Home > News > INTEREST: Are EVs Risking or Saving the Planet?

INTEREST: Are EVs Risking or Saving the Planet?


Was browsing online and came across this piece bringing into question the realistic benefits from putting electronic cars through the pipeline. Just with hybrid technology, most people still do not get that driving a hybrid can be as damaging to the environment as a normal petrol or diesel vehicle.

Here’s a small portion of the report I came across on Business Week with the link to the full article at the bottom

“Electric cars should be rewarded for their energy efficiency, not for moving emissions from exhaust pipes to powerstation chimneys” says the UK’s Environmental Transport Association (ETA). In a report titled “How to avoid an electric shock—Electric cars: from hype to reality”, the ETA has taken a close look at electric-powered vehicles (EVs) and their associated technologies.

In what could be a shock to some commuters—and governments—the report states that EVs could potentially speed climate change, rather than reduce it, and might not be as good for the planet as some of the spin suggests. Simply put, it’s not necessarily the cars themselves that will cause the damage, but the way the electricity is generated to power them and how often we drive them. For instance, EVs powered by “green energy”—wind or solar—are obviously superior, but if the electricity comes from coal, hybrids perform better.

Visitors to recent motor shows, including the massive Frankfurt Motor Show in September would have been convinced that the motoring world is heading toward EV domination. As the report says, virtually every major manufacturer has exhibited a car powered by batteries.

Governments around the world, especially China, the U.S. and France, have so far been very vocal about their increased spending (approx. US$15 billion) in the next five years in tax incentives, levies, subsidies and consumer bonuses, recharging infrastructure, etc., to encourage car companies to develop electric cars.

The report points out that in September, the president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, said that “decarbonizing…the transport sector…as well as the development of clean and electric cars” would be key priorities for the next five years. Transport in the European Union (EU) consumes two thirds of the oil used and causes 28 percent of the emissions.

While governments and consumers pressure manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprints, greenhouse gas emissions from transport are projected to grow in the future. The report’s authors say that decarbonization of transport will be essential if the world is to have a hope of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The world has acknowledged that a truly sustainable transport system cannot rely on oil and therefore must move towards more sustainable energy sources.

The reports argues that current biofuels policy is creating more problems than it solves, and the oil extraction business is increasingly moving towards highly damaging sources such as tar sands and oil shale.

Here’s the link to the full article.

[Business Week]

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