Are Smart Cars Really Better?

And no, we don’t just mean electric cars. We mean cars like the upcoming GMC Hummer EV. We all know that the Hummer was discontinued in 2010. After getting a reputation for being a gas guzzler, GM has decided to re-launch the brand as a fuel-efficient luxury vehicle. It is expected to give Tesla a run for its money.

But are smart cars actually better? While they claim to have built-in entertainment systems, self-parking, and other features, are these cars actually safer? What makes them better than trusty old clunkers? Are they less likely to total out in a vehicular accident? Continue reading to find out.

The Pros and Cons of Smart Cars

Right now, smart cars are something of a luxury item. The GMC Hummer EV is expected to cost over $112,000. That overshadows the Tesla Model 3, which costs about $40,000. With these figures in mind, you definitely want to do your homework before opting for one of these vehicles.

While smart cars are changing the automotive industry as we know it, here are some things to keep in mind:

Smart Cars Are Undoubtedly Fuel Efficient

Whether you love them or hate them, one thing is for certain: smart cars are better for the environment. While they typically cost more than the average car, truck, or sedan, over time, their benefits outweigh its initial cost.

For instance, the Kia Niro EV can run for about 240 miles on a single charge. This gives the Tesla Model 3 a run for its money, as it only provides 220 miles per charge.

The benefits of electric cars (aside from skipping the gas line) include:

  • Less pollution
  • Cheaper to run
  • Better for everyone’s health (since pollution is directly correlated to high rates of cancer)

Electric car batteries are also designed to last longer than those that come with standard passenger vehicles.

Smart Cars Often Come with Generous Warranties

While electric cars have been on the market for years, smart cars are just starting out. To keep people’s interests high and their bottom lines in the black, smart car companies are determined to provide quality customer service.

Here’s a look at some smart vehicles and the warranties offered by each:

  • Nissan Leaf: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Chevrolet Bolt: 8 years or 100,000
  • Tesla Model S: 8 years/unlimited miles
  • Tesla Model X: 8 years/unlimited miles

Granted, these are just warranties for these smart cars’ batteries. However, there are likely other components covered under these warranties, as well.

Smart Cars Are Contributing to Distracted Driving

Tesla made headlines in 2019 when it announced that passengers could play Cuphead on its touch-screen dashboard console. By using a USB controller, passengers could play this side-scrolling run-and-gun game in either single-player or co-op mode. The addition gave a whole new meaning to the term “backseat gaming.”

However, does this feature actually add anything useful to Tesla’s models? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests no. The organization says that distracted driving causes thousands of automotive fatalities a year––and those numbers are slowly on the rise.

Smart Cars Rely on Touch Screen Consoles for Many Functions

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on an accident in 2020 that was caused by Tesla’s windshield wiper function. Instead of using switches or gears, Tesla’s windshield wipers are activated by using a command on the touchscreen dashboard.

Yet, according to the CDC, this promotes distracted driving, which is defined as anything that takes your mind off driving, hands off the wheel, and eyes off the road.

Other features that are stored in some smart cars’ dashboards include:

  • The air conditioning dial
  • Bluetooth connections
  • Streaming music and video services

Aside from Tesla’s Model 3, other smart cars that come with touch screen dashboards include the BMV 5 Series, the Jaguar XF, and the Chevrolet Bolt.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Smart Car

When it comes to smart cars, whether they are really better than traditional cars is simply a matter of preference. What might be a great decision for someone else may not be necessarily a great decision for you.

While deciding whether a smart car is right for you, consider the following:

The Cost of Powering a Smart Car Is Standard

For some people, gas prices are unpredictable. One week, it’s one price, the next week it’s another. Most smart cars are powered by electricity, meaning that you can charge your car’s battery either through an outlet in your home or an external charger.

This will effectively lower the amount of money you spend on gas.

Smart Cars Lower Carbon Emissions

This is one of the biggest reasons why people are opting for smart cars. Without using fossil fuels, smart cars are proven to have less of an effect on the environment.

How Long Do You Want Your Car to Last?

There isn’t enough data to suggest how long smart cars last in comparison to their traditional counterparts. However, as technology evolves, smart cars could gain the upper hand and have a significantly longer shelf life than their competitors.

Conclusion

Only you can decide whether a smart car is right for you. Although they have only been on the market for a few years, in that short time, they have certainly made an impact.

Essentially, smart cars offer a host of benefits. They’re environmentally friendly and fuel efficient. Some of them are also pushing the envelope in what we expect of cars in general.

However, as smart cars move more toward in-car entertainment and away from safety, it may be worth considering what priorities these companies really have in mind.

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