Archives – April 3, 2015

Are Hybrid or Electric Cars a Risk to Pedestrians?

pg-1-blind-1-rexGreen hybrid or electric vehicles are riskier to pedestrians compared to conventional gasoline-fueled cars. This is according to the Guide Dogs charity report released this week. The report found that pedestrians have a forty percent chance of being run over or hit by a silent electric or hybrid car in comparison to a car with a diesel or petrol engine. The number of injuries caused has been gradually increasing as the number of green cars increase following the Government tax breaks for eco-friendly vehicles. The report said that between 2012 and 2013 there was 54% increase in pedestrian injuries in accidents involving silent cars. The charity’s major concern is about guide dog owners, as well as their animals, that are especially at a high risk of getting hit by quiet vehicles that cannot be heard coming. Therefore, the charity calls for adoption of laws that would make it compulsory for all hybrid and electric vehicles to have noise generating systems.

Currently, the government is gearing its efforts and money towards increasing the number of silent vehicles on roads. While, the charity is in support of increasing the number of environmental friendly cars, there is a need to consider the safety of pedestrians. A survey conducted by YouGov showed that at least 75% percent of the population are of the opinion that hybrid cars made roads risky for partially-sighted or blind pedestrians. A similar number also thought that silent green vehicles were risky to children and older people. Hybrid and electric cars powered by electricity move quietly and may surprise pedestrians expecting to hear a vehicle approaching. Independent companies and car manufacturers have been working on a number of sound generators to minimize accident risk. Most of the sound generators in question include fixed speakers working in the direction of vehicle movement to minimize risks to people not on roads.

The sounds generated range from whining, quaking, to rumbling of petrol or diesel engines. It is hoped that by the year 2021, such artificial generators will be present in hybrid and electric cars, but before this is achieved, there will be more risks on the road. Legislation should emphasize on not only fitting the noise-generators, but also ensuring that they are switched on at all times. One Paralympic Sprinter, Libby Clegg, who supports the charity’s campaign, said that when you cannot hear a silent electric and hybrid car, it is extremely terrifying. Miss Clegg said that millions of blind people would be protected from the rising safety hazard by ensuring that all silent cars have fitted sound generating systems.

 

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The Merits and Demerits of Electric Cars

Tesla_Roadster_electric_car_DSC_0160Virtually everything in life has its advantages and disadvantages and the same case applies to electric cars. One of the pros of using electric cars is that they can be recharged easily at home. Electric car drivers are not obliged to go to a gas station, since all they need to do is find a plug and insert into a charging inlet. Charging this way is not only convenient, but also time-saving. It would only take around fifteen minutes to fully charge an electric car. Although this may be tricky for drivers residing in apartments and condos, there has been a gradual improvement in access to workplace and multi-family charging.

Another advantage of electric cars is that they are fast and quiet. It would only require one battery-powered car ride to actually comprehend the higher quality of ride of electric cars compared to gasoline-powered cars. Electric cars are not only very quiet, but also very smooth. Riding in an electric car makes a regular car appear outdated and chunky. Most drivers are surprised by the fact that electric cars offer a high torque. The power is immediately delivered to the wheel once a driver steps on the accelerator and this provides an exciting driving experience.

Operating an electric car is cheaper compared to a gasoline car. This is because electricity is cheap and ubiquitous is most parts of the world. Owed to the electric cars’ considerable efficiency in comparison to gasoline-powered cars, the cost of fueling an electric vehicle per mile is around a third or a quarter than of gasoline. Maintenance costs are further reduced since electric cars neither have exhaust systems nor require oil changes. Maintaining an electric car will only necessitate rotating the car tires and keeping them well inflated. Another plus of electric cars is that they do not release tailpipe emissions. This means that the environmental impact of electric cars is smaller than that of conventional gasoline-powered cars.

Despite the mentioned pros, electric cars have a disadvantage of limited range. The range of most affordable electric cars is approximately 80 to 100 miles, which is quite low. The refueling time is also long and this is yet another con of electric cars. It is thus recommendable for electric car drivers to plug in overnight. Another disadvantage of electric cars is their high cost. Most of them currently cost between 30, 000 to 40, 000 dollars. This implies that electric cars are considerably more costly compared to small or average-sized gasoline powered cars.

 

 

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