As electric cars get more and more popular, environmentalists are hailing the change, welcoming it with open arms. And yes, electric cars are great. They are a lot better than normal cars when it comes to pollution.
However, they are not a perfect solution, and there are still a lot of problems; problems that can be solved with a simple bicycle.
I want to make this inescapably clear; we are not saying electric cars are bad. We’re just saying bicycles are better. And I’m going to tell you why.
Let’s start strong, by seeing where bicycles and electric cars compare in terms of money. One of the biggest benefits that a bicycle has over the average gas powered car is that it saves the rider a lot of money on licencing fees, gas, repair costs and other related costs.
But then again, an electric car is also cheaper than a gas car, right?
Well, yes and no. You save a significant amount of money on fuel costs, however you still have to pay to charge your car; electricity isn’t free after all.
It will cost around $540 per year to keep the average electric car charged, as opposed to how much you spend on gas in a year (which can get pretty ridiculous).
That being said, bicycles have no fuel costs associated with them; even electric bikes barely cost anything to keep running smoothly.
Next up is the cost of the actual car itself. Electric cars are actually more expensive than their gas powered counterparts. Getting one can be a costly investment. And then there’s bikes. The average cost of a bicycle is a measly £233.
That amount doesn’t even touch how much you’d spend in a year on gas, and it’s still a lot less than what you’d spend on fueling your electric car.
But that’s not all. There’s the cost of repairs to be considered right? The average hourly cost for labour for a car is £91.99, plus you have to pay for parts and other services. For a bike, many of the most common repairs can easily cost under £60.
If you’re looking for a good cost-efficient alternative to your gas guzzler, the bike wins over the electric car, no problem.
Anti-car enthusiasts often make the joke that in a world with all electric cars and a world with all gas cars, the traffic would look exactly the same.
Bicycles are, once again, the clear victor here.
Think about it. Electric or not, a car is still a car and cars take up a lot of space. It’s kind of their thing. Lots of cars means there’s that much more of a burden put on traffic.
Bicycles are small and efficient. They don’t cause a burden on traffic, especially if they have their own dedicated bike lanes.
In fact, more bicycles on the road means that your time stuck in traffic is actually drastically reduced. In New York City, when bike lanes were introduced on one street, it reduced travel times by up to 14%.
Despite much resistance from motorists, more cyclists are actually one of the best solutions to traffic congestion in the city. Unfortunately, no matter how cool your Tesla is, it’s not making traffic less of a pain in the ass. Bikes are.
Do you hate looking for a parking space? Do you hate getting stuck in the furthest end of the parking lot, meaning that you have to make a 5 minute trek through the jungle of parked cars just to reach the store, only to make the same arduous journey back, this time with the items you bought in tow?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could park near the entrance? You know, some place convenient. Like where the bike racks are located. That would be great.
In all seriousness, it may not sound like a big deal, but if you drive in the city you’ll know how hard it is to find a good parking space. But bike racks are small, they don’t take up a lot of room. A set of bike racks can handle way more bikes than the whole parking lot can handle cars, in just a fraction of the space.
It’s baffling. After all, you could fit 6 bikes in the space 1 car takes up, without making them touch each other.
This is also a really good thing for businesses for multiple reasons; first, if more people use bikes over cars, it saves the company a lot of space investing in a giant parking lot. That space can be used for all sorts of things.
Second, the business can accommodate way more customers, using less space. So far when it comes to this battle between bikes and electric cars, bikes are winning 3 for 3.
You don’t need a license to get a bike. You don’t need to get a loan or pay for your bike in installments. You don’t need to insure your bike. It is so much easier to get a bicycle than it is to get any kind of car, and that goes double for electric cars, which are still newer, rarer, and more expensive.
Here’s what you need to get your hands on an electric car:
First, you need to get a driver’s license. Once you have that, you have to get the money together to purchase the car. You need to research the different cars available to you, and possibly go out and test drive them. You need to fill out all kinds of paperwork to make the car yours, and it can take a long time.
Not to mention you can’t exactly go “off-roading” through forests and down mountains in an electric car. I mean, you technically could, but it would be a very poor decision.
When it comes to a bicycle, you just go into the shop, pick out the one you like, spend a reasonable amount of money, and ride your new bike home.
Bike: 4, electric car: 0
This one is another huge deal. The safety of a vehicle can make or break it in the eyes of many consumers. Safety is so key, because you are trusting your life to this giant machine (or small two-wheeled bike). You need to be sure that it’s not only going to do the job, but do the job well.
When it comes to this point, many people would immediately think “the electric car definitely wins this one.” But don’t jump the gun just yet.
Yes, electric cars have a lot of safety features. But that doesn’t change one staggering fact; car accidents are among the top 10 leading causes of deaths in the world. The World Health Organization has it ranked at #9.
On the other hand, the number of cyclists killed every single year doesn’t even touch the amount of motorists killed.
Statistically speaking, riding a bicycle is many times safer than driving a car; as we’ve said in other stories, the biggest threat to cyclists are motorists.
Not only are there far fewer cyclists killed than motorists, but the number of cyclists killed or fatally injured decreases drastically in areas that purposely strive to reduce car use among the public, or in bicycle cities.
Meaning that even less cyclists will die in horrible accidents when there are less motorists.
And it’s pretty easy to see why. What’s the worst that can happen if two bikes slam into each other? A couple of broken bones? Generally even bad bicycle crashes are relatively low risk. However, even a seemingly small car crash can result in permanent injury or even death.
When it comes to your life, bicycles are guaranteed to be safer for you (assuming you wear a helmet. And seriously, wear a helmet people) and everyone around you. I think the bicycle wins yet again.
This one’s a no-brainer. Bicycles win right off the bat, case closed. However, as obvious as it us, let’s run through the comparison anyways.
For starters, when you drive an electric car, you’re sitting relatively still in a comfortable chair for the duration of your travels. When you ride a bike, you’re getting all kinds of physical exercise. And physical exercise, particularly exercises like bike riding, have many known and proven benefits.
It firstly improves your over-all health and helps you maintain a healthy body and work off extra weight you might have.
Secondly, exercise helps with your mental health. Among the many benefits of exercise is that it increases the dopamine in your brain, which can help combat things like depression, and overcome motivational problems (especially helpful, since a lack of motivation is one of the worst symptoms of depression).
Exercise is also very helpful when it comes to reducing stress. Stress does horrible things to your body. It can give you anxiety, it can lead to depression, it can make you moody, and it can make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Being stressed out can give you a heart attack or expose you to all kinds of other physical problems. Extreme stress often leads to things like violent outbursts or panic attacks. So you do not want to be taking on any more stress than is essential.
Studies have shown that driving in traffic is as stressful as jumping out of an airplane.
Driving, especially in traffic, has been linked to increased stress and rage, lower patience and all sorts of other negative things that impact your health and happiness.
As someone who’s on the tail end of a road trip from Ontario Canada to South Carolina USA, I can personally say this is 100% accurate (20 hours in a car will make you want to do awful things to your fellow human beings).
An electric car doesn’t solve any of these problems either. The only way out is to avoid using a car unless you absolutely need to. It’s a good thing bicycles exist.
Now, if you’re trying to get from Toronto to Myrtle Beach, a bicycle would definitely be fun, but I can see why you would prefer a car. At least you can listen to music and sleep in the back seat while the driver curses out everyone who had the audacity to use the I-79 S that day.
However, in your home town or city, you might be surprised to know that a bicycle is actually a much more efficient ride.
A bicycle can almost always match the speed of city traffic. On top of that, many cities have proven that a bike is actually faster than a car when it comes to getting around.
Cars may be faster over all, but that really doesn’t matter when traffic is practically bumper to bumper. In a city setting, bicycles are a much more efficient way of getting to your destination.
But what if you’re going shopping? You need a car right? After all, you’ve got things to carry, so you need that trunk space, don’t you?
Nope. There’s a neat little thing called a “cargo bike” that can be used to store and move things. Cargo bikes are very popular for families because they can be used to make grocery runs.
Some companies even use cargo bikes to make deliveries or help you move.
Once again, the bike wins! Though as an aside, an electric car makes a great choice when you’re going on a long road trip.
One of the biggest selling points for electric cars is that they are environmentally better than traditional automobiles. It’s right up in the top 4 reasons why people choose them, next to “because they look cool”, “the technology is incredible”, and “you don’t have to pay for gas”.
While it’s true that electric cars are, environmentally speaking, much better than traditional ones, there’s still a much better option.
You see, when it comes to electric cars, their environmental impact is heavily dependent on the source of the electricity that charges the car. In other words, in places that don’t use clean energy, electric cars are responsible for similar amounts of CO2 to regular cars.
You know what uses almost no CO2? That’s right, bicycles! Bikes use a very small amount of CO2, according to a study by the European Cyclists Federation when compared to regular cars.
In terms of the environment, bicycles are the much greener choice.
In all 8 of our points, bikes win over electric cars. So just remember, electric cars are a good choice, but bikes are still the best option out there.
22 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why Electric Cars Aren’t The Best Choice”
Yeah, that’s all great, isn’t it?
But try filling up a shopping cart at the grocery store for your family of five, then loading all the content on your bike to carry home.
As for safety…just two weeks ago I witnessed a cyclist hit by a car driven by a distracted idiot who made a left turn at an intersection. The poor guy riding the bike was taken by ambulance to the hospital, wasn’t moving when they arrived. If he was driving a car, he’d probably left the accident scene in a taxi.
Bikes are a great way to get around in the neighborhood and exercise in the same time, but they cannot replace cars as the author of this article claims.
Well, it isn’t a problem for our family of four to transport a week’s worth of groceries in our cargo bike. And when the children were smaller, there was room for both them and the groceries in the bike.
Concerning safety, we would all be safer and happier if there were fewer (no?) cars around. But even with all the cars, it’s still safer to bike than not to bike: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/
bikes & busses
The good news:
Battery Electric Cars are the worst polluting modern cars. Consider 70% of our electricity, on average, is produced by burning fossil fuel. Most of the rest comes from Uranium. Average power plant efficiency loss is 65%. Average battery charger loss is 10%. The losses in power transmission and distribution are also significant, but somehow this data has been “massaged”. Also, hot and cold temperatures can reduce battery electric car’s efficiency by 20% to 50%. The battery efficiency also degrades at a rate of 5% every 20,000 miles, and that is an optimistic estimate. If all these losses were to be averaged over the life of the battery electric cars, one should divide the MPGe rating by 5, so a 88 MPGe Tesla is really an 18 MPGe guzzler.
Tesla is probably the worst design as it places ultra-powerful electric motors and power inverters under the kids’ seats. There is no effective shielding.
The Bad News:
Now, almost all Teslas are being armed with radar. It seems that this radar is at the very boundary of OSHA’s occupational health safety power output limit, a criteria that was never intended to be used for the general population, for children. Teslas’ radars are always on, regardless if they are needed or not. Now imagine a city full of Teslas. Would you want your child riding a bicycle in that city….supersaturated with radar?
Interesting data. Thanks a lot for your comment.
The data is from the USA. Things are a little different in Denmark.
Actually, Denmark came up in a discussion I have had recently. You may or may not find my comments to the following WSJ article interesting. I’m not the enemy.
“Looks like Denmark, perhaps the greenest country in Europe with lots of EVs and EMF…and also the highest cancer rates in the world….requested an appointment with Mr. Musk recently to discuss all the design flaws of a Tesla that result in increased health risk to children. (Can anyone guess who pointed out the design flaws to them???)
Immediately after Mr. Musk’s visit, the very liberal Danish government decided to eliminate all the EV subsidies (resulting in a 180% price increase) and relaxed CO2 and NOx emission standards, thus allowing diesel cars on the streets.. It is important to note that neither CO2 nor NOx cause cancer.
I suppose Denmark is puzzled as to why it has the highest cancer rates in the world even though it is surrounded by seas and lots of fresh air. Obviously, there has to be a very powerful carcinogen present that is affecting its population.
‘Denmark’s low survival rates are a double-edged sword, as the nation has the highest cancer rate in the world.’ “
Super interesting – especially because I live in Copenhagen, Denmark myself 🙂
Was thinking about something after I read your comments. Electric cars might pollute as much as traditional cars, but isn’t it an advantage that the pollution is moved out of the cities? (i.e. out the areas where most people live and suffer the most from air pollution, etc.)
Smog is not an issue for 99%+ of the earth.
I live in the Miami area, with millions of registered cars. We don’t have smog because there is almost always a breeze and we also have frequent rain.
Now it is true that fewer than 5% of the vehicles case more than 95% of the pollution in the USA, and it just completely puzzles me why we allow this to happen. We should take the 5% of the worst polluting vehicles off the streets, but I think the proponents of battery electric vehicles want to keep these worst polluting cars on the streets…that’s the only way I can explain it.
Batteries are huge polluters of groundwater….and we drink groundwater. You may find the production process for Lithium to be interesting, but it is the Nickel that is very dangerous….and there is lots of it in batteries sued by electric cars such as Tesla.
Your country is surrounded by sea and it is always breezy, so I don’t think that you have a smog problem. Also, smog is mostly considered to be ground level ozone (NOx) and CO2, and neither one of these cause cancer. In fact, both are beneficial for plants. But we still want to minimize these.
In the cities that have significant smog (LA for example) that is in part due to the climate (little rain, less frequent wind), I would at least force all trucks and busses to run on LNG (natural gas), and there are already fleet owners in the USA who are planning to convert their trucks to LNG as soon as the fueling infrastructure is in place.
As far as generating the electricity outside of cities….that will also depend on which way the wind is blowing. Also, burning natural gas or petrol is cleaner than burning coal. In the USA, coal is still #1 source of electricity(soon to be overtaken by natural gas). Bakersfield is considered the worst city in the USA for smog. One of the main contributors is the coal power plant several miles to the north of Bakersfield. It also doesn’t rain much in Bakersfield.
It should be noted that in the USA, a typical battery electric car requires much more fossil fuel to be burned than a comparable modern car.
But, my big concern is with radar, and you cannot smell it. We should all make an effort to keep radar from saturating the streets that our childeren walk next to and cross. Do you not agree?
Thanks a lot for the explanation, but more than 500 people are killed by air pollution in Copenhagen every year (http://www.kk.dk/artikel/luftforurening-i-k%C3%B8benhavn). Wouldn’t it be best for them if we had electric cars?
Not sure I agree about the radar thing, but that’s mostly because I don’t know anything about it (my personal view is that cars should be banned from our cities, which will solve both the air pollution and the radar problem).
Do you not cook with natural gas in Denmark? In the USA, natural gas fireplaces do not even require a chimney. My point is, if all your cars and trucks and busses were powered by natural gas, the air quality in your cities will be just as good as the air quality in rural homes that use natural gas.
The bigger problem with electric cars is that the fluctuating magnetic fields generated by powerful electric motors and batteries are very harmful to children from long term exposure. Adults are also affected, with the greatest known side effect being altered hormone production in the brain. What this means is that many people who spend a lot of time in an electric car will get tired faster and be more prone to falling asleep behind the wheel. It is a well known fact that long term exposure to significant EMF reduces the amount of melatonin produced in one’s brain. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for allowing our bodies to rest, so a melatonin deficiency will result is folks feeling tired all the time because they’re not able to rest/sleep effectively.
In a Tesla, very powerful electric motors and power inverters are positioned under the kid’s seats. These motors are now up to 500 HP. Does your common sense not tell you that this may be unhealthy for children who would spend a lot of time in those back seats, only a decimeter or two away from the ultra-powerful motors?
Thanks a lot for the explanation. Not sure what kind of gas is used for cooking here (our stove is induction), but it is generally assumed that the biggest air pollution hazards are cars and wood stoves.
Trucks pollute a lot more than cars. But again trucks can easily be converted to natural gas. Coal stoves pollute a lot more than wood stoves. In most industrialized countries, industry and power plants cause far more pollution than cars. It appears that Denmark obtains most of its energy from wind.
Again, due to your geographic location (surrounded by sea) and fewer sources of pollution than other nations in Europe, you probably have some of the cleanest air in Europe. Your smoking rates are also lower than many other European nations. What all this implies is that air quality is not what is causing Denmark to have the highest cancer rates in the world and one of the lowest survival rates.
Your coast line is constantly bombarded by radar from all the shipping. It would be interesting to see if the cancer rates are higher on the coast than inland.
oh my goodness, just the thought alone of my young boy being supersaturated with Tesla’s ion lazar radar absolutely makes me shiver to the core. Thank you for this insight Mr Diamond.
Hahahahahaaaa… dude what are you smoking, trying to compare a car with a bicycle? Hahahahahaaaa…. trying picking up chicks with your bicycle and show us videos of how things went.
oh my goodness, just the thought alone of my young boy being supersaturated with Tesla’s ion lazar radar absolutely makes me shiver to the core. Thank you for this insight Mr Diamond.
I keep seeing this electric car vs bicycle comparison and quite frankly it makes no sense to me. It’s like comparing a chihuahua to an orang-utan. It makes more sense to compare bicycles to electric bicycles, or electric scooters/motorcycles.
Denmark has an absolute wealth in fossil fuel in Greenland.
Unfortunstely, it seems that the socialist government in Denmark is taking away the citizens’ rights to that land and giving these to the Chinese.
If the People of Denmark only knew how much fossil fuel lies beneath Greenland…..MAN!!!
‘Battery Electric Cars are the worst polluting modern cars.’ NOT TRUE! and environmentalists should stop repeating that myth from Big Oil. Sure, they’re not a patch on bikes, but a fully electric car emits about 66% greenhouse gases and a hybrid 50% compared to a petrol car across a 12 year life. These figures will improve as the technology does. Full analysis here: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/electric-cars-environment-kelly/ And in defence of Tesla, they have created a SOLAR POWERED network of charging points across the US.
What is the message? I am trying to understand you article about bikes versus a car. Are you espousing the bike is ideal?
To give a hint on where I stand: my sole vehicle is a Ford F-150 pickup. Nor will I ever live in a blooming city. Indeed, my cottage sets on 5 acres alongside a dirt county road. The water I drink comes from my own well. Here in Colorado there are tens of thousands of dwellings setting at my 7,560′ ASL and above. And there are more built every year. Although the nearest bar & grill is but a two mile drive (& my church, Our Lady of the Pines, three) I’m not about to climb aboard a bike when there’s a half foot or more of snow on the ground. Nor will I ever give Uber or Lyft a call.
Response to Ace Diamond
How about cars that are charged soley from hydro or solar power. I don’t see any source of pollution in that combination. As to batteries and their efficiency or lack thereof. The battery assertions by Ace Diamond are false and perpetrated by someone who obviously knows nothing about current battery technology. Lead acid batteries do have some of the shortcomings he asserts. But no one uses lead acid batteries in electric cars anymore. Lithium batteries are unaffected by the temperature ranges most cars operate in and they don’t have the 10% power loss when charging/discharging that lead acid batteries have. Some of the electric cars being produced today have power plants that can go over a million miles maintenance free. Good luck trying that on a bicycle. I’m a bicycle rider, but cars have their place and electric is cleaner than internal combustion.