Electric cars are a symbol of green transportation – no emissions, no reliance on fossil fuels, no noise pollution, even. And then, inevitably, someone raises a hand and points out that EVs really aren’t that green after all, because manufacturing them still requires CO2 emissions and the source of the electricity driving them is coal and nuclear power and totally not clean at all.
Just to be very clear on the matter, let me reassure you that this person is totally full of it. It’s not like we need a federal study to tell us that the more clean electricity is used the power an electric car, the smaller its tire-track of a carbon foot print is – except apparently somebody does.
Not the Newspapers Again
The German newspaper taz caused quite a stir by reporting just such reservations on the green-ness of electric cars, adding the word “eco-deception” to the mix and citing a study published mid-January by the Institute of Applied Ecology in Freiburg. According to the paper, the Institute said that EVs were not nearly as protective of the environment as a mythical everyone claimed. The Institute itself couldn’t distance itself from the claim fast enough (and this is why newspapers are dangerous and unreliable, but that’s another matter entirely).
The Institute of Applied Ecology’s report of their research, undertaken at the behest of the German Federal Ministry of Environment to evaluate the benefits of the potentially reduced carbon footprint provided by driving electric cars, focused on renewable energy. Federal Minister of the Environment Norbert Roettgen pointed out that not only do EVs have lower emissions while driving, but that the use of additional renewable sources of energy would drive down emissions associated with EVs even more.
Going from Dirty to Renewable
The crux of the matter, in Germany and worldwide, is the source of power for electric cars (and anything else you may use to cart yourself and your family around). Of course the source of electricity for an EV is directly related to its carbon footprint, but the recent re-emergence of the electric vehicle into the popular consciousness of the worldwide consumer base is coupled with an even stronger push toward generating more renewable energy. Even the shipping industry is getting in on it.
A switch from coal or nuclear powered electricity to greener renewable sources (sun, wind, geothermal, to name a few – all of which are the source of some really neat breakthroughs and pieces of new and awesome tech) is already imperative to help protect the environment and reduce the amount of waste generated. When that shift is combined with electric cars running on that green energy, there’s a vision of a really bright possible future.
Change isn’t easy – making a shift to green sources of electricity is hard enough, but adding in a fundamental alteration of how personal transportation works makes many people incredibly nervous. Don’t be – electric cars are super neat in so many ways.
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Source: Autobild | Image: Wikimedia Commons.