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Electric Cars Are The Future Of Transport?

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The electric car is on the rise. The number of potential buyers increases every year. Simultaneously the thought that Electric cars will become the future of transport rises, but this thought is misleading. Electric cars can play a part in the future of transport in some specific cases but the alternatives bus, train, bike, and on foot are more favorable in daily life. The reason is electric cars are not as carbon efficient as often seen. The whole concept of electrifying a car brings most of the disadvantages of a car, like the use of space and the low number of transported people pair drive compared to the bus or train. The space use of a car to park or drive is lager compart to other ways of transport. Besides the use of space, which can not be used for parks or similar, an electric car also needs many different rear resources to be built. One of the important rear resources is lithium, with is used to produce the battery of an electric car. An argument with considering the infrastructure side of electric cars is electric cars need huge networks of streets that need more land than alternatives. My thesis is: Electric cars are not the future of transport with regards to alternative solutions if seen from an engineering and climate change perspective.

ECS are not carbon neutral, because they produce emissions in their production process, and also the electric energy of most countries is not all from renewable energy sources. The data from IEA (2022) from 2019 shows that in the world only 18.8 % can be seen as carbon neutral and this includes nuclear. This trend halts also true for Europe with 28.2 % being carbon neutral. This means that in practice an electric car could not drive emission-free if it used electricity with is produce by burning kohl or gas. (use more sources)

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Cars, in general, are inefficient for transporting because one car transporters most of the time not here maximum capacity. With means, every time a car is not fully used. The car moves unnecessary weight. For example, in Germany, the average car transport is only 1.46 people (Nur 1,46 Personen Pro Pkw Unterwegs, 2018). With the small number of passengers per car comes a trend for bigger cars like SUVs. These cars are heavier, which means they need more energy to be moved per passenger. In this regard is it not important if the energy source is electricity or gas. The number of cars, in general, is rising in Europe (Size of the Vehicle Fleet in Europe, 2019). In this regards it is not important if they are electric or gasoline powered, because they always need space. 

They need parking space, and they need space to drive. If we now line the space use of a car with the low number of passengers we see the space problem that many cities have. A car needs on average 2.44 m * 4.88 m to park. (Team, 2020) An average street on the country site is in Germany 6.60 meters wide. (Richtlinien Für Die Anlage Von Straßen – Querschnitt, 2003) Compared with the space use of a train or Bus pair passenger is the car inefficient. But a lower space and emission product is going on foot. For longer distances is the bike a good alternative because it doesn’t need so much space and produced no emissions. A car in general needs much more space than every alternative. 

 Why space is important for the climate because if the residence is home and the travel destination is not that far away. The emission with will be produced will be smaller than by a long way. Also, it is possible to use the space for parks or growing trees or in general building smaller cities with more residences per square km. As an example, the USA is a car-dependent nation. 

To understand the real problem of electric cars you had to see the full picture of transport in general and ask how good is a car fitting for my needs. The general idea if the transport is to come from point A to B in the shortest amount of time and with the least effort and with the lowest cost and nowadays also with the smallest carbon footprint. And sometimes is transport capacity also important. The general requirements of a transport way is time, effort, cost, and emission. With this factor, we can categorize first the ways of transport. The first categorization by distance (figure 2) gives an overview of the potential transport for every distance. ECs are best usable in distances between 1 to 100 km because under 1 km the time it takes to drive and find a parking space is often longer than going by foot, especially in cities, and over 100 km the effort of driving comes  


Electric car alternative for city and stat distance.

Figure 3 shows the factor emission measured per person and km. Electric trains emit roughly 88% less carbon than medium-sized electric cars in the United Kingdom in 2019. Eurostar trains are fully electric (All About Emissions, n.d.) and so compare abiel to the electric car. Because an electric car is a new technology, so the comparison is only fair if we compare it to the new technology in trains. Which are electric and not gas-powered trains. 

For the factor effort. Driving a car is much more demanding than sitting on a train. The only problem with effort and trains is to come to the train and find the right one. But for these problems exists a solution in form of short-distance transport and apps like google maps which give a good explanation as to which train to take and when. 

Electric car alternative for country distance.

The factor of effort plays in distances upwards of 100km a bigger role, because a 5 or 8 dive is very demanding for the driver. In contrast, a drive with a high-speed train can be pretty relaxed because the passenger has the possibility to do things outside of driving. The second factor the environment is also amplified because of the long distance the electric car needs much more electricity than the train per passenger. 

Electric car alternative for neighborhoods distance.

The alternatives for short-distance travel are going on foot, biking, electric busses, subways, and the tram. These alternatives can be categorized as personal transport and public transport. Walking and biking are nearly carbon neutral, also their effort is for a healthy person not high for short distances. The other group of transport is public transport this are easy to use, the effort is low. The emission of trams and subways are comparable to trains because they use the same technology (numbers tram). Busses are less efficient than trams because they use batteries, which decreases the overall energy efficiency compared to direct-driven vehicles like the tram and have more role systems than trams. Because steel has less roll resistance than rubber tires.

Cost aspects of cars and trains. 

Costs are hard to calculate because they are very different for trains. In some cities and countries they are free in others they are expensive. 

Energy Statistics Data Browser – Data Tools. (2022). IEA. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/energy-statistics-data browser?country=WEOEUR&fuel=Energy%20supply&indicator=TESbySource

Nur 1,46 Personen pro Pkw unterwegs. (2018, March 22). Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.bundestag.de/webarchiv/presse/hib/2018_03/548536-548536

Size of the vehicle fleet in Europe. (2019, December). European Environment Agency. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/size-of-the-vehicle-fleet/size-of-the-vehicle-fleet-10 

Team, B. (2020, July 1). What are the standard dimensions of car park or garage. CIPG Club. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.parking-garage.com/en/car-park-dimensions-garage-width-length-height/ 

Richtlinien für die Anlage von Straßen – Querschnitt. (2003, December 3). Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richtlinien_f%C3%BCr_die_Anlage_von_Stra%C3%9Fen_%E2%80%93_Querschnitt 

Road space: bus vs bikes vs cars – a famous photo recreated in Canberra. (2012, September 18).

 Daniel Bowen. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from

All about emissions. (n.d.). Eurostar. Retrieved 30 September 2022, from https://www.eurostar.com/be-en/carbon-footprint 

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