How Electric Vehicles Are Affecting How People Drive

Electric vehicles are quieter, faster, and heavier compared to gas powered vehicles.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

Electric vehicle

Does anyone remember when the Prius first came on the market? The Prius was one of the very first electric vehicles and was small and, yes, extremely quiet. You couldn’t even hear it coming. So much so that this writer remembers being almost hit by one on a street in San Francisco. Silent, surprising, and sustainable. And scary. But the Prius wave started the adoption of the electric vehicle in large cities, especially those on the West Coast. 

According to Vox, this experience is common and expected. As we produce more electric vehicles, how humans interact with them will bring unintended consequences. Humans have learned to live with high speed, traffic, loudness, and even gasoline smells since 1876. That’s almost 150 years of adjusting to noise, speed, and gas. Will it take another 150 to get used to batteries, silence, and computerized maintenance? Time will tell. 

Here are some specific things humans will have to get used to when it comes to electric vehicles on our roads and why.

  1. Noise. As mentioned above and illustrated with the San Francisco Prius near miss, electric vehicles are a lot quieter than cars with combustible engines. So, it makes it odd that a state that embraces its lull of nature, like Wyoming, threatened to make them illegal. But, a little quiet goes a long way.

    When you’re walking on the street, you rely on engine sounds to tell you when to proceed. That’s why the National Highway Safety Administration made it mandatory for EVs to have a warning sound. Tesla tried to use a fart. That got recalled immediately.
  2. Weight. Electric cars are super heavy due to the number of batteries needed to make them efficient. Automakers are trying to mitigate this by building the batteries inside the car’s structures, but that will take some time to improve upon. And the extra pounds are dangerous to pedestrians, as well as those in the EVs.
  3. Weather. Unfortunately, electric vehicles tend to slow down the colder the weather gets. So, folks inside the cars must now use additional heat pumps to stay warm. We’ve gotten quite used to modern conveniences in our cars. Are we ready to give them up? Probably not. So, some improvements with the battery in cold weather must happen. Or we get used to being cold.
  4. Speed. This is a tricky one. Humans were not built to see and comprehend things as we hurl through space at 60 mph. We’ve gotten used to it, but the human brain wasn’t built for the type of speed a car brings. Electric vehicles can go faster than cars with combustible engines. Probably just one of the reasons that companies want to use them in their daily operations. But we probably won’t be able to get used to going faster for another 150 years. So, that speed we’ll enjoy from the EVs, we’ll have to temper it.

Last but not least, there is Maintenance. Modern cars are already more like computers than cars of the past. To service them, mechanics must be trained in mechanics and computer engineering. This is just one of the many reasons e-bikes will soon be almost as popular, if not as popular, as electric vehicles. Easier to maintain, easier to navigate, and easier on the wallet.