Get out of my dreams, and into my (electric) car.
Electric cars. Everybody’s talking about it. And why not? We know we have to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and the amount of greenhouse gases produced. Electric cars are the logical solution. Electric cars emit fewer greenhouse gases and drastically reduce smog-forming pollutants produced by cars. Let’s be honest, we want this to work, because it has the benefit of helping save the planet without the nasty side effects of asking us to change our ways. So, let’s take a look at electric cars: where we’re at, and what still needs to be done.
Although the consensus is that electric cars will be infinitely better in terms of environmental impact, this isn’t to say that there won’t be any negative impacts. Battery disposal is definitely a concern. Car makers have battery return programs, but according to Green Car Reports, there may not be much of a profit to be made in recycling them since the materials are inexpensive and the cost of recycling them is high. Read more on electric car batteries
Stressing about charging stations
As someone who would rather take a taxi to go somewhere than risk having to parallel park, I can’t imagine having to worry about finding a charging station at the right place and the right time.
Range anxiety is a real thing for people who live in rural areas. Planning a road trip? Make sure you know your charging stations!
People living in big cities should have it easier, but that’s not always the case. This Torontonian, like many city slickers, only has access to on street parking and is having a hard time charging his electric car.
China and Norway…a tale of two markets
When we look only at the numbers, we can see that China is clearly the leading producer of electric cars. There’s an important asterisk though: as with most countries making a push for electric, China offers significant subsidies for purchasing the vehicles. Unfortunately, due to the serious lack of charging stations, most people who are buying them are using solely the gas engine. In other instances, automakers are churning out low quality cars that don’t sell; effectively defeating the purpose.
In stark contrast, Norway has had tremendous success integrating electric cars into their market. They also offer attractive subsidies, and some interesting perks such as exemption from sales taxes, no charges on toll roads, free parking and access to public bus lanes. Don’t know about you, but you had me at free parking.
So where’s this going?
It seems that we’ve finally reached a tipping point when it comes to electric cars. We’re seeing it with the ambitious targets set by more and more countries. France and Britain have recently committed to banning the sale of gas and diesel-powered cars by 2040, and India is putting pedal to the metal and gunning for 2030.
Yes, we still have some kinks to work out. But we’re working the problem and going for it. OK, so Back to the Future had it wrong. We didn’t get flying cars by 2015. But I’m happy to settle for electric cars by 2040.