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Electric cars have been in existence since the late 19th century. During their introduction, they were aimed at solving the energy crises that had been brought by the high price of oil. Although, this idea quickly disappear after the introduction of gasoline in the internal combustible engines. In the recent society, countries and other organizations are fighting global warming. The increased temperatures are as result of the accumulation of high levels of toxic gasses in the atmosphere. These gases trap harmful amounts of heat which cause the atmosphere to overheat. According to research, if the world could control the emission of greenhouse gasses in the air, the atmosphere would be cooler by around 33 degrees. The highest contributor of these gases is the transport sector. The burning of diesel propels vehicles. These are fossil fuels, and they release carbon dioxide gas into the air as a by-product. This gas is harmful, and its emission needs to be reduced. Therefore, electric cars are made for this purpose. Several countries have been practicing renewable energy for some time now. The same countries have tried to introduce electric cars to their citizens. They include Swede, Norway, New Zealand and Germany among others. There are several strengths and weaknesses of adopting electricity-powered vehicles. The fact that they need electricity to run and not gasoline means that there will be less gas emitted into the air as electricity does not need fuel to burn. It also does not emit harmful gasses after combustion. Nonetheless, they are limited by the fact electricity will be made by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, this paper concludes that a less carbon dioxide source of energy is needed to produce the electricity.
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Environmental pollution is an international disaster, and various countries have come together to fight its causes and limit its effects. Various environmental summits have been held in different countries. These summits are aimed at establishing the methods of keeping the environment safe for human beings. There are various causes of environmental degradation, but human activities are the leading cause. According to studies, human activities are the leading cause of greenhouse gas emission in the air. These activities include deforestation and industrialization through the burning of fossil fuels. The levels of harmful gases in the atmosphere have risen tremendously since industrialization began. In fact, the developed countries play a big role in this menace.For example, the United States alone contributes to around twenty-five percent of the total greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere in a year (Chapman, 2007). By contrast, the United States contributes to only a five percent of the entire world population. This percentage means that there is no connection between the population of a country and atmosphere pollution. The developed states emit too much harmful gasses into the atmosphere through transportation, heating and the generation of electricity. These activities require burning of fossil fuels which leave the harmful gasses to rise into the atmosphere as by-products. This paper focuses on environmental pollution through the transport sector by concentrating on electric cars and their contribution to reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses.
Electric cars are essential in limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses since they do not need fossil fuels to ignite. There is a need to limit the emission of these gasses in the air, as they cause health problems to the human population. The percentage of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere can be reduced by controlling the use of fossil fuels; these can be done by coming up with an alternative fuel. Cars use fossil fuels regarding petrol and diesel. Petrol and diesel fuels are not sustainable as they deplete the world off its natural resources. According to Chapman (2007), they contribute to 26% of the total gasses emitted into the atmosphere. Coming up with an alternative would be crucial in reducing these gasses and the effects that they cause. The alternative here is electric cars.
Electric cars are not a new invention. The idea of electric cars came in the late 19th century when the price of diesel had gone up (Tate, Harpster & Savagian, 2008). The countries that import oil found it uneconomical owing to the inflated prices in from the exporters. Oil was also scarce during this time and affected their industrialization dreams. As a result, they needed an alternative that would be economically viable for them and help them in maintaining their development goals. This alternative came in the form of electricity. However, this idea was quickly quashed after the introduction of gasoline which was cheaper and easily available in the eastern countries. Nonetheless, gasoline was a solution to the inflated prices of oil and not an option for the worrying issues with pollution. Also, there is the need for sustainable development which can be achieved by reducing the greenhouse gasses. Scholars think that the electric cars are the most realistic option.
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Electric vehicles have been operational in some countries. According to Boren et al. (2017), several countries such as Sweden and Norway have adopted the use of electric cars for their environmental benefits. The technological advancements in these countries and most of the developed countries play a great role in making the idea of electric vehicles into reality. Boren et al. (2017) added that the electric charged vehicles have an advantage over the diesel propelled vehicles in that they present a zero gas emission in the air; this is an advantage as it is a primary problem facing the world today. The transport sector leads in the emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere, and this will not be the same after full integration of the electric vehicles in the sector. Norway knows the benefits of this idea and has been on the front foot as far as championing for the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles is concerned (Holtsmark & Skonhoft, 2014). According to Holtsmark and Skonhoft (2014), an average electric vehicle can reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by close to one tonne of carbon dioxide. Bradley and Frank (2009) argue that electric vehicles, particularly plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, have the potential of reducing greenhouse gas emission by 84%. Therefore, the Norwegian government has provided some subsidy regarding tax relief for the people that own an electric vehicle. New Zealand is another country that has played an essential role in measures towards climatic change. The country is well suited for the use of electric cars as it is one of the leading countries in the use of renewable sources of energy (Ross, 2015). New Zealand had identified transport sector as the leading cause of gas emissions and adopted walking and cycling as an alternative to the diesel vehicles. Nonetheless, that is not enough as it limits the distance that the citizens can cover by foot or bicycle. Thus, they are considering adoption of electric vehicles, as they rhyme with the country’s policy of renewable energy.
The electric cars have a lot of potential in enhancing sustainability and limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses. They are efficient as far as the emission of greenhouse gasses is concerned. The diesel cars are found in high numbers in the urban areas. Coincidentally, these areas emit the highest percentage of greenhouse gases. Replacing the gasoline or fossil fuel vehicles with the electricity propelled vehicles can see the percentage of air pollution drop by a huge margin (Bradley & Frank, 2009). These cars rely on a system of strategically located charging areas for propulsion. The cars have batteries that are charged before an individual starts a journey and on their way; this means that they operate in the same way as the internal combustion engine cars that are propelled by fuel. These are refueled after some time in petrol stations located along the roads and in towns. Nonetheless, they differ with the gasoline vehicles in that they do not emit gasses as they burn the fuels. Instead, they operate like a mobile phone where the batteries are charged before the energy is exhausted. With them, there will be no energy crisis or any other kind of crisis associated with fossil energy. According to Hawkins et al. (2013), electric cars can reduce the emission of greenhouse gas as well as limit the exposure to tailpipe emissions. These benefits are heightened when the car uses a low carbon emission source of electricity. An example of a low carbon emission source of electricity is wind energy or solar. In other words, the idea of electric vehicles in reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses can be best applied if it is coupled with a renewable source of energy. This source will be used to charge the batteries.
The other strength of the electric vehicles is their maintenance cost. Since these cars are not propelled through diesel engine or other forms of fossil fuels, the maintenance cost is very low, as it will only focus on the car battery compared to the internal combustion engine vehicles that need the entire engine to be maintained. A combustion engine is delicate as it runs on various liquids such as oil, lubrication, and water for cooling the system (Tate et al., 2008). It also needs fuel or gasoline to run the engine system. After some time, these liquids are exhausted and need to be replaced. The process of exhausting these liquids is by burning them which releases carbon dioxide into the air. This carbon dioxide gas is in the form of smoke.Maintaining the engine is also crucial in reducing these gasses. Therefore, a poorly maintained engine or gasoline vehicle releases more gasses in the air than a properly maintained one. However, the cost of maintenance is high and depends on the car model. Nonetheless, maintenance will not be a problem with the electric vehicles, as they will only need a battery and a charging system to run. The only problem that will hit the vehicle is a poor battery that will go low after a short period but not emission of gasses in the air.
The electric cars also have limitations or weaknesses. The purchase of the electric cars will depend on an individual’s level of understanding and willingness (Larson et al., 2014). An individual can only purchase these cars if they know the environmental benefits associated with them. Even though the cars are gaining popularity in countries such as Norway, they are yet to hit high levels of purchase as those witnessed by the internal combustible engine cars; this is after the government has provided tax subsidies to the owners of electric cars. Another limitation is that they use electricity to charge the batteries. Electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, completely adopting the idea of electric cars means that there will be a high number electric vehicles purchased. This means that they will need more charging points and also a high amount of electricity will be used (Holland et al., 2017). This electricity will be made by burning fossil fuels, which makes electric cars a cycle of changing from greenhouse gasses emitted by combustible engines to the emission of greenhouse gasses by the production of electricity.
The only way to control the problem of greenhouse gas emission in electricity production process is by introducing renewable sources of energy such as wind or solar. Research shows that wind energy can solve energy problems and can even provide extra energy. The windpipes, which are made by the use of metal, will have no impact on the greenhouse gasses (Van Vliet et al., 2011). Wind and solar energy is renewable which means that it is sustainable and does not need fossil fuel to create. However, the problem is that few countries, especially the developed, can afford the kind of resources needed for making wind energy generating plant. This limits the use of electric cars since it disadvantages the developing countries.
Another weakness is that the batteries, which mostly lead or lithium batteries, are manufactured through the use naturally occurring materials (McManus, 2012). The world is currently focused on limiting the use of natural materials in human activities; this is through sustainable development as well as sustainability efforts. Without these batteries, the electric cars cannot run. Also, the big cars will require bigger or numerous batteries meaning that mass production of Lithium based or Li-On batteries will be expected to cover for the growing need of vehicle batteries (Helmers & Marx, 2012; Van Vliet et al., 2011). This process is also not sustainable, as the industries, producing these batteries, will need to burn fuel to make them.
In conclusion, Electric cars are essential in limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses since they do not need fossil fuels to ignite. There is a need to limit the emission of these gasses in the air because they are harmful to the human population. The transport sector contributes to the highest percentage of air pollution, and this problem can be reduced by finding an alternative to the modes of transport or combustion. This alternative is available in the form of electric cars. The advantage or strength of electric cars is that they have a zero emission level, as they do not emit gasses into the atmosphere. Nonetheless, they are limited by the fact that the electricity of powering them is made by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, an alternative way of creating energy is required. An example is by using renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind energy. This paper focuses on environmental pollution through the transport sector by concentrating on electric cars and their contribution to reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses. Electric cars have the potential to reduce greenhouse gasses emission, but they need to be coupled up with low carbon producing energy sources.
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