Car is a necessity that cannot be left out in today's fast-paced life. There is no need to wait for the next bus to arrive, thus saving precious time that can be used for other important activities. Besides transportation, cars are also used in sports and entertainment.

But the environment and health of people are drastically affected by fossil fuel emissions from cars and other transport vehicles. The weather pattern has become erratic around the globe. Should we then stop using cars in order to dampen the effect of global warming? Since cars have become so useful in life, a balance must be made in order to lessen the impact of car use upon the environment.

It's good that the concept of electric powered cars has been revived by car manufacturers. Prototypes of the electric car began in the early part of the 19th century. On who was the first person to develop an electric car remains an issue. Several personalities are attributed as the first inventor of the electric car. The criteria used for determining the first inventor also differ.

Those who received credit as the first inventors are: Thomas Davenport (American, 1834), Robert Anderson (Scotland, 1842), and Thomas Parker (Britain, 1884). The cars of Davenport and Anderson used non-rechargeable batteries. Sibrandus Stratingh and Christopher Becker (both from the Netherlands) designed an electromagnetic cart in 1835. The invention of rechargeable lead-acid batteries, such as those made by Gaston Plante (France, 1865) and Camille Faure (France, 1881), further led to the efficiency of electric cars.

Successive developments on the design and mechanism were made by numerous individuals later. Woods Motor Vehicle Company (Chicago) developed a hybrid electric car, that combined gasoline and electric, in 1917. In the mid-1990s, General Motors produced the electric car EV1. It received a warm reception from the public but political and economic interests of some groups led to its recall by GM.

Today, many manufacturers design and build electric smart cars. They have been on the race to come up with the most efficient, cost-effective and affordable prototypes. Several companies that manufacture electric cars at present are located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Japan, etc. New prototypes are still being developed in addition to the enhancement being done to existing ones.

Why should we use an electric car? Some benefits can be gained by using an electric car. The car owner can save around $4,000 from fuel consumption annually. The fuel cost per mile of an electric car is only $0.03 to $0.04 since electricity is cheaper to produce. It uses less energy to run, and therefore, less fuel consumption and cost to operate. A single charge can run 60 miles at a maximum of 40 miles per hour. The battery can deplete after running 64 kilometers, but may last up to four years.

Electric cars produce no exhaust fumes and very little pollutants. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, poison the air by emitting particulate, nanoparticles and soot for every mile. The emissions poison the air. In 2004, carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere exceeds 7 billion tons.

The daily emissions from fossil fuel powered cars continually add up to the degradation of the environment. Global warming is enhanced by emissions from automobiles. They are harmful to health and affect the climatic and ecological balance. The economy is likewise affected as expenses on health care increases and the capacity to earn is lost.

Modern electric cars remain expensive compared to fossil fuel powered cars. This is inevitable with any new product or technology introduced in the market. But electric car prices will eventually decrease as the number of consumers that buy them increase while the manufacturing cost decreases.

Since the need for cars continue, a balance must be made to lessen its negative impact upon the environment. And electric cars are meant to cut consumption of fossil fuels. Different governments encourage the use of electric cars by giving tax incentives to manufacturers and users, as well as subsidies.

Thousands of electric cars already run the streets at present. It is best for city driving where the speed limit is low. A pure electric car is most desirable but hybrids are manufactured for dual power source from electric and gasoline.