TOP 10 CLIMATE SOLUTIONS: Solution #8: Electric Vehicles

February 3, 2009

Ford, GM, and Chrysler tried to kill the electric car, but when the inquests into their future bankruptcies occur, history may judge it their single biggest error. The vehicles of the post-carbon world will not be hydrogen or biofuel – they will be electric and plug-in hybrid electric, supplemented maybe with sustainable hydrogen or biofuel, or maybe not, depending on how fast battery technology evolves.

In Norway, the Think City EV is being sold on-line. When the battery needs recharging, it sends you an email, and likewise when it has surplus energy you can sell back to the grid. It will run 180 km on a charge, and go up to 100 kph. It sells for $34,000, but under a different formula, it could sell for $16,000 + $150 a month for the lease of the battery.

As a climate change solution, an EV can run on green power from the wind, solar, geothermal, or hydro, producing no greenhouse gases at all. The entire world’s fleet could be 100% carbon free by 2030 if federal, state and city governments were to form purchasing partnerships with businesses and citizens to place bulk orders for EVs by the million. Here in BC, with a demand like that, we could have a green EV industry by 2010.

What about the cost? An EV will run 5 to 10 kilometres on a kilowatt-hour of electricity, costing 6 to 10 cents, depending where you live. Thus, a year’s driving of 20,000 km will require maybe 3000 kWh, costing $240 a year.

A regular car with gas costing $1.50 rising to $4 a litre will burn 2200 litres, and cost $3300 rising to $9000 a year. Allow $1800 a year for 5-yearly battery replacement, for a total $2,000 a year, and the EV became cheaper when gas passed 90 cents a litre. EV prices will likely fall as mass production and battery improvements kick in. The result? A cheap, silent, zero carbon car that runs on renewable energy.

First published in EcoNews: A monthly newsletter funded by your donations that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, and the joys of personal fulfillment, guided and protected by our active citizenship.


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