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Internal combustion engine Essay

There is a big debate about the future of the auto industry. The new big topic is electric cars. Ads emphasize how much less pollution these cars put out, but the truth is that many people do not realize the downside of these cars. For instance, did you know that average battery cost for electric cars is between $18,000 and $20,000? Also, these cars produce significant more amounts of sulfur dioxide compared to traditional internal combustion engines, and what about the factories that burn billions of tons of coal everyday to produce electricity to charge these cars?

Yes, these cars do produce little carbon dioxide directly, but the main source of pollution comes indirectly from the power plants that power these cars. Electric cars are not the best environmental solution in the long run because they still cause pollution while charging and producing them, there is no safe place to dispose of the batteries, and they are extremely expensive (Hogan). The first major issue with electric cars is that the process of manufacturing and charging these cars produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA’s research shows that for an average size car, electricity’s emissions are about three times higher than the emissions of gasoline (Inside Climate Staff). Electric cars do not produce much pollution directly. Instead the pollution is rather created at the source of the energy, power plants. Pollution is caused when manufacturing and producing these cars too. In addition, large amounts of pollution are produced while mining for the metals found in the new types of batteries. All of the mining machines and vehicles are powered from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline, and diesel fuels.

A great amount of energy is lost in the process of transmitting the electricity from the power source to your car. Also, electric cars emit significantly higher amounts of sulfur dioxide into the air compared to internal-combustion engines. Sulfur dioxide is the main component that causes acid rain. Acid rain can cause damage to lakes, streams, forests, car paints, copper, stone, and other building materials. Acid rain soaks into the soil and roots of plants, and causes slowed growth, and loss of leaves or needles.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, acid rain has actually killed one-hundred or more of the Frazier Fir and Red Spruce trees (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency). Furthermore, in the Northeastern United States. , such as in the Kesterson Reservoir in the San Joaquin Valley, acid rain caused hundreds of fish populations to vanish from lakes (Davis). Acid rain can contaminate our own drinking water without us even knowing it; it tastes, and looks like regular water! When sulfur dioxide is inhaled, it can cause damage to your heart and lungs, causing disorders such as bronchitis and asthma (National Parks Service).

Additionally, battery disposal is a key issue. The average life of this new type of batteries is twenty-five to thirty thousand miles before they will have to be replaced. If electric cars are going to be a thing of the future, there will become an excess of batteries in landfills and other disposal sites. Presently, landfills are not designed to handle the millions of batteries that would need to be disposed of if millions of people were driving electric cars. If these batteries are not properly disposed of, toxic chemicals could leak into the environment.

Also, recycling these lithium-ion batteries doesn’t appear to be in the future anywhere soon. The cost of collecting, organizing, and shipping these metals to a recycler far outweighs the value of the scrapped material, so for the time being, most of these metals will be thrown away in landfills and junkyards (Mitchell). Another obstacle with these materials being tossed in landfills is the possibility of corrosive chemicals leaking into streams, rivers, and lakes. The process of refining metals for these batteries also releases pollutants into the environment.

Once the refiner gets what metal they need from the ore, they discard the other materials into the nearby ecosystems. When this happens, our drinking water could be contaminated, and it could also damage, or kill the wildlife in that area (Bacher). Lastly, these cars are extremely expensive. Because the batteries only last for about a hundred miles, this means you would have to charge them about three times for every full tank of gas that you would normally buy. Also, with this low charge capacity, it would be virtually impossible to take long trips.

You would have to stop frequently to charge the battery, which takes about nine hours to completely charge. This would turn a normal two-hundred mile, four hour drive into at least a thirteen hour trip, assuming that you could find an open charging station! Another reason that these cars are so expensive is that you have to replace the battery in your car about every twenty-five to thirty thousand miles. This is a very costly expense, especially since each new battery is about eighteen to twenty thousand dollars!

This is $80,000 for batteries alone if you drive 100,000 miles in your car! The price of charging an electric car is less than what a full tank of gas would cost you, but you end up paying for it in the long run when you have to replace the battery. Electric cars are expensive from the start. The average retail price of most electric cars is in the thirty to forty thousand dollar range. Most middle class individuals cannot afford to pay this price for this new technology, which is why this will not be the best economical solution in the long run.

These cost projections assume that both the car and the battery work correctly for the duration of their lives, but what if the battery breaks, or stops working, forcing you to replace it? The technology is new and underdeveloped, which means that there might still be some problems or “bugs” that the designers haven’t had a chance to fix. That’s $20,000 right there that you would have to pay in addition to the purchase price. That’s close to half of what you originally paid for the car! Since these cars are less, there are fewer mechanics that are qualified to work or operate on them, so the price of operation will be very high.

Electric cars were released around 2010, which means there hasn’t even been enough time for a mechanic to get a four-year degree in operating on electric cars (Hogan). The problem with automobile pollution definitely needs to be addressed and solved, but fully-electric cars are not the best solution. They are made out to be better than they actually are, and they definitely have major disadvantages. First of all, they will have to become a lot cheaper for people to be able to afford them. The general public cannot afford to pay $20,000 for a new battery every 30,000 miles.

Designers also need to find a way to lengthen the range of these cars. With only a 100 mile range, it is just not practical for most people. In addition, these cars still produce pollution, just not directly. All of the pollution is created indirectly, at coal-burning electricity power plants. Another unaddressed issue is that these cars emit large amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which is what combines with water to become acid rain. Lastly, there is no good place to dispose of batteries.

If millions of people are going to be driving these cars, there will be tons of toxic batteries in landfills and disposal sites, which can cause harm to the wildlife, and the surrounding environment. If you accidentally miscalculate the charge left in your car, you will be stuck. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, you cannot simply fill up your car with a gas can. With electric cars, there is no way to replenish the energy in your car on the side of the road. The fully-electric car was a good idea, but in the long run, it is not the best answer.

The automobile companies need to continue to improve internal combustion engines to decrease their carbon dioxide emissions. Works Cited Cultrona, R. L. Pros and Cons of Electric Cars. 1999-2012. 18 March 2012. . Davis, Jay. Marine Bio. 1998-2012. 18 March 2012. . Hogan, Micheal C. The Encyclopedia of Earth. 21 February 2012. 18 March 2012. . Mitchell, Robert L. Computer World. 22 August 2006. 18 March 2012. . National Parks Service. 28 October 2010. 18 March 2012 . Staff, Solve Climate. Inside Climate News. 1 April 2010. 18 March 2012. . U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. 8 June 2007. 18 March 2012. .

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