Are Electric Cars a Silver Bullet to Fight Climate Change?
Our love affair with internal combustion is a large contributing factor to our overall obsession with fine vintage automobiles. Of course the style, craftsmanship, and freedom offered from these machines all play their own role, but it’s the sound and smell of an old Alfa twin cam honking on open element sidedrafts, a lumpy, over-cammed V8 at idle, or the shrill, metallic yowl of an old Porsche flat six revved up to the redzone that really sums all the other associated thrills up in one easily definable lump—it’s all about the motor. Will it always be?
It’s the positively futuristic year of 2013 and all gasoline-powered things face innumerable environmental, social, and political challenges to their continued dominance, but are battery-powered electrics the silver bullet solution many seem to think they are, or do the complex, expensive, and frequently environmentally harmful processes involved in the manufacture and disposal of said batteries outweigh their potential benefits? Is it better to displace greenhouse emissions to one large, centralized and heavily regulated source (the powerplant), or are cleaner means of electricity generation needed first? These questions and others are explored in an interesting, well-researched, and thought-provoking article we recently ran across on IEEE Spectrum, and it’s titled “Unclean at Any Speed”—we highly recommend it.
Despite our love for four strokes, two strokes, Wankels, Diesels, and anything else that turns liquid dinosaurs into locomotion, we openly acknowledge the status quo cannot stand indefinitely. We’re running out of oil, and as most would agree, we’re irreparably harming the planet by continuing to burn the stuff on an ever exponentially increasing scale—we’re simply recognizing that perhaps we’ve put our eggs in the wrong basket. What do you think?
Image Source: vintag.es