Electric cars are becoming a must-have
Electric cars are one of the ways we can help reduce consumption of fossil fuels and hare strongly advocated by many. In a recent post, getting one was one of the options I said I needed to consider when thinking of ways I could help. I said I would discuss the matter in a separate blog post and here it is.
Here are my reservations about electric cars (apart from the cost)
- Batteries need recharging often and it takes about half an hour times the number of cars in the queue.
- The materials needed for the type of battery have to be mined. This causes damage to the environment and uses a limited resource.
- The batteries don’t last very long and disposal of used ones creates problems for the environment.
- Electric cars lack power. They are OK on the flat, but struggle on hills. I don’t know how electric lorries perform, but I’m not buying a lorry.
I hope science and technology will address items 1 and 4, but points 2 and 3 seem more serious. Perhaps they will find a more common material or a way of recycling it?
How many electric cars can we power?
Electric cars are cleaner/greener than petrol-driven ones only if the electricity they consume is produced sustainably. Otherwise we will just be pushing the problem around, like a car with a dead battery. At present, we produce only just enough electricity for our needs. In some years we have almost had power cuts. If we all drive cars powered by electricity, the additional demand will be huge. There are two obvious options.
- Produce more electricity – from renewable sources.
- Reduce the number and length of car journeys..
Another option would be to find another clean source of power for our cars, perhaps even using fossil fuels more economically.
Are there risks to using electric cars?
There are always risks as well as opportunities and costs. There are risks to the individual and to society. Above all there are risks to the planet. Some need to to be balanced by the government, but others are down to each of us. The risk of failing to recharge your battery in time. The risk of failing to plan a journey. The risks we are used to with petrol driven cars will largely remain too.
These new risks do not appear in my book, Load the Dice, but the principles of managing risks apply anyway. You might find it worth reading. I wish the government knew how to manage the risks to society and to the planet.
Will I get an electric car?
Despite my reservations, I may have to, eventually, as other vehicles will be banned. However, I hope some of the issues I mentioned can be resolved soon. Of course, I will also look at ways of reducing the number and length of my journeys. Walk more and use public transport (once the threat of Covid reduces). Find more local sources for whatever I need, from supermarkets to dentists.