There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the future, as the way we get around and produce electricity is transitioning away from fossil fuels, and towards cleaner and greener alternatives. The entire transport sector accounts for 21% of total CO2 emissions and road travel alone accounts for 15% of total CO2 emissions so getting electric vehicles onto the roads is definitely a priority in tackling the climate crisis. However, they’re not perfect, and they are faced with obstacles that are stopping them from becoming mainstream.
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A lot of statements and second to no sources of science quoted. To me the whole article reads like text book green-washing bull.
This article should not be in /c/Science because it’s not a scientific piece. It’s a piece of propaganda for the tech industry.
What’s stopping electric cars? While not exactly a blocker (thanks to official propaganda), there are very good chances that electric cars pollute A LOT more than their mechanical counterparts. How is that, you may wonder?
Well the base structure of the car is the same. Except instead of feeding your car gasoline, you feed it electricity. This has two consequences:
Electric cars are not a solution by any means. Unless you run a bike to charge them (or use a nearby water stream), they’re by far even more polluting than traditional cars.
You second point is completely wrong for many areas. My area, for example, 70% of my electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, 20% renewables (wind, solar), 5% nuclear, and 5% methane (some of which comes from reclamation from farms). I don’t think there is a large scale gasoline generator in the country, same story for coal.
Not sure about “many”. Most of the world doesn’t run on any form of renewable energy. And what you call “renewable” (in official statistics) is far from pollution-free: for example massive wind turbines (compared to smaller ones producing more local, but less electricity) are a pollution nightmare… how many gallons of gasoline does it take to produce a single wind turbine? ;)
not to mention they’re more efficient, watt for watt
This may be an unpopular take, but I don’t think there are enough “unpractical” electric cars. Every single electric car I know of tries to be as easy and convenient as possible.
I’d really like to see a more “analog” (for lack of a better word) electric car. Something with a manual transmission, and the ability to disable TCS and ESC. Something with more of an emphasis on being fun, simple, and inexpensive, rather than as easy to drive as possible.
Of course, I’m not saying these unpractical cars should be the standard, just that there aren’t really any cars that fall into the category of ‘cheap weekend car’.
The privacy of electric cars is also something somewhat off-putting. Teslas constantly report back data to be fed into auto-pilot, which I find somewhat concerning. As cars become more and more reliant on software, I find it more and more important that that software be open source, or at least offline.
Manual transmission doesn’t mean anything with electric. The only reason for it was to help fill in the gaps in the power on an ICE. The lower end cars don’t have TCS btw.
As far as price goes I’m interested to see how these take off (in the USA) - and would love a similar priced small truck:
Driving impressions video if you’re interested.
I like your comments about “analog” option, that’s a good point.
It’s not just electric cars - it’s everything.
Manufacturers want to sell as many as possible, with the lower costs. That means making something that everyone can use. Have you notices how clothing and bicycles come in much fewer sizes than they used to? Matches are 5 times the size they used to be, to fit the clumsiest fingers? How cars have lane assist and roll bars and other features most people don’t want, but 1% of incompetent people need them to stay alive?
It’s a form of cartel, where the number of manufacturers decreases, so it’s easier to collude to reduce costs and quality. Especially, slightly niche things just disappear from the market.
The lane-keep assist thing you brought up is the perfect example. It drives me crazy driving cars that have it. If you really need a computer to keep you within the lanes, you probably shouldn’t be driving. Contrarily, if you’re paying attention, it can actually work against you. A common situation I get into is when I want to give a bicyclist on the side of the road some extra space, and lane-keep assist pulls me towards them at the last second, forcing me to swerve relatively hard at the last second. It’s not a massive deal usually, but on gravel, ice, or even wet roads at high speeds, I’d imagine it could lead to some fairly dangerous situations.
I really hope in the future that are at least some manufacturers that combine the modern idea of electric cars and fuel efficient driving, with older ideas like analog driving. I love the idea of electric cars, but not the idea of having the car try to take control away from me in exchange for convenience.
I can’t drive new cars. They fight me. They ignore my instructions, do do things i never instructed, and they are always wrong and dangerous.
Yes it’s terrible. And it’s getting worse.
Everywhere, manufacturing processes are getting more complex and more expensive (partly but not only due to regulation). Only big companies can afford to survive. Fewer players means fewer options, a worse deal for consumers.
The only reason niche cars ever existed in the past, was because there were hundreds of manufacturers, all competing, trying to find a unique selling point. That will never happen again - the trend is for more regulation requiring a bigger investment from bigger car companies.
I drive a 2009 Highlander, and it’s honestly a great balance for me. It doesn’t have lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, or anything like that, but it does have traction control, stability control, and ABS, which I like. I think there’s a pretty distinct difference between assistive tech in cars that helps with subtle things in the background to help you maintain control, and assistive tech that tries to take over for you since it assumes it knows better.
Yes it’s completely different. ABS is like having better tyres.
You could categorise:
Everyone knows it’s the Stonecutters.
Using a vehicle, electrical or with a combustion engine, that weights 1500-2000kg to carry a 80kg person is a very stupid idea. Certainly with over a billion cars registered worldwide and counting. The local air pollution will decrease with electrical cars which is good but the energy must be generated somewhere. Not to mention the environmental costs of the production and scrap of the cars. I vote for a total paradigm shift and use light weight (electrical) vehicles like bicycles.
I agree, but I also think there’s still a place for heavier vehicles. Like, for day to day commuting, there’s no reason you need that much weight to move a single person, but when I’m going anywhere above 50MPH, I’d much rather have some weight to the car for sake of safety. Millions of people who live in cities could probably do just fine with a bike or other smaller vehicle, but there are just as many people who wouldn’t be in the position to safely drive a lighter vehicle.
Yes, like people travelling with babies, people who need to carry a lot of equipment, the handicapped, the old… As a society we need cars. But there is still a big group of people who could use bicycles, if just a few things about the environment were tweaked.
The usual answer to this is putting amenities closer to the people who need them. Paris was designed in the 19th century to be a 15min city. You can walk to everything you need in 15min. Nowdays, apartment blocks are built with shops and offices in the same complex. If there needs to exist an out-of-town superstore, it should have a bus connection to the town, and do delivery.
With these changes, you don’t have to tell anyone to trade cars for bikes, or incentivise them or ban cars - people will switch by themselves.
In addition to this I suggest that the natural hierarchy in the streets needs to be flipped and pedestrians and bicyclists need to become the dominant user of the street, while motorists must act as “guests”. Impossible you say? Certain countries and cities lead the way here and demonstrate that this is possible. As an example I mention the city of Ghent that had a pretty hopeless traffic situation. This was turned around in a decade. https://www.eltis.org/sites/default/files/c1_scheirs_mobility_policy_ghent.pdf. Or the Netherlands where the bicycle street, a street where bicycle traffic is superior to motor vehicles, is a huge success and has become a nation wide phenomenon. https://beyondtheautomobile.com/2020/10/21/what-is-a-bicycle-street/
Yes all of this.
Critical mass. Once there are enough bicycles on the roads, motorists are forced to adapt. And there are things city councils and governments can do to help, too.
That’s completely true for cities and therefore for the majority of people, but for those that need to go to rural areas you need some alternative.
In the end the only valid point there is infrastructure. If you want more electric cars you need to build the infrastructure. Look at Norway, for example. Electric cars are mainstream there.
Agreed. I am driving a fully electric car in the German countryside. While some cities may have enough infrastructure to make driving electric cars useful and fun, here, it’s far from being the most pleasant experience. Charging at home is pretty much your only option. Some supermarkets actually offer free charging, but that number is rather small. Long(er) trips are basically impossible (however my car isn’t built for this purpose and I’m not using it for this purpose, so this might not be as problematic to people that have access to Superchargers, etc.)
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