climate change current affairs transport

Electric car subsidies – a good idea?

The government announced yesterday that they intend to help people to buy electric cars, offering a sweetener of up to £5,000 to get more of them on the road. Electric cars have no emissions, so this should be a good thing for the UK’s carbon footprint.

However, an electric vehicle is only as green as the power station it charges from. All these cars will need to be plugged in somewhere to recharge, and that will raise the demand for electricity. If that increased demand is met with coal, then those electric cars are no more green than petrol driven versions.

A truly green car has to be run off renewable energy, and unfortunately the government has, as yet, no substantial plans for greening the grid, or developing a feed-in tarriff. As things currently stand, plans for more electric cars are only half-way to being useful.

3 comments

  1. If the govt wants to green transport then two much more effective options:

    – stop seeking growth in air transport. Huge CO2 emissions from flights and from building work of new airports + expanding existing.

    – invest in cycling and walking infrastructure. Much greener and has big cost savings for NHS

  2. one thing that we forget is the efficiency of oil based engines and the direct pollution on the road.
    The actual efficiency of these engines are around 15%.(http://jagadees.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/ic-engine-efficiency/) That means 85% of the fuel is burnt for nothing. One reason is there, to make oil companies richer. We are idling our engines at traffic jams and signals. Idling cycle is the most inefficient cycle of IC engine. And finally we cannot beat Carnot.

    On the other hand electric vehicles are more efficient.Electric motors are above 85% efficient and better storage technologies are emerging. There is no direct pollution on the road. Regenerative breaking systems can gather 30% of the power wasted power from breaking/deceleration. No need of idling. Your EV does not use any power while stopped state.

    Its good if you can charge your EV from renewable source. even if you cannot do that then also using an EV is far better than oil based vehicles. Govts should promote EV usage. But number one priority should be better public transport systems.

    EV has the history of 100 years. Its the bad Oil companies are pushing the people to use oil based vehicles. Oil is the classic example about how corporates destroying the world. there are alternative technologies available. but they make these technologies to fail politically because they are brainwashing and giving bribe to every one.

    Its a shame to humanity that we are still using this inefficient engines. Future generations will curse us for this.

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