Nowadays, if you talk about the car of the future, it’s all about electric cars. In fact, the 2011 World Car of the Year was a fully electric car, the Nissan Leaf.
And why should we not love electric cars? Though people may argue that electric cars still cause pollution because the factories that create the electricity they use are still pollutants, that is not necessarily true.
When your car depends on electricity, you can have that electricity made by greener, sustainable energy sources such as wind, wave, geothermal heat, solar power, etc. It does not necessarily have to be fossil fuels.
On the other hand, a gas- or diesel-powered car is inevitably fossil-fuel powered.
The case of China
Today, an oft-mentioned example when people argue against electric cars is one study, released in February 2012 by the University of Tennessee, which says that when the China began using more electric cars, the amount of pollution the people were exposed to actually increased. True, the electric cars themselves were producing less emission than their gas counterparts – but the cars needed to be charged, and 85% of China’s electricity comes from fossil fuels.
But what if China’s electricity came from cleaner sources? Then it would an entirely different story. As study author Chris Cherry said, “The study emphasizes that electric vehicles are attractive if they are powered by a clean energy source.
Therefore, he explained, “it is important to focus on deploying electric vehicles in cities with cleaner electricity generation.”
In the UK, the green energy movement is on a roll. Major energy companies such as Centrica are investing in renewable energy technologies such as wind, biomass, solar energy, and landfill gas.
In your very own home, you could install your own solar photovoltaic panels, which would allow you to generate your own electricity from the sun’s radiation – not sunlight, but radiation, which goes through the clouds. This means that as long as it is daytime, even if it’s a cloudy day, you could still be making your own energy.
And if you’re not able to use all the power your solar panels generate, you could feed it into the grid and earn extra income.
With all these things, assuming that you use your electric car to drive 12,000 miles per year, your solar panel could for itself in less than five years, according to figures released in 2011 by British Gas. In the next twenty years after that (based on a solar panel’s 25-year manufacturer’s performance warranty), you would be getting your car’s electric power at practically no cost to you or the environment.
Today, more than ever, owning an electric car has been made more convenient. For less than £800, you could have your own electric-vehicle charging station at home. With fuel prices continuing to rise we could all be driving around in electric cars from Formula1 to chauffeur hire cars, but maybe not for a while yet