Electric Cars are the Band-Aid, not the Solution

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A truly sustainable mobility requires a shift in focus from electric cars to pedestrian-centered urban planning and enhanced public transportation as a solution.

  • EVs indeed produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, making them a cleaner choice for personal transportation.
  • Pedestrian-centered urban planning prioritizes walkability, accessibility, and a shift away from car-centric design.

Ever since electric vehicles (EVs) became commercially available, they have been advertised as clean and quiet. They were promoted as clean and environmentally friendly, emphasizing the absence of exhaust emissions and the quiet operation compared to noisy, smoky internal combustion engine vehicles. But was the truth stretched a little too thin?

We are not here to debate whether electric vehicles are better for our environment than conventional ones. The science is clear. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, meaning reduced greenhouse gas emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. In fact, A 2021 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that EVs produce 40-70% fewer greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime than gasoline-powered cars, even when accounting for the emissions associated with electricity generation.

Paris Marx, author of the critically acclaimed book Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation, told Euro News that change at the transportation level is needed for a greener future. He believes that “it’s time to invest in transit, in cycling, in walkable cities, to get people out of cars altogether.”

Marx points out that while EVs don’t emit waste products, their manufacturing negatively impacts the environment. Take battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and the mining of their necessary minerals as an example. A 2022 Nature study found that mining lithium can pollute groundwater and soil with heavy metals.

Let’s talk about pedestrian-centered urban planning. Designing cities and towns to be walkable and accessible to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or income is the true key to greener mobility. YOU are the priority. It creates environments where people can comfortably and safely walk, promoting walking as a primary mode of transportation and enhancing the overall quality of life in urban areas. Things like wider streets, a functioning easily accessible public transportation system, and pedestrian zones, can go a long way.

As for non-urban transportation? The future of long-distance travel is hyperloop and bio-fueled jets. For what would you need long-distance driving then?

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