more effort and investment should be afforded to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. I could not afford the high price of a new electric vehicle and their limited capabilities would not suit my driving requirements. The limited range and lengthy recharge capability of electric vehicles are big negatives at the moment and hybrids seem the best current option, however they still have to rely on fossil fuels. I only do about 6000 miles a year and I do not do short, pottering about town driving and feel a bit guilty that my car only does about 20mpg and is definitely not good on emissions, however it is very quick and a very nice car to drive.
28th Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
Very interesting and if I could afford an electric car I would definitely buy as quick as yesterday lol.
6th Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
I have a Renault Zoe ULEV. It has a very specific operating envelope, namely the distance it can travel round trip per charge. (around 70 - 80 miles). If your daily routine sits within this envelope then the car is extremely good, nice to drive and surprisingly quick.
So far haven't considered driving longer distances as what I have seen so far of the charging network is pretty hopeless. Would I recommend the car if it fits your lifestyle, most definately!
3rd Feb 2015
Thanks for voting!
There are increasingly convincing arguments for changing to electric/hybrid vehicles. One of the largest stumbling blocks though is the cost to the typical motorist (i.e. less than 10000 miles per year who essentially needs a 'shopping trolley' and a capability to have the occasional longer run) who tends to drive smaller cars.
The Government currently pitches in with a £5000 grant, but this is on expensive cars and these are therefore is unattractive to Mr/Mrs Average.
As the Electricity Companies would be the largest beneficiary if we all converted, why are they not offering to match or improve on the Government's contribution?
I think if there was little or no difference in the retail price between a hybrid and a normal petrol or diesel car, many of us would change

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