On ushering a transportation revolution: Are electric cars better for the environment?

Electric cars are making a case as a transportation alternative for motorists in search of a sustainable means of hitting the road.

Electric cars are making a case in a transportation revolution as motorists look for a sustainable means of hitting the road. Using electricity instead of gasoline makes electric vehicles (EVs) in Asia cost-efficient.

It also renders decarburization. In fact, in every EV, carbon dioxide is reduced by 1.5 million grams every year.

At present, the Asian vehicles market is on track toward significant growth and is creating chances for value creation across the supply chain.  The said market is steered by technology, energy, and financial players who deliver value propositions. 

EV’s stake in going ‘Green’

In every Asian country, EVs’ entry into the market and the level of adoption are affected by the government, which is a key stakeholder in supply chains. Specifically, a government’s power to render laws, restrictions, and subsidies could either progress or hamper the EV transportation revolution.

China, Japan, and South Korea have made comprehensive policy frameworks to support EV adoption.  Meanwhile, emerging Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia have set targets for EV production.

Emerging Asian markets are also becoming the largest micro-mobility hubs where electric two-wheelers (E2Ws) are a predominant mode of land travel. By 2030, India and Indonesia are projected to become the world’s second and third-largest E2W markets. They may have a more than 60% annual growth rate.

According to Susan Anenberg of George Washington University, PM2.5, and global ozone-related premature mortality from vehicle tailpipe emissions increased from 361,000 in 2010 to 385,000 in 2015, which is one of the major causes of air pollution and climate change. PM2.5, a particulate matter, badly affects health, while Nitrogen oxides (NOx) may damage crops and aid in causing acid rain.

Although NOx limits have been apparent in major markets, traditional vehicles emit much more NOx in actual driving situations. India, China, Europe, and the United States are the four biggest vehicle markets­­. They have an estimated 70% impact on the said consequences. 

Utilizing EVs usher lesser carbon production than traditional vehicles. It’s one way of alleviating the said effects. EVs are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly. It’s because they lack internal combustion engines and instead rely on electric economy motors. 

Notably, EVs’ emissions will continue to decline as the power grid continues to transition toward renewable energy sources. Doing so will help reduce air pollution and usher a transportation revolution.

Alleviating global warming

Electric cars produce half of the greenhouse gas emissions of a regular car. On average, EVs are about 30% cleaner than vehicles with internal combustion engines that burn fuel. Such makes EVs better options in transportation services. 

“We discover that today’s typical electric vehicles emit only half as much greenhouse gas as a traditional passenger vehicle. This finding supports government initiatives to promote electric vehicles as a component of their carbon reduction plans,”

Dale Hall, a senior International Council on Clean Transportation researcher, stated.

Many Asian countries are taking the effort to become eco-friendly. Singapore (SG) is aiming to have fully electric vehicles on its roads by 2040. Such is part of SG’s commitment to address climate change.

However, it will take a while as only a small portion of the current private vehicles in SG run on lower-emission hybrid engines or are fully electric.

The Indian government promote the production and use of EVs in the nation by improving charging infrastructures. There are now 1640 public EV charging stations in India. The government initially focus on nine megacities and then had more public EV charging posts across the country.

Indonesia, one of the world’s top carbon polluters, aims to reduce its pollution by 29% by 2030.  Said country hopes to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 or sooner under the Paris Agreement to fight climate change. In order to achieve this goal, there is a need for more investment in Indonesia’s forestry and energy sectors. This would be possible through international climate finance.

As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas producers and a rapidly growing economy, Indonesia has the potential to boost its economy and at the frontline of the transportation revolution. It also can reduce its deficit, create jobs, and improve its air and water quality through climate action. A total electric vehicle ecosystem can help gain that in a larger aspect.

Danny Marks, an Assistant Professor at Dublin City University,  predicted that the dual biodiesel and current EV policies would no longer be fitting after ten years. He also added that increasing EV production should be a priority to achieve global climate goals.

Acclimatization of Asian vehicles

Producing EV motors can help progress Asia’s economy and protect the environment. Electric cars cut expensive oil imports and lessen air pollution.

More than 7 million die prematurely from air pollution in 2022 globally, and 2.4 million casualties are from Southeast Asia. Said death tolls are from the tiny diesel soot and gas emissions from cars and trucks. In this sense, EVs can aid in lessening the said impact.

The benefits of the transportation revolution on EV to the environment arise from reduced damages relative to the gasoline vehicle it replaces. Compared to a gasoline-powered vehicle, air pollution due to an electric car is lesser.

However, EVs also produce pollution during production. This is due to the fact that the complex and large batteries used in EVs require a lot of energy to produce.

Additionally, the logistics of the operation are complicated, and the mining and processing of materials like lithium and cobalt used in electric car batteries can also aid in causing pollution. More than a third of the CO2 emissions from an EV’s lifetime is due to the said batteries.

Despite this, the air pollution from factories producing EVs is still lesser than traditional cars and it can be one of the air pollution solutions. Also, EVs typically use cleaner electricity sources to charge their batteries and don’t emit emissions while in motion. 

The environmental benefits are even greater if electric cars use renewable energy. Hence, it’s no wonder that as Asia gains ground in the EV transportation revolution, it is noticeable that governments are making headway toward their climate change goals.

Due to the entry of EVs into the Asian market, the automotive supply chain has been gradually shifting to usher sustainability by helping preserve the environment.

Now, more than ever, there is a need to intensify efforts to further its market by developing more charging infrastructures. More importantly, joint efforts from the government and private sectors would primarily steer the roll-out as well as adoption of EVs in Asia. 

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