More

1 obvious and 4 not-so-obvious reasons your next car should be electric.

Yes, they cut back on carbon dioxide. But why else are electric cars finally getting the attention they deserve?

1 obvious and 4 not-so-obvious reasons your next car should be electric.

If you're not one of the roughly 85% of Americans over age 16 with a driver's license, you've still probably ridden in a car or bus in the past week.

And even more importantly, you're probably pretty familiar with the impact automobiles have on our environment. The EPA estimates that the average passenger car emits nearly 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. For trucks and SUVs, that number goes up to over 13,500 pounds.

But what does a pound of carbon dioxide even mean? Well, the Natural Resources Defense Council put it nicely. "Filling a balloon with one pound of CO2 would swell the balloon to about the size of one of those rubber exercise balls that have become so popular lately. The balloon would be about two and a half feet across.


Now imagine 10,000 of those balloons in one place. And that's just from one single car.

Clearly, we have an issue here.

But here's something you don't know: something pretty interesting has been happening in the car world behind the scenes to fix this issue.

A lot of it involves Elon Musk going full-on Tony Stark, with giant robot arms and high-speed test drives and everything. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

The electric car movement has grown by leaps and bounds.

Cars aren't really cars anymore. Sure, they're still meant for driving, but the machinery is making way for batteries. The hardware is moving over for software. The line between "car show" and "electronics show" is blurring.

And while we know that these computerized electric cars are the key to a more environmentally friendly future, it's always felt like some far-off technology that may or may not ever be ready for public consumption.

For some, going electric is just too expensive. For others, they worry the performance just isn't there yet.

But times, and cars, they are a changin'. Fast.

Here are four great reasons to make your next car electric.

1. It's step one to Planeteer initiation.

OK, so you probably won't actually get a ring that combines with other powers to summon a blue, muscly flying man whose sole purpose is saving the world.

The power is YOURS! GIF from "Captain Planet and the Planeteers."

But reducing fuel consumption is a major step toward limiting CO2 emissions, which means you're doing more to stop pollution from getting out of hand. And you know Captain Planet would totally make you an honorary planeteer for that.

Of course, all cars still require power to go. Even if you're not emitting carbon dioxide from your tailpipe, the electricity you use to charge an electric car releases some harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But the U.S. Department of Energy shows us that it's half the CO2 a gas-powered SUV would emit.

Not too shabby, eh?

2. Electric power is downright powerful.

You've probably heard of this guy Elon Musk, and his car company Tesla Motors. They've done what Toyota failed to do with the Prius and made the electric car straight-up sexy, and they made people want to buy them.

But they also made these things damn fast.

Grab onto what you can because the G forces from these cars will, without a doubt, send you flying. Check out the "insane mode" reaction videos on YouTube.

Fun fact: At 28 years old, Elon Musk made his first big break in Silicon Valley with the sale of PayPal, and he bought himself a McLaren F1. It was, at the time, the fastest car in the world, with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 240 mph.

With the Tesla Model S, Musk wanted to match the F1's 0-60 mph time, and when Tesla launched the P85D — a performance variant of the Model S sporting a 85 kWh battery— they did.

And now there's the Tesla P90D and its absurd Ludicrous mode, which can do the 0-60 mph sprint in 2.8 seconds. So, yes, an electric car is now faster than a supercar and can beat a Ferrari or a McLaren in a drag race.

3. Those tax breaks are phenomenal.

How does an extra $7,500 in your pocket sound? Come tax season, that's exactly what you'll have if you choose to go green with your car. There's a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 if you buy a plug-in hybrid or electric car.

Sweet, sweet cash. Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images.

With some used models, that's enough to knock almost a quarter of the prices off the purchase amount. Add that to the amount you'll save in monthly gas costs, and with the right buy, your car could pay for itself within three to four years.

4. Your options are growing every year.

For the past 100 years or so, electric cars were about as popular as I was in middle school. There weren't often many choices on the market, much like my options for dates to the seventh grade formal.

But my, oh my, how times have changed! I'm getting married, and electric cars are the belle of the automotive ball. At the North American International Auto Show, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, and Chevrolet all introduced electric or hybrid vehicles, while another new electric concept, the Faraday Future FFZero1, attracted crowds and press at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The FFZero1 electric vehicle concept, or, a real life version of the batmobile. Rendering courtesy of Faraday Future.

Even the luxury manufacturers are getting in on this game. Porsche is launching their Mission E electric vehicle by 2020, with 700 million euros and 1,000 new jobs invested in the project. Lamborghini is creating the Asterion. Koenigsegg has created the Regera.

Porsche's Mission E, a sleek and awesome look at the future of Porsche's design. Rendering courtesy of Porsche.

For the first time in nearly 100 years, the entire automotive industry is investing in the development of electric technology. Frankly, it's pretty freakin' awesome.

5. Maintaining electric cars is a breeze.

There's no engine. That means there's no oil to check, no pressure systems to get thrown out of whack, no fan belts that can come loose, no cylinders that need replacing, and no coolant that needs topping off. At long last, no more "check engine" light that won't turn off, even though you religiously bring your car in for its 5,000-mile checkups.

In Tesla's business model, when their cars need an update, they can simply send out a wireless software update. It's like you're driving a big phone on wheels, and most updates can happen overnight, while your car is charging and you're sleeping.

Tune-ups here and there will always be necessary, but they'll be fewer and farther between. Photo by Fred Dufour/Getty Images.

Of course, that doesn't mean that regular maintenance is a thing of the past. You still have tires that need air and rotating and axles that need proper care and attention. There's still paint and a body that needs protection and an interior that can be damaged.

But they're things that can be much more easily managed by someone who hasn't spent a lot of time hanging out around a body shop.

When you're looking for your next car, consider the one that'll keep the earth happy.

But also consider the one that'll keep you and your budget happy, in the short and long run.

Photo by Bryan Mitchell/Stringer for Getty Images.

There's little doubt around the world that humanity, as a whole, needs to move to sustainable technology. But without the votes of consumers, it is going to take a much longer time.

Whether we like them or not, cars aren't going anywhere. But the types of cars we choose for ourselves count as our loudest vote to one of the world's largest industries.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less