Electric Public Transportation is the Future, Not Cars

Good Street from Streetmix

Politicians and car makers will often tout that the future of sustainable transportation lies in electric vehicles. Let’s be clear: cars won’t save us. In fact, cars are responsible for a lot of death on our streets and for supply chains that cause great harm to the environment. Instead, electric public transportation is where we should put our focus and funding. Should we still replace gas sucking cars with electric, of course. Let’s just be honest with ourselves that single occupant vehicle solutions will not help us in the future.

More cars in cities mean more space taken for parking, less room and more danger for active modes and less efficient public transport. Plugging in a car doesn’t stop it from being a lethal machine or causing congestion.

There is still no clear and sustainable pathway to manage the e-waste generated by EVs. Electric cars are not “green”. They still use tyres which create massive waste streams. Tyre wear produces microplastics that end up in our waterways and oceans.

Although EVs use regenerative braking, which is better than traditional internal-combustion cars, they still use brake pads when the brakes are applied. Braking generates toxic dust composed of heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and chromium. These heavy metals make their way to our streams and rivers, embedding themselves in these waterways forever.

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Battery Electric Freight Trains can Help Reduce Emissions

Trains are great for efficiently moving freight long distances and are used the world over. Many regions already have all electric rail systems, but in North America electric adoption hasn’t happened. Historically, this has been due to the installation and maintenance costs for the vast distances of overhead electric wires. Advances in battery technology hopes to change this.

An American company, Wabtec, built and tested their FLXdrive engine last year and found it worked rather well. The engine is built on the same platform as their Diesel engines but runs off of batteries more powerful than a Tesla’s and can regenerate energy with braking.

However, the environmental benefits of rail have been undermined by the heavy reliance upon diesel to fuel freight trains, as well as a widespread preference among businesses to move goods via trucks rather than trains. This is a problem globally beyond the U.S. — the International Energy Agency has said that freight rail is “often neglected” in climate debates and currently carries only seven per cent of all freight moved around the world.

A greater tonnage of goods is now moved by trucks on roads than by rail, however, and the rail industry hopes action on the climate crisis will prove advantageous to its own prospects. “If we decarbonize all of the locomotives and decrease the number of trucks, we will get to where we need to be,” said Gebhardt. Medium and heavy-duty trucks are responsible for about a quarter of all U.S. emissions from transportation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than double the pollution emitted by aircraft.

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Electric Busses Save Tonnes of Energy

streetcar

The implementation of electric busses into public transit fleets continues to grow – and it’s happening too quickly for the oil industry. Obviously the oil industry doesn’t like sustainable energy sources; however, public transit systems do. The efficiency gains of an electric bus fleet are evident and as a result less oil is being consumed. Chinese cities are the quickest at buying up electric busses and as a result the costs of adding these efficient vehicles to a fleet have gone down globally.

For every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced from the market, according to BNEF calculations. This year, the volume of fuel buses take off the market may rise 37 percent to 279,000 barrels a day, about as much oil as Greece consumes, according to BNEF.

“This segment is approaching the tipping point,” said Colin Mckerracher, head of advanced transport at the London-based research unit of Bloomberg LP. “City governments all over the world are being taken to task over poor urban air quality. This pressure isn’t going away, and electric bus sales are positioned to benefit.”

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Beijing Replacing Gas Taxi Fleet with Electric Taxis

small car

Smog and Beijing go hand in hand due to the explosive growth of car ownership and poor environmental management. That’s starting to change. China’s capital city has mandated that when any new taxi hits the street that it has to be electric. This follows their efforts to replace their buses with an all electric fleet, which included putting 100,000 electric busses on the roads. This electrification will make huge strides in better air quality and advancing the electric car market.

All newly added or replaced taxies in the city of Beijing will be converted from gasoline to electricity, according to a draft work program on air pollution control for Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and surrounding areas in 2017.

This is expected to create a market worth nine billion yuan (1.3 billion US dollars).

One expert says that such plan will not only make great contribution to environmental protection, but will drive the development of the new-energy vehicle industry.

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Electric Vehicles Gaining Traction in Canada

WWF-Canada wants to get car drivers off their addiction to oil by getting consumers to buy electric cars instead of gas-powered ones. To encourage this switch in car-depender living they have former Toronto mayor David Miller going on ‘dates’ with people in EV cars to discuss what they are doing to improve the environment.

Forty-two percent of Canadians believe electric vehicles are, or will be shortly, a real and practical alternative to gas-powered cars, according to WWF-Canada’s newly released EV National Status Update 2014 report.

EVs are much more efficient than conventional cars and if the electricity that powers them comes from renewable sources—as it does across much of the country—the benefits are even greater. For example, we can curb climate change since cars are the biggest culprit to emitting greenhouse gases.

In these three light-hearted and comedic videos, David is shown driving around Toronto in a BMW EV with different notables – comedian Mark McKinney, celebrity chef SuSur Lee and television host Jessi Cruikshank. While driving, David educates both his co-star and viewers about the environmental benefits of EVs and why they are a great transportation option for Canadians.

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