Although electric vehicles (EVs) have been in the market for many decades, their public acceptance and adoption increased significantly in the last years. This is mainly because of its environmental advantages over conventional vehicles. Not only they don’t generate CO2 emissions during its operation, but also they can be fueled with renewable energies. Therefore, in case people would adopt this technologies, it would mean a completely different scenario in our average carbon footprint.
However, governments and big companies need to lead this change in mobility in order to make it fast and effective. Here are 10 ways in which climate change will accelerate the adoption of EVs.
1. International agreements (Paris) with CO2 thresholds
Although their implementation is not mandatory, most world governments accepted to follow the Paris agreement outlines. The most important recommendation of this environmental asset is to keep under 2˚C the world’s temperature and below 450 ppm the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, generated mostly because of fossil fuels burning.
The Paris agreement includes a Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change & Call to Action. In this document, a transition to an integrated electro-mobility ecosystem is required. For this purpose, and to maintain the earth’s temperature below 2˚C, they say that at least 20% of all road vehicles need to be electrically driven by 2030. Also that electric vehicles need to represent the 35% of all vehicles sales by 2030. In this declaration, they call to all governments and business to take action in this electro-mobility initiative.
2. Heat stress events exacerbated by air pollution
Air pollution is a main issue for many countries like India, China and Bangladesh, among others. In these countries, mortality rates due to air pollution related diseases are very high. And they can get worse with heat-stress events induced by global warming temperatures increase. According to a study developed among Nigerian woman, heat stress events can have even worse consequences in people living in areas with high air pollution levels. Therefore, to prevent climate change consequences to be even worse than predicted, governments will not only have to decrease their CO2 emissions but also their pollutants emissions. So there are 2 good reasons for most air polluted countries to implement the use of EVs in order to look after their people’s health and lives.
3. Carbon taxes
Carbon taxes were created in order to decrease the use of fossil fuels for transport and energy. They work by increasing the values of services sourced with fossil fuels, thus positioning other sources of energy in a more competitive place. Also, this tax charges for GHG emissions generated from fossil fuels burning, which is supposed to encourage the use of alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles like EVs.
4. Lower price on renewables purchasing
One of the main benefits of having an EV is that it can be fueled with renewable energies. So, it would be a great incentive if this energy represented a cost-advantage for customers, that will be able to charge their cars at home instead of spending a budget in gasoline.
5. People wanting to help the planet
Another driver for EV adoption is that most people are willing to make some sacrifices in order to help mitigate the effects of climate change. These environmental concerns are among the reasons why in the last years the EV market achieved record sales (Image 1).
Image 1: Electric global market sales in the last decade. Source: CleanTechnica
6. Tax exemption for EV owners
Governments worldwide are investing large amounts of money in EV tax exempts for consumers. For example, China invested USD 8.4 billion in 2018 on EV incentives and subsides for consumers, while US spent 2 USD billion for this same purpose. Also, countries in the EU like Germany, France and Spain have tax exempts between 5 and 10 years for EV users and potential subsidies for the cars purchasing that go from €4000 to €9000.
7. Marketing strategies lead by big companies
Most people who realize the importance of climate change mitigation, try to do their part by consuming eco-friendly alternatives to most products. And despite EVs do have many environmental benefits, they can also have certain costs for the consumers in terms of price, driving range and speed. Therefore, the marketing strategy for EV companies (that have now realized their importance for climate change) is now focused in positioning them not only as the “eco-friendly” solution, but also in showing all the other benefits big companies, such as Audi and Nissan, have achieved in their performance and style.
8. Increasing number of charging stations
One of the problems for some country’s EV adoption is the charging stations availability to charge the vehicles. To fight this issue, the EU increased the public charge points a 32% between 2017 and 2019, while the US increased the number of these stations a 7.6% in 2020.
9. Potential savings with EV adoption
According to a Northwestern report, massive EV adoption would not only reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, but also save billions of dollars and thousands of lives. This would be achieved by avoiding not only damages from climate change but also premature deaths due to air pollution. Pollutants emitted from petroleum-fueled vehicles not only contribute to global warming but also trigger many health issues like asthma and bronchitis. On the other hand, replacing 75% of US cars for EVs, could potentially save up USD 70 billion to the country by preventing natural disasters destructions.
10. Limit to fossil fuels burning
According to a study published by the University College on London, 33% of oil, 80% of coal and 50% of gas reserves must remain under the ground to limit the world’s temperature under 2˚C. These fuels must remain unused and policy makers should address this issue by stopping the use of these fuels when these limits are surpassed.
If this situation ever arrives, EVs sales and adoption will inevitably boost.
Aditya, P., Keith, T., Lateef, D., Celestina, O., Funmi, T., Thierry, T., Exposure to air pollutants and heat stress among resource-poor women entrepreneurs in small-scale cassava processing, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2019
Northwestern University, Widespread electric vehicle adoption would save billions of dollars, thousands of lives, 2020.Gerd Altmann from Pixabay