Let me explain. I ride my bicycle between 4000 and 5000 miles each year. That’s not even counting my ebike, which I use for as many errands as I can, which accounts for another five hundred to six hundred miles a year.
I was reading this content-free article from “cleantechnica”.com where they assert without a shred of, y’know, proof that electric cars are better than gasoline-powered cars. Is it true that e-cars are better than gas cars in terms of energy efficiency? Honestly, I don’t know, but I also don’t care. Like the oil industry, the e-car industry is doing it’s dead-level best to obscure the pass-through pollution – the total pollution the vehicle generates from the manufacture, use, and disposal – it creates.
However, I think that’s mostly irrelevant. The problem isn’t the efficiency of vehicles. If that were the case, we’d all be on ebikes and human-powered bicycles, after all, which are orders of magnitude more efficient than the most efficient electric car. We’d also use a lot more public transportation unless the e-car lot wants to attempt to assert that fifty Teslas are more efficient than one bus. They aren’t.
The problem with e-cars is that it is merely putting a band-aid on a deadly wound. As we see with monstrosities like Tesla’s Cybertruck, overconsumption continues apace. Sure, electric engines are more inherently efficient than internal combustion engines. Sure, in some airy-fairy future, electricity will be generated by solar and wind instead of nuclear and fossil fuels (though we’re probably still decades away from that future, so it doesn’t mean much for the current generation of e-cars). But if all you’re going to do is up the amount of energy put out by electric cars – as in the Tesla Cybertruck – any carbon savings in efficiency will be offset by the increased energy output of the drivetrain of the vehicle.
Which is to say that a Tesla Cybertruck is probably far less efficient than an efficiency compact or hybrid – because the people who drive the trucks won’t spare the energy.
To keep up with the Cybertruck, future electric vehicles will be even more absurdly powerful. They’ll accelerate faster and be heavier. It’ll be the same race of power that we see with internal combustion engines, with each new generation of electric cars having more absurd energy output.
Which means this is, at best, a stop-gap measure – and not much of that, to be honest. It won’t take long for electric cars to exceed the energy output of internal combustion cars – that is, indeed, one of the selling points of the Tesla Supertruck. It’s much more powerful than a gas-powered vehicle can ever be. Yes, it’s more efficient, but it also used more energy.
The problem isn’t what powers the cars. The problem is that we are expending enormous resources on personal transportation and that the average energy consumption of humans, overall, continues to climb.
If we want to reduce the energy spent on personal transportation, that means redesigning cities. It means that we’ll walk more, we’ll ride our bikes more, and we’ll use public transit. Which will mean, at least in the US, developing cities that are friendly to pedestrians, bicycles, and public transportation.
The promotion of electric cars as ethically superior to gas-powered cars doesn’t help this at all. It encourages the trend that created the problem in the first place, where we live further and further from our places of business and commerce.
Electric cars won’t save the world. Indeed, they’re a poison that allows rich people to say they’re helping the environment while massively overconsuming, perpetuating the problem they claim to solve.
Thus, fuck electric cars.