Electric cars – a welcome relief, but not totally enviro friendly

Charging into the  electric car market, Al Cormier, the executive director of Electric  Mobility Canada, shows off the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in Vancouver on  Tuesday. The i-MiEV, a pure plug-in vehicle, is inexpensive to  operate and went on sale in Japan last year.

Electric cars take off, quietly — Vancouver Sun, September 20, 2010.

I’m as excited as the next person about the advent of truly consumer-ready electric cars.  It is definitely more environmentally friendly because it is zero-emissions.  However, we have to keep in mind that there are significant concerns about electric cars.

One is the materials needed to create the specialized batteries.  These batteries are often made of minerals that can be rare and can be an environmental disaster on their own when disposal is needed.  Don’t forget mining for these materials likely take an environmental toll.

The second cost is the cost of maintaining our road-based infrastructure.  A car is a car and requires space to park at home and at work.  It requires space on the road.  It requires facilities to help charge the battery when it’s dead.  It’s definitely not as cost-effective nor people-moving-efficient in the overall picture as public transit.  The bus and rapid transit will continue to lead the way in effectiveness and efficiency in moving people around an urban region.

Even with these drawbacks, though, the electric car would be a welcome change to gasoline-based car.  Less fossil fuel emissions have to count for something as a positive.  Even though it’s not what I think as an ideal form of transportation, it may very well find it’s place in our daily lives.


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