Nowadays, there is an increased emphasis on the need to use electric vehicles. This is due to the need to reduce air pollution and move towards a future that is reliant on cleaner energy.
You can get some idea of the increase in electric vehicles by the fact that in 2018, electric car deployment worldwide totaled more than 5 million. This was an increase of 63% from the previous year. At face value, it seems that the use of electric vehicles will reduce the amount of fossil fuels we need to meet our energy demands.
However, this sustainable coin has another side, because about 40% of the coal we extract from the ground is then used in electricity production, which makes the situation much more complex.
The Rise of ‘Electric’
With the steady increase in global warming, climate change is becoming a hot topic around the globe. The environment had never been threatened in the pre-industrial era in the same way it is now. The increasing emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are leading to a dangerous increase in global warming. More than 40% of carbon dioxide emissions are from coal-related emissions.
To drastically reduce the levels of these gases, the most significant step is to reduce the use of coal and its derivatives.
The world’s energy demand is increasing annually, along with its population and its improved standards of living. Thus, a reduction in energy consumption is not a viable solution, but there is a greater need to find alternative sources of energy that must also be renewable.
Electrical energy is the most viable form of green energy, due to reasons like:
- At the point of use, electricity is practically non-polluting (regardless of its source).
- Its use produces no byproducts, which makes its use convenient.
- The transmission cost is relatively low, which is why thermal power plants are located near coalfields. Coal and other similar fuels are bulky and expensive to transport.
- Electricity in itself is weightless, which facilitates its application.
- Conventional fuels have associated problems, such as minimum ignition temperature requirements, irregular heating, etc. This is not the case for electricity.
- Most important is the inherent nature of electricity, which consists of moving electrons. Hence, electromagnetic principles apply to it. Modern-day equipment like LED lights, telecommunication devices, transistors, etc. are all reliant on electrical energy for their operation.
Thus, electrical energy has huge potential and its features overwhelmingly promote the use of electric vehicles. Stats reveal a growing demand for electric vehicles across the globe. Most prominent among all consumers are (global EV percentage share in 2018) China (45%), the United States (22%), and Europe (24%) However, since a large percentage of electricity is produced from thermal power plants that rely on coal, this leads us to a dilemma.