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Are Electric Vehicles the Answer to the Transport Problem?

  • by: Conor McKeon
  • On: 22, Nov 2018
3 min read

There are over a billion cars on the roads today. Current predictions expect almost four billion cars on the road by 2030. Global pollution levels from cars has already reached critical levels, and the average passenger vehicle produces 4.6 tonnes of C02 a year. Could electric vehicles be the answer to the global transport problem?

The Car Industry Is Booming - Which Is Bad News

90 million cars were sold last year, and that number looks to increase every year as the global population rises. America has over 270 million cars, China has over 300 million and Finland has more than 1.07 cars for every person in the country. If per-capita car ownership in China matched that of the US, China alone would have over a billion cars on the roads.

In stark contrast, only 1.2 million electric cars were sold in total in 2017. Of those 101,000 were made by Tesla, one of the most famous electric car brands in the world. The relative cost of an electric vehicle is still higher than that of the average petrol car, and there are far fewer models of electric vehicles to choose from. However, alternative cars are slowly gaining in popularity as they become less expensive, and as awareness of car pollution increases.

Given wide-spread congestion, city infrastructure struggling to cope with increased traffic and the ever-growing problem of vehicle pollution, the paradigm shift electric cars could bring in our attitudes towards cars and transportation in general might prove the best solution.

What Are the Benefits of Electric Cars?

1. Clean Fuel

A fully electric car doesn’t have an internal combustion engine: it runs off a high-powered battery that can be charged at home or at a charging station. Electric vehicles use cleaner fuel for a smoother and quitter journey. The cost per mile of electric car fuel is about a third as expensive as traditional cars. What’s more, electric vehicles are more efficient: EV batteries convert around 60% of energy into vehicle movement, while gas-powered vehicles only convert around 20%.

2. Lower Emissions

As the car runs entirely off electric power, there are almost no emissions, compared to the high levels of C02 found in traditional car exhaust fumes. If all car owners in a city switched to electric models, it would go a long way to improving the air quality for all residents. Electric vehicles are perfect for urban driving, being more efficient when starting and stopping than petrol cars.

3. Ride Sharing

Because electric vehicles are cheaper to fuel and operate, they’re typically used in ride-sharing services and apps. This is a growing sector, with millennials opting to use cars as and when they need them instead of owning them. Reduced car ownership is helping to lower emissions in cities and remove congestion as there are fewer cars on the road.

As the technology behind electric cars becomes more efficient and affordable, we’ll begin to see more infrastructure like charging stations brought in to accommodate them. This will help encourage more of the population to buy electric cars, save money and help the planet.

Read more about what the shift to electrical could mean for the Automotive industry, or learn about Formula E, the electric racing championship set to challenge F1.

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