Are EVs the way to revive the three E’s?

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Being the economy, the environment and the energy sector…

In Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York, the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities, a quiet revolution is taking place. So quiet, in fact, that if you closed your eyes you might not be able to hear the traffic. You see, park rangers are riding around on solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs), a move forecast to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas and electricity costs over the next 25 years.

So imagine the benefits if motorists worldwide did likewise. And this may be more feasible and more lucrative than you think…

JaulaDeArdilla / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Energy (in)dependence

We live in an era when America’s leaders constantly fret – understandably – about reliance on foreign oil. Those who underestimate the challenge should remember what happened in 1973 when OPEC nations quadrupled oil prices, triggering massive inflation in the West. We all want to avoid a recurrence of that nightmare. So, just as the electric light transformed our homes a century ago, making candles and smelly oil lamps redundant, could EVs do the same for today’s cities?

Big city dwellers know the problems all too well. When I was a kid, I was struck by a message I once say on a London street – “Let’s all make the world a better place and throw away our cars”.  Living in a city well served by its public transport, you could understand the graffiti, especially when you started wheezing while walking around the capital.

Ben Amstutz / Foter / CC BY-NC

 

Kinder to ourselves…

Motor vehicles are major polluters, not only through road emissions but also through refueling, manufacturing and disposal.  Some experts even believe that car pollution is linked to certain cancers. Perhaps the link to other illnesses, such as asthma, is more substantiated. Leave the big city for the countryside and you feel the difference immediately.

Of course, some green-minded activists manage to live without a car. As we get older, however, we find that coping without a car gets harder. Perhaps we have several children and move to the suburbs. In such cases we find that it’s increasingly necessary to have a vehicle at our disposal, at least some of the time.  But, if you don’t need to own a car all the time, and your conscience pricks you at the thought of renting a conventional motor, have you thought about renting an EV? You just need to find an agency with the best car rental rates.

jurvetson / Foter / CC BY

 

…and the environment

Electric car batteries pollute the atmosphere far less than internal combustion engines. Granted, they are not entirely pollutant-free because most electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. But EVs recharged from coal-powered electric generators cut carbon emission roughly in half. And those recharged from hydropower and nuclear plants reduce carbon emissions to less than one percent of those produced by internal combustion engines.

 

…And the economy

Then there is the reduced cost to drivers, proved by the example of the Brooklyn Park Rangers. New York taxi drivers who use hybrid vehicles also report annual savings of thousands of dollars. For many motorists, environmental considerations and spiraling petrol costs mean that EVs will probably become more popular.  Although EVs still have drawbacks, notably battery costs and recharging times, the benefits are stark.

Eco-friendly cars run on electricity or a combination of electricity and hydrogen-based fuel. Not only do they reduce a driver’s carbon footprint, EVs are constantly being re-designed to reduce pollution and waste. As a result, these cars often require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles.

EVs are definitely good for the three Es. So it’s perhaps curious that, although electricity has transformed our lives in so many ways, most transport still beats to the drum of the internal combustion engine. We still spit fumes into the sky round the clock in cities everywhere, guzzling up one of the world’s most precious commodities in the process. Perhaps one day EVs will make out cities as sanitized as our homes. Here’s hoping…

 

 

 

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