Sometimes when you are stuck at a traffic light that won’t change, you see a big stream of dusty gas gush out from the back of the car next to you. That is what happens when fuel is burned, which is what makes the car run. The gush is a mixture of soot, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other harmful green house gases (GHGs).
The transportation sector is the second largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions and green house gases, because it relies on petroleum-based fuels like petrol, gasoline, and diesel. Green house gases are not good for the environment.
How bad is it really? There are 2.3 million motor vehicles in Mumbai, and about 60 to 70 million in India. 17.5 million new cars were bought in the US last year. All these vehicles let out a huge amount of harmful emissions that causes our planet great distress!
One of the inventions that we have come up with to reduce emissions is… electric cars!
You might be wondering why everyone isn’t already using electric cars since they are definitely better for the environment.
There are several reasons for this delay:
Changing the way we do things is hard! Cars have always operated on fossil fuel, ever since they were invented. We have built many petrol pumps and repair shops, and a lot of machinery for refining the petrol. We will need to change all of this as the way electric cars work is different. Change on such a large scale is expensive and slow.
Technology: We still haven’t figured out a way to make electric vehicles run as powerfully or efficiently as regular cars. Depending on the car, one charge can last 65 – 300 kilometers. One tank of petrol gets you somewhere around 600 kilometers! Electric vehicles that have good mileage like the Tesla Roadster, which can do 200 miles on one charge, come with a heavy price tag of $200,000.
We need electricity for charging! Figuring out an efficient source of electricity is a huge factor. As of now, 38% of electricity in the U.S. comes from coal. Even if the car is environmentally friendly, if the source of electricity is not, that doesn’t help. In India 33% of people living in rural areas don’t get any access to electricity.
Need to charge the cars: It can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge the cars, depending on the size of the battery and the speed of the power station. Also, when taking long trips, you need enough charging stations along the way. So it would be hard to do a long road trip in India!
Recently, Tesla has come up with a new concept for a charging station in California. It’s got 40 Superchargers geared to work on non-Tesla cars as well. A super cool factor is that it has a lounge area for people to wait as their car charges.
What are some of the companies making electric cars? Almost all the large manufacturers of cars like Nissan and BMW, but also current market leader Tesla, billionaire inventor Elon Musk’s baby. Chinese companies are also now producing electric cars very fast.
Written by: Tanika Thacker