New reports suggest that increased use of electric cars may in some areas of the US actually increase carbon emissions. Just when you thought we were on to something that might actually help!
Earlier this year, Business Ethics piblished the article, 'Will More Electric Cars Increase Reliance on Coal?' In the article, they report that "upwards of half of all the electricity in the U.S. is derived from coal."
The implications of this are clear, plugging in your electric car will mean it will more than likely be charged by electricity from coal. And as more electric cars come on the market, maybe more coal will be needed.
Similarly, a very interesting article, with great graphics, appreared in a recent issue of Scientific America; it is entitled, "The Coal Truth: Will the Coming Generation of Electric Cars Just Be Coal-Burners, Once Removed?"
The article has a map of the USA that clearly illustrates exactly where increase in electric car use could result in higher carbon emissions.
The article also indicates that unless we start to source significant amounts of electricity from renewables (solar, wind, etc.), coal-fired plants will not only continue but may actually increase their discharges of mercury, carbon dioxide and other toxins due to greater numbers of electric cars on the road.
And we know that many car makers are investing in electric cars. From Ford's all-electric Focus to Nissan's Leaf, to Chevy's Volt, and that does not even include electric vehicle startups like Tesla, Coda, and Fisker.
So, that begs the question, where can we buy a solar powered car, right now? Best I could find, in 2006, the Venturi Eclectic was presented at the Paris Auto Show and uses solar and wind energy, but it can only travel up to 30 miles per hour. Probably won't cut it for most North Americans.
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