Are electric cars the way of the future? / Columns / The Foreigner

Are electric cars the way of the future?. Kudos to SINTEF and Trondheim for doing scientific testing on electric taxis, especially for thinking about the social as well as the technical aspects. This work represents exactly the research needed to build a sustainable future. The advantages and disadvantages of electric cars are fully reported, leading to the conclusion that the specific vehicles tested do not seem suitable for journeys far outside the city. They work well for shorter journeys inside the urban area. The pros of increasing the visibility of electric cars are extolled: Less pollution, more business opportunities, and less fossil fuel dependency. Reduced urban noise can be important too, as long as provisions are made for visually impaired people crossing the road.

electricvehiclesnorway, norwayairpollution, climatenorway



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Are electric cars the way of the future?

Published on Tuesday, 31st December, 2013 at 11:39 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 31st December 2013 at 11:54.

Kudos to SINTEF and Trondheim for doing scientific testing on electric taxis, especially for thinking about the social as well as the technical aspects.

Tesla Model S
Not everyone can afford to buy one of these, but ongoing research must convince people to rely less on private transport.Tesla Model S
Photo: Crixxor/Wikimedia Commons


This work represents exactly the research needed to build a sustainable future. The advantages and disadvantages of electric cars are fully reported, leading to the conclusion that the specific vehicles tested do not seem suitable for journeys far outside the city. They work well for shorter journeys inside the urban area.

The pros of increasing the visibility of electric cars are extolled: Less pollution, more business opportunities, and less fossil fuel dependency. Reduced urban noise can be important too, as long as provisions are made for visually impaired people crossing the road.

People riding the electric taxis might also think of buying an electric car for themselves, according to the report. That might not be what we want.

The electric taxis are, quite rightly, powered by electricity generated from local, renewable sources. Could local, renewable electricity supplies cope with everyone buying an electric car and using it extensively?

The answer might be yes if the majority use their vehicles during the day and charge them overnight. Electric vehicles can assist in better distributing how we use electricity over the 24-hour cycle.

Yet the perception of the vehicles being environmentally friendly encourages increased use of private transport. I have often heard owners state "I'm driving a short distance, but it's ok, it's electric". Rather than sharing one car per family, every individual might be encouraged to purchase one.

Roads still require maintenance, congestion adds costs in terms of people's time, and parking places require excessive amounts of space--even underground or multi-storey car parks.

We need to continue investigating and promoting electric vehicles, while being straightforward about the positives and the negatives. For true sustainability, we must also research how we can convince people to rely less on private transport.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London and a Senior Research Fellow at NUPI in Oslo. He does not own a private vehicle.

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Published on Tuesday, 31st December, 2013 at 11:39 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 31st December 2013 at 11:54.

This post has the following tags: electricvehiclesnorway, norwayairpollution, climatenorway.





  
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