Might Electric Cars Get Higher Speed Limits on Highways?


Governments around the world are trying to figure out how to get more customers into electric cars, reduce emissions, and create a more sustainable automotive market. Admittedly, there are far bigger issues regarding climate change than the automobile but that’s a conversation for another time. Fact of the matter is that we have to start switching over to electric vehicles sooner than later and one way to incentivize that might be with speed limits.


In this new video from Auto Trader UK, Rory Reid talks about the potential for increased speed limits on highways and motorways for electric cars. It’s certainly worth a watch, as it poses some good arguments for doing so.

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Austria has already done this. In certain areas, the motorway speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) for all internal combustion vehicles. While the speed limit, in those same areas, for electric vehicles is 130 km/h (81 mph). The reasons for this are two-fold. For starters, the reduced internal combustion speed limit reduces CO2 emissions. Simply put, the faster you go, the more gasoline (or diesel) you burn, therefore the more emissions you put out. However, since electric vehicles produce no emissions while driving, there’s no reason to limit their speed.


Wales recently did something similar in certain areas. Both in Austria and in Wales, studies have shown that air quality has improved by quite significant numbers in a short time, proving the theory correct. Which is why we might start to see laws like this implemented elsewhere.

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Not only does a plan like this help clean up the environment on its own but it incentivizes buying an electric car over an internal combustion car. As it turns out, the most emissions-friendly speed an internal combustion engine can go is around 55 mph. Which is why it makes sense for most highway speed limits to be set for 55 mph. However, if electric cars were allowed to go 70 mph or even 80 mph, customers might find them far more attractive, especially those who commute far distances for work.


Imagine being offered the choice of driving internal combustion and being limited to 55 mph or buying electric and only being limited to 80 mph? Not only does that offer you more freedom of choice as a customer (at the moment, we’re all limited to just one speed, regardless of our vehicle choice) but it also allows you to get rewarded for doing the right thing. Go electric and go faster? Sounds like a no brainer.

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