EV charging solution provider Hypercharge looks at the role EVs play in a more sustainable future
Decarbonizing transportation to save our planet
The need to combat climate change is urgent. As global temperatures rise, we are no longer able to pretend that greenhouse gases (GHGs) building up in our atmosphere are tomorrow’s problem — we must act now to save our planet. That includes the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, which don’t emit climate-warming GHGs from their tailpipes.
All those EVs will need a robust network of reliable charging solutions to keep them road ready. Hypercharge can help you get a jump on an electrified future, but first, let’s take a closer look at the reasons why the clock is ticking for vehicles that run on fossil fuels.
How greenhouse gases cause climate change
Greenhouse gases raise temperatures by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that would otherwise be lost to space. More GHGs means more heat is trapped, raising average global temperatures. The consequences of these higher temperatures are already being felt: rising sea levels, a longer wildfire season, and more frequent heatwaves, droughts, and other extreme weather events.
Fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, are major contributors to greenhouse gases. Producing gasoline, for example, starts with extracting crude oil from deep in the ground, then refining the oil into gasoline and transporting it to fuel stations. Each stage of this process, particularly the refining stage, releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Then come the tailpipe emissions from burning that fuel in gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Carbon dioxide makes up 99 per cent of the GHG emissions produced by light-duty vehicles, and it’s the human-produced GHGs that are responsible for warming the planet.
Decarbonizing our roads
People all over the world are waking up to the fact we can no longer move ourselves or goods through vehicles that give off carbon dioxide. Strategies such as driving slower, driving less, and choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles can reduce emissions, but reaching global climate objectives will take decarbonizing the majority of vehicles on the road.
In Canada, transport is responsible for about a quarter of total GHG emissions, about half of which come from passenger cars and light trucks. The government has set an ambitious goal that 100 per cent of new cars and light trucks sold within Canada will be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035.
Are EVs really green?
You may have heard that EVs aren’t as green as they seem — but when we dig down into the impacts, we see EVs have plenty of net benefits for the environment.
It’s true that manufacturing an EV, especially its battery, requires mining for minerals and energy that may not come from a renewal source. Many parts of the world still rely on the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, to generate power for their electrical grids. Nevertheless, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other institutions have determined that EVs still have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline and diesel vehicles even when charging them using energy generated from fossil fuels. In fact, according to a team of researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Macao, and Nijmegen, EVs are less emissions intense in 53 regions of the world, which together make up 95% of global transport demand.
The longer view
Another environmental advantage of electric vehicles is their fuel efficiency. About 76 per cent of an EV’s energy from electricity is put towards turning its wheels, compared to 16 per cent for gasoline-powered vehicles. The rest of a gas vehicle’s energy is lost to the inefficiencies of running an internal combustion engine. Consequently, EVs use far less energy to travel the same distance as a gas vehicle.
In recent years, EVs have also significantly improved their range with some newer EV models capable of covering more than 500 kilometres on a fully charged battery. Increasing EV mileage means a decrease in GHGs where EV drivers must rely on non-renewable sources of electricity.
As more regions transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy to power their grids, electric vehicle adoption will make an even greater contribution to GHG reduction. In Quebec, for example, more than 99 per cent of the province’s electricity is supplied by hydroelectric power plants.
Beyond climate change
In addition to supporting climate change initiatives, EVs offer environmental benefits that can promote the health and wellness of communities. Reducing air pollution from vehicle exhaust decreases a major contributor to respiratory illnesses and other serious health conditions. Quieter than gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs also lower noise pollution, which can improve sleep, blood pressure, and stress levels. By generating less heat, EVs help cool the microclimate of urban areas, preventing what’s known as the “heat island effect.”
With these short and long-term benefits in their sights, governments around the world have introduced policies and programs designed to strongly promote electric vehicle adoption and charging capabilities. Now is the time to take advantage of the grants, rebates, and tax credits that offset the initial costs of charging stations and electrical infrastructure. Contact Hypercharge today to learn more about the incentives available in your area and why we’re the best partner to help you create a greener, more sustainable future.
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