The Electric Vehicle Revolution Is Here!
The world is just waking up to the importance of electric vehicles (EVs), as we’re all aware that EVs offer one of the most immediate and effective ways to bring the world’s energy and fuel crises under control. Switching to EVs, we are able to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and at the same time effectively lower our levels of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Accordingly, governments around the world have been applying a great deal of financial and social pressure in order to encourage EV uptake. So, which cities are the best prepared for the EV revolution? Read on and we’ll find out!
New York, US
New York City has a population of 8.2 million, with 1.8 million vehicle owners. In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg announced the PlaNYC initiative – which plans for the challenges of continuing urban population growth whilst reducing carbon emissions by 2030. Not a simple task for a city which, at the moment, does not even meet federal standards for particulate matter and ozone.
New York City currently has 73 EV charging stations, currently all located at garages. For a huge city, this number is pretty poor. However, more recently the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority dished out several handsome grants which will be sure to stimulate development of the city’s EV infrastructure.
Barcelona is a city which prides itself on its public transport, boasting an impressive network of buses, trams and trains. A whopping 41.7 percent of the city’s transport is accounted for by non-motorised locomotion, which is largely a result of ‘Bicing’, a cycle-share system similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’. Nearly 40,000 people utilise the scheme daily.
Barcelona is laying the foundations for the age of the EV through the creation LIVE (Logistics for the Implementation of Electric Vehicles). LIVE aims to: Develop and promote projects concerning electric mobility, providing tools and resources, organizing events and set about promoting the construction of recharge stations throughout the city of Barcelona. Launched through LIVE, ‘Chargelocator’ is a mobile app designed to help users find the nearest charging station whilst supplying them with other useful information.
In 2010, Stockholm was pronounced European green Capital by the European Commission. Already, Stockholm is well prepared for the move to EVs, and it’s the perfect candidate for electrification thanks to one key factor: 86% of electricity used comes from nuclear or hydro sources. Why’s that such a great thing? Well the electricity used to charge an EV obviously has to come from somewhere, and if a country’s grid is dependent on dirty fuel sources such as coal and oil burning plants, the environmental benefits of EV adoption can become minimal. With clean sources of power such as hydroelectric and nuclear, however, the impact of charging each EV battery is greatly reduced. Another interesting point is that 65% of households are near, or have access to, engine block heaters – and the people of Stockholm are thus already accustomed to the idea of having plugs in their vehicles. Stockholm has set a goal to be fossil-free in the inner city by 2030 and region-wide by 2050.
Rotterdam has big plans for EV adoption. The city government has set out a goal of reaching 1,000 EVs on the road within 5 years and 200,000 by the year 2025. The ‘Rotterdam Electric Program’ gives incentive to the first 1,000 EV owners by supplying them with their own electric charging point, free of charge.
Amsterdam has already earned itself the sobriquet of ‘green electricity capital’. By the year 2040, the city government predicts that most of the mileage covered by cars actually be powered by energy generated by windmills, solar panels and biomass plants. Goods which are being shipped will travel by silent electric boats in the canals. As well as reducing carbon dioxide output, this will go a long way toward cutting noise and urban air pollution. By 2015, the city hopes to have 10,000 EVs being used in the city.
In late 2011, Car2Go was introduced in Amsterdam. Through this scheme, Amsterdam now has 300 small EVs which can be picked up and dropped at any public parking spot within the business area with no time limit. The rate is just under thirteen euros an hour, which is not too pricey at all.
So, it would seem, the EV revolution is on its way! Of course there’s a fair amount of inertia as drivers struggle to come to terms with the idea of electric vehicles and as the infrastructure required to support such a fleet is developed, but the wheels are indeed turning.
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Guest Post by Liam Fisher.
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