Climate Action

Electric vehicles unplugged

Due to the rise in petrol prices and pressure to reduce CO2 emissions electric cars are expected to have a major impact on the auto industry

  • 02 July 2010
  • Simione Talanoa

Due to the rise in petrol prices and pressure to reduce CO2 emissions electric cars are expected to have a major impact on the auto industry; by 2015 1.1 million electric vehicles are expected to be sold across Europe. Although electric cars aren't a solution to the problem of carbon emissions in urban areas they could help make a difference depending on where the electricity is sourced and whether there is a strong infrastructure in place to support them.

The second annual Electric Vehicles Unplugged event was held on the 22-23 June in London and aimed to discuss and solve some of the problems facing the widespread introduction of electric vehicles. The event hosted by Frost and Sullivan brought together Governments, OEMs, Suppliers and Manufacturers to discuss the future of electric vehicles and the emergence of new business models and developments in infrastructure.

Key speakers discussed these new business models with leading organisations such as PSA Pergeot Citroen, Optimal Energy and Modec Ltd. For example, PSA Pergeot Citroen, world class automobile manufacturer with two brands, Pergeout and Citroen, will be the first manufacturer in Europe by the end of 2010 to offer a full range of electric vehicles with an intent to cut carbon emissions from urban transportation.

Electric vehicles have a minimum impact on the environment and are emission free, thereby with governmental support could significantly reduce transport's impact on climate change. The event discussed problems concerning the infrastructure in place for successful commercialisation of electric vehicles covering the Better Place battery swap model, however unanswered questions do still remain concerning battery standardisation and whether the electric car simply shifts the pollution to power stations across Europe.

It is hoped that if a better infrastructure for electric cars is available that it will reduce the emissions of Europe's transport system and encourage the purchase of cars powered using alternative energy resources. If governments can help formulate a concrete plan for the widespread use of electric cars then there is a real chance they can become commercialised and hopefully reduce a proportion of carbon emissions.

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Authors: Rachael Bristow and Petra Harkay | Climate Action

Image: David Villarreal Fernandez | Flickr