Coal-Powered Electric Cars Out-Pollute Fossil Fuels
Driving battery-powered cars could pollute the air more than cars powered by fossil fuels.
If the energy used to power electric vehicles comes from traditional resources such as burning coal rather than renewable sources, driving battery-powered cars will pollute the air more than cars powered by fossil fuels.
That increased pollution would result in more worldwide deaths, said researchers who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Over 100,000 people are killed each year by fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone. If coal-powered electric cars accounted for ten percent of the vehicle-miles expected to be driven in America in 2020, an extra 3,000 deaths would result.
"Overall, the research shows that electric cars are cleaner than those that rely on internal-combustion engines only if the power used to charge them is also clean."
Whether electric cars are an environmentally sound solution to individual transport may vary according to country. In nations like France, which relies heavily on nuclear power, a fleet of electric cars represents a sustainable option. But in China, which is eager to promote electric cars and while relying on coal-fired power plants, the option would pose a threat to public health.
As theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explains in his Big Think interview, although burning fossil fuels "pollutes like hell," they remain more efficient than batteries:
Read more at the Economist
Photo credit: Shutterstock
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.