Electric Vehicle Stress
The United States and many other countries around the globe are fighting to reduce the usage of fossil fuels in vehicles as worry increases on the health of the earth. Many of these countries are trying to accomplish this by changing from gasoline and diesel cars to electric, cutting fossil fuel usage in passenger vehicles altogether. Many countries’ goals are to make this change within the next ten to fifteen years, which could possibly rush the process. Not all sides of the story have been considered such as, where this electricity comes from, how we would have to make current energy clean, how to keep up with increased energy demand, increased energy fluctuation throughout the day, and how other countries will attempt to adapt. Yet changing to electric cars will result in more pollution through current and future energy production. While many believe that the problem is solved there is a long road ahead to truly have clean energy in electric vehicles.
The influx in electric vehicles would have a list of downsides if this were to be pushed. In order for energy to be considered clean, it would have to come from responsible and renewable sources of energy. This means electricity would need to stop being produced from sources like coal, diesel, gasoline, and forms of natural gas. These are the worst forms of energy production on the planet and our electric cars will still be powered by them, making this clean energy, dirty energy. As the US energy administration says, in the United States 19 percent of electricity is produced from coal, and 40 percent is from natural gas. In order to change to clean energy, not including nuclear energy which takes up 20 percent of all energy made, we would have to replace almost 60 percent of all energy produced in the United States within the next ten to fifteen years. While making this change we will have to simultaneously increase the amount of electricity produced in order to keep up with the demands of more electricity needed with electric cars.
Many problems need to be solved or understood for cars to go electric that is rarely considered. According to PEW, the amount of electricity if electrification took place in all sectors means we would need to increase consumption by 38 percent which mainly would contribute to electric cars. This means that while replacing 60 percent of electricity production we would also have to increase production by 38 percent which put a massive strain on keeping up with these goals. This would make replacement and growth very hard to take place and would surely lead to cost-cutting and possibly more pollution if these forms of fossil fuel energy were used as a shortcut to meet demand. PEW says that California projects that cars will use 5.4 percent of all electricity produced by 2030, this is 17,000-gigawatt hours in just California alone. PEW also speaks about the demand for electricity changing through the course of the day. In the early morning, the demand is less, but in the early evening, demand increases dramatically. People come home from work, turn their lights on, turn the TV on, make food, and if they have an electric car they plug them in for the next day of use. If people were to follow what many do now, everyone would charge as soon as they get home from their jobs increasing strain on the system all at once and even having the possibility of overloading the system. So while many charging stations will need to be made the network would have to find a way to meet the demands, especially in densely populated cities.
Places like China and India are heavily populated and will have a much harder challenge meeting these goals. China and India have the worst pollution on the planet in terms of energy production. According to the EIA, china’s energy is 59 percent coal, 20 percent petroleum, and 8 percent natural gas, while India is 45 percent coal, 20 percent petroleum. This means China would need to replace 80 percent, and India would need to replace 65 percent of its energy production while also increasing its energy production to accompany electric cars. China’s energy is produced by only 13 percent renewable resources, and India is only one percent, apart from their biomass energy production which is 20 percent. These countries would also have a harder time because of their more dense population, but China already has a policy in place that would help them to make the change. China phases out cars as they get older in order to help with pollution. This is done by limiting the sale of certain cars depending on age and also banning some depending on age. This phase-out will help them with replacing fossil fuel burning cars, but will not help them solve their issue of replacing where the energy will come from.
While for some countries this problem will be easy to solve. Countries like Norway already have 60 percent electric cars and energy comes from 97 percent renewable resources and 93.4 percent of that consisting of hydroelectric energy. Countries like Norway are in the works of solving the fossil fuel burning vehicles while also considering where this energy will come from and should be a prime example we should follow. While countries like The United States, China, India, and many others will all have different solutions to their problems because of cultural, agricultural, and differing landscapes. Taking advantage of possible energy resources based on territory will be the best possible solution.