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Do electric cars dream of saving the world? - WillCycle
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Do electric cars dream of saving the world?

We are painfully slowly heading to the end of the oil era (seriously, if you had any shares in oil companies, which I sincerely hope you don’t, now is the time to dump those shares). Large car manufacturers realise this, which is why you can now buy electric panzerwagons and even electric American “muscle cars”.

And all the marketing screams green hype at you, leaving people buying electric cars feeling like they’re almost single-handedly saving the planet. Except, it’s nonsense, of course.

There’s a very good, and extremely accurate saying that we need fewer cars, not newer cars. Yes, an electric car bought today will produce* considerably less pollution than a brand-new petrol or diesel car, but that is simply one aspect, and we need to look at the bigger picture here.

*Electric cars still produce pollution locally, in the shape of brake and tyre dust, though again, less brake dust than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, due to regenerative braking. However, that’s not the full picture, as we also need to factor in the pollution produced to generate the electricity used to charge these cars.

I recently came across this picture on Twitter (the original tweet is here) and it perfectly sums the issue up. Electric cars take up just as much space as ICE cars do, and they’re getting bigger, to accommodate larger and heavier batteries.

Crucially, electric cars don’t remove the danger from the roads, and drivers (of all sorts of vehicles) kill an average of five people per day in the UK. The statistics, when you look into it, are horrendous, yet people have been conditioned to simply shrug it off, as if thousands of dead or seriously injured people per year is somehow an acceptable price to pay. If you’re happy for five people per day to lose their lives to cars, please name the five people in your life that you’d be willing to sacrifice each day?

At this point, ask yourself what your response to the above paragraph was, and be brutally honest about it. For most people, the response will probably have been something along the lines of “But we need cars to move around”. But do we? Do you?

Have you stopped and honestly examined why you are driving everywhere – even short journeys that can easily be made using other modes of transport?

If we are to save our world – not so much for ourselves, but for our children’s children – we need to tame cars. Electric cars take up as much road space, and when they run you over, you’re as much at risk as from an ICE car.

We can, and must do better. Most journeys are two miles or less – most people can walk, cycle or scooter that. And yes, of course ebikes and escooters are acceptable – they help get people out of cars, and they need a fraction of the space.

I accept there will be people who cannot walk, cycle or ride a scooter, but in counter to the claim that they need cars, I ask simply this: do they need what we currently recognise as a car? What about a wheelchair attachment that turns a wheelchair into an electric buggy? Or, if someone needs to be enclosed, what about smaller vehicles, like enclosed mobility scooters? Please do tell me the reasons why the vast majority of people need cars?


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