Electric Cars are Even More “Environmentally Friendly” Says New Research

The most obvious electric vehicle benefits are less air pollution, and a reduced carbon footprint.

But a new research reveals that there are more subtle EV benefits than was previously thought.

This new research conducted by the Michigan State University uncovered a number of these not-so-easily-seen benefits. The researchers focused on two of these hidden EV benefits.

Of the two electric vehicle benefits, the most remarkable is that electric cars emit just a small amount of heat.

This is rather obvious, but is very important nevertheless. In the context of urban setting, this means the urban heat island effect can be lowered a great deal, if the electric car is adapted on a massive scale. Phasing out fuel powered vehicles which emit heat will also greatly help.

The adoption of this finding will go a long way in improving livability in urban areas. It is typical during summer time how temperatures in the city rise to the point where residents have to use air conditioners to reduce the hot temperature inside the house.

Others without such appliances have to settle for electric fans and similar devices to cool their homes. If more people, as well as the government, would be aware of this benefit, it would be more attractive to adopt EVs on a large scale.

It will reduce energy use, as well as cooling bills of those living in urban areas. However, adopting EVs and ditching gasoline-powered vehicles is easier said than done, nowadays, at least.

“It’s easy not to see the big picture on issues like electric cars and global warming, but when we look with a holistic approach, we find these unexpected connections,” says Jianguo Liu, the co-author of the study.

Liu is also the holder of the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at Michigan State University, and the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “Heat waves kill, and in terms of climate change, even one degree can make a difference,” he adds.

The authors of the study came out with a press release recently. Here are some statements in this press release:

“Conventional vehicles and air conditioners are the two biggest contributors to the heat island intensity — the difference between urban temperatures and the cooler temperatures of rural areas.”

 “In that arena, electric vehicles are cooler — giving off only about 20% of the heat a gas vehicle emits.”

“The researchers used Beijing in summer of 2012 to calculate that switching vehicles from gas to electricity could reduce the heat island intensity by nearly 1 degree Celsius.”

 “That would have saved Beijing 14.4 million kilowatt hours and slashed carbon dioxide emissions by 11,779 tons per day, according to the paper “Hidden Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Addressing Climate Change.”

This report however failed to address the actual effects of aerosol pollution on the intensity of the heat island effect. There is an uncertainty about their adverse effects on the atmosphere. The complete report, including its findings, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.




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