Do Electric Cars Have Backup Gas Tanks?


Photo Courtesy of Rivian

Electric vehicles are slowly starting to make their way onto the roads and can now be found more commonly than ever. Most large car companies have also started to produce their own line of electric vehicles. Lots of technological innovations have also started to come around with the introduction of electric vehicles into society. From increased range of pure electric vehicles to combining electricity with gasoline to create hybrid vehicles, life changing technologies are being produced and it may only be a matter of time before some of these technologies become the new normal in our lives.

Do electric cars have backup gas tanks? Pure electric vehicles do not have a backup gas tank, they are powered solely off electric power. Partly electric vehicles, also known as hybrids, do have gas tanks because the electric motor and the internal combustion engine work simultaneously to power the vehicle.

Having a backup gas tank on electric vehicles is an idea that a lot of people have had. If this was to be added to an electric vehicle this would completely change the classification of the car and make it a hybrid vehicle, changing the laws that surround the vehicle. Nothing too detrimental would come of this but the vehicle would no longer be considered electric.

With the implications of a backup gas tank in vehicles there are a lot of things that come along with it, some of which are good and some of which are bad. It hasn’t been truly practical to have backup gas tanks in electric vehicles which truly is the main reason it is not common practice.

Why Electric Cars Don’t Have A Backup Gas Tank

The idea of electric cars having a backup gas tank isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But this defeats the whole purpose of a fully electric car. There are a few reasons why electric vehicles may not have a backup gas tank such as the vehicle no longer being an electric vehicle because it would then be a hybrid, it is safer without a gas tank, and full electricity can now compete with most vehicles in terms of range. These reasons will all be discussed in more depth throughout the article.

The idea of having a backup gas tank is not a new idea and plug-in hybrids already use this theory. This idea isn’t used in all electric vehicles however, as one of the purposes of electric vehicles is to replace internal combustion vehicles and in theory decrease emissions. If electric vehicles still used gas it would defeat their purpose.

Even if it just had a storage of gasoline it wouldn’t make a lot of sense as gasoline will slowly go bad over time and is an extra amount and space that has to be incorporated into the car. The space and weight could probably be better utilized if it was taken up by batteries instead of a gasoline tank and engine to turn it into power. 

Another reason why they don’t have backup gas tanks would be that most electric cars are starting to be able to compete with gasoline vehicles. Some companies, such as Rivian, have started making claims that a battery could reach up to 400 miles per charge, almost the same as some vehicles. Electricity is also cheaper per mile than gasoline as electricity usually costs around 3.3 cents per mile and gasoline costs around 15 cent per mile, making it better to use the space that gasoline would take up for more batteries. Because of these reasons pure electric vehicles may be better than hybrid vehicles, and especially gasoline vehicles, in terms of cost per mile when driving.

Difference Between Electric Cars And Hybrids

When you look into the vehicles there is quite a bit of difference when comparing the cars. The biggest difference is that electric cars only use electricity as a source of power while hybrid vehicles will generally use both gasoline and electricity to power the vehicle. Electric vehicles have a large amount of batteries that hold electricity that when needed will power a motor to make the car go. Hybrid vehicles will have both batteries and an internal combustion engine, with both of these sources of power being used when required to make the vehicle go.

One important difference to also make is that hybrid cars still produce emissions. Generally hybrids vehicles produce emissions at a slower rate, around 117g of CO2 per kilometer, than gasoline powered vehicles, around 192 grams of carbon dioxide, but they still produce emissions. Electric vehicles on the other hand do not produce any kind of emissions while you are driving the vehicle.

This means that electric vehicles are considered “greener” in terms that it has even less of an impact on the environment than hybrid vehicles have. Electric cars are also slightly cheaper to drive still than hybrid vehicles because of the price of gasoline compared to electricity.

Both hybrid and electric vehicles have their pros and cons. One is not clearly better than the other and if you are planning on purchasing one make sure you do your research and check which one works with your life better.

If you really are about power and sustainability then an electric car may be the way to go. If you want to get the furthest range that you possibly could and not have to worry about charging then a hybrid may be smarter. There are plenty more benefits that come with each type of vehicle and many people will choose differently depending on their own opinions and needs.

How Much Range Does A Full EV Have vs A Hybrid Vehicle?

It is important to remember that electric vehicles are still in the beginning of their lives, meaning that there is still a lot of technology being researched to increase the range of these cars. In general a hybrid vehicle will have a considerably higher amount of range when compared to an electric vehicle. Because hybrid vehicles generally are a combination of the best gasoline vehicles have to offer with the best electric vehicles have to offer they will probably hold the higher range positions for a long time.

Highest Electric Vehicle RangesHighest Hybrid Vehicle Ranges
Tesla Model S: 373 miles
Tesla Model X: 371 miles
Tesla Model 3: 353 miles
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: 702 miles
2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 686 miles
2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid: 686 miles

Fully electric vehicles have struggled for a long time with their range. Some companies do claim that in the near future they will be able to break 400 miles of range on an electric vehicle. This still doesn’t compete with the 702 miles that hybrid vehicles can promise but it is a step forward when it comes to electric vehicles.

Hybrids also cannot compete with the power of electric or gasoline cars as they are generally designed only with fuel efficiency in mind. There is a clear winner that we can see when comparing their ranges but if we look at the vehicles as a whole the decision of what vehicle is better is not as obvious.

Why Getting Rid Of Gas Tanks Increases The Safety Of Cars

Gas tanks can pose a huge safety risk for cars and have posed huge safety risks in the past. Car fires are one of the most dangerous things that can happen to your vehicle and gas tanks can cause a huge problem if your car does start on fire. They are incredibly difficult to put out and in certain circumstances can cause huge explosions, damaging other vehicles and people around them.

It is common that during crashes something will puncture the gas tank and leak gasoline. Even if the gasoline doesn’t start a fire it poses a threat and emergency personnel have to take extra precautions when they see this to make sure that nobody gets hurt. 

Another large risk would be the leakage of fuel which becomes more common as vehicles get older. If a fuel line leaks it could make it easier for the vehicle to catch fire. If there is also a considerable amount of leakage then fumes from the gasoline could cause people in or near the car to inhale them. Inhaling gasoline fumes can cause great discomfort and may even cause health affects or death in extreme cases.

The burning of gasoline from a car is also dangerous, if in an enclosed space the emissions from a vehicle can cause a person to pass out and even die if they breathe in the fumes for an extended period of time. Electric vehicles do not produce any sort of fumes or have these kinds of fumes that a driver or passenger could even be exposed to.

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