2014 Nissan Leaf Electric Car100% electric cars do not rely at all on an internal combustion engine and are powered exclusively by electricity and emit zero emissions. Although there are not as many choices for fully electric vehicles as there are for hybrids and standard gasoline cars they are becoming increasingly popular as the range improves on each new model and their cost continues to decrease. Vehicles like the Tesla Model S and the Nissan Leaf have drawn a lot of attention recently because of the increased interest in zero emissions transportation and due to the modern technological features that these vehicles are equipped with to maximize their range and safety.

One of the major limiting factors of 100% electric vehicles is their lower range compared to gasoline powered vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. As a result hybrids like the Prius and plug-in hybrids like the Volt have been more popular alternative vehicle choices than 100% electric cars but this is quickly changing with the increased range of the latest 100% electric models like the Model S.

Tesla Model S Electric CarThe Tesla Model S currently represents the best of what 100% electric cars have to offer and sets the standard for what future electric vehicle models can aspire to meet or exceed. For instance, the Model S has a very impressive average range of up to 265 miles and offers 5 + 2 available seating  as well. Even more impressive, the Model S accelerates from 0 to 60 MPH in just 4.2 seconds (with the performance battery) with a top speed of 125 MPH, so the fully electric engine is also not that limiting in terms of speed.

Perhaps one of the best benefits of 100% electric vehicles is the fact that they truly have zero emissions. Although hybrid vehicles do a lot to reduce CO2 and other harmful emissions, electric vehicles offer the only technology that completely eliminates greenhouse gas emission while the vehicle is driven.

Of course there are many considerations as to how much impact electric vehicles really have on the environment, as the environmental impact of their production also has to be taken into account in order to have an accurate picture. There are not that many studies that have compared the environmental impact of electric vehicles from the “cradle to the grave” to standard gasoline vehicles, but the Union of Concerned Scientists had an excellent recent report detailing the emissions of electric vehicles. Most studies including the UCS study have found that electric vehicles are better for the environment, even though they have a bigger environmental impact during production (due to their more complicated technology and advanced batteries). 

So there is no question that electric vehicles are the way of the future when it comes to reducing environmental impact and greenhouse gases. 100% electric vehicles were shown in a preliminary study to use less resources have fewer greenhouse gases and have less ozone pollution than standard vehicles, even if they are charged in areas that heavily rely on coal power. It should be noted that a Renault study found that at the moment electric vehicles are slightly behind in a couple of areas: they contribute just barely more than standard vehicles to acid rain and algae blooms. But these may very well change as the environmental impact of electric vehicles decreases due to better and more efficient production methods and battery technology. 2014 and 2015 will be interesting years for 100% electric vehicles.