segunda-feira, 15 de novembro de 2010
Electric vehicles are not a good solution
Electric cars are nothing new and the problems implicit to electric cars are just as old, but there are some new wrinkles.LARZ ANDERSON COLLECTION
Battery-powered vehicles actually predate gasoline-powered cars. The first electrically powered carriages and cars appeared in the 1830s.
During the early 1900s, electric cars were in many ways more popular than gasoline-powered vehicles and outsold all other cars quite handily. In part it was their reliability and the fact that gasoline-powered vehicles were smelly, difficult to drive and even more difficult to start. Range was not much of a problem as people were not yet used to commuting or wandering more than a few short kilometres from home. By the middle of the 1910s, however, the market share for electric cars was quickly lost to gasoline-powered cars. It was General Motors — or, more accurately, Cadillac — that killed the electric car for the first time by introducing self-starters.
In the time since the early 20th century, electric cars have rarely been seen as anything but an anachronism championed by a small lunatic fringe, little more than curiosities that occasionally merited an article in Mechanix Illus
In the 1990s, General Motors famously developed and leased out a fleet ofelectric cars and then even more famously crushed them despite the pleas of their drivers and the public at large.
This brings us to the present and the resurgence of interest in electric cars. Hybrids have been on the road for some time now and full electric cars with a useful range and speed range are just months away from the dealers’ showrooms. That said, I really wish the electric car would die once more. It is not that I relish a world laid low by the toxic flatulence of the petrochemical nightmare the gasoline-powered car has created. It is, in fact, because of that.
The introduction of electric cars does more harm than good and is not a solution to any environmental problems. For a start, the energy that propels electric cars down the road has to come from somewhere. While their owners are blissfully sleeping, content in the knowledge that their contribution to a healthy environment is in the garage charging overnight, the coal-and gas-fired electrical generation plants are working overtime burning petrochemicals to transform into electricity.
Some supporters will argue that these plants can be made more efficient and will then produce less pollution than gasoline-powered cars, but that does not take into account the toxic batteries that power these cars. The raw materials for these batteries are mined in Canada, refined in China and packaged in Japan and then sent back to us to be used until they die. Then we have to dispose of them as toxic waste. None of this is environmentally friendly.
The cars themselves are made from lightweight plastics and composites with very little recyclable materials incorporated.
In a sense, a 1958 Edsel is by far more environmentally friendly as the materials from which it is made can be almost completely and easily recycled.
The worst part is that the automakers are rushing to create more and more of these cars in a huge green-washing campaign while real solutions are ignored. The most environmentally friendly cars and those we should all be demanding would be powered by hydrogen. They would be fully and easily repaired with a minimum service life of 20 years or more and could be easily recycled once they die. If you doubt a carmaker’s ability to create a vehicle with a 20-year shelf life, just think of aircraft. A 20-year-old Cessna is not considered especially old.
Electric cars are dangerous because, like alcohol-based fuels, the man behind the curtain is making make us feel like his magic is real when in fact it is all just an illusion. The choking fumes are relentless; we are just moving them down the road.
Postado por Fabio Bicalho de Araujo às 09:19