April 11, 2024

“What is the value of zero?” is the question asked in the captivating commercial for the brand new Nissan Leaf (due to launch in Australia in April). The montage is set against natural and artificial photographs from “0.” The Leaf advertisement asks viewers to:

“Imagine zero dependency on foreign oil, zero pollutants in our environment, zero depletion of the ozone … zero gas and 100% electric Nissan Leaf, innovation for the planet and innovation for all”.

In spite of its name, however, does the Leaf really so good for the ecosystem?

Electric vehicles and low-emission cars such as of the VW Bluemotion or the hybrid Toyota Prius are often labeled “green cars” and hailed as a technology-based solution to the environmental concerns caused by automobiles.

Suppose. In that case, renewable power sources power them. Electric cars can contribute to combating the issue of dependence on oil and greenhouse gas emissions, along with the noise and air pollution that comes from vehicles that are parked in urban areas that are crowded with people. However, if electricity generated by coal-fired power sources powers them, they transfer pollution from the cities of Australia to rural areas and don’t help reduce emissions.

Electric cars aren’t going to solve this. Hussain Isa

Even if they’re powered by renewable energy, the promise that comes with “green cars” certainly does not address the fundamental environmental, economic, and social issues associated with automobiles.

The green car will not cut down on car use, and it will not reduce what Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy have called “automobile dependence.” They may even motivate drivers to drive more frequently. With the illusion that they’re helping the environment, motorists will be lured by an illusion of security. “Green cars” would not be able to reduce or tackle:

  • Congestion. This caused a halt to the Australian economy and impeded the flow of goods and people, resulting in the economy’s $9.5 billion in 2005
  • Road deaths and injuries. There have been more deaths and injuries on the roads in the years since 1945 than were killed during active service in World War 2. Around the world, 1.2 – 5 million people are killed each year. Australia recorded 1370 deaths as well as 32,500 serious injuries in 2010. Nowhere else in the aspect of human interaction is there as high a percentage of fatalities and injuries tolerated.
  • Health and social costs associated with car dependence. They include obesity in, activity, and premature death due to the air pollution caused by cars.
  • Social exclusion for people who are not drivers from areas designed for vehicles. There are many areas of society specifically designed for people who own automobiles but are not accessible to those who do not (older people, those who are under 18, or those with the lowest income or who have mobility impairment)
  • the dominance of cars in urban spaces. While stationary, cars use up valuable land that is in public (that can be utilized to grow green spaces or food production in urban zones) and private parking lots and garages. Streets in inner cities are blocked by cars that are parked. Autos also eat up space on highways and roads. A quarter of US urban area is dedicated to the use of vehicles. In London, it’s about a quarter, while within Sydney, it’s close to 1/3.

Private automobiles (whether “green” or not) are also unable to access other modes of mobility, such as walking or cycling. In a lot of streets in Sydney, it is dangerous to cycle because of the design of roads and road anger. Most of the time, they are treated in the best way as people who are treated like second-class citizens.

Electric cars aren’t going to solve this. Lucas Jans

If engineers could manage to create a totally “green car” (one that does not pollute at any point in its life), it’s an ineffective solution to technology. In the majority of cities, it’s a large number of vehicles in the streets of cities that pose the biggest challenge in making our cities liveable.

Instead of a solely technological solution focusing on emissions and energy, changes in behavior and culture are essential. This will result in a greater focus on reducing the dependence on automobiles. Also, we need to look at how we utilize cars rather than focus on the amount of energy they consume.

A new trend that has been causing significant change in the way cars are used in urban areas all over the globe includes car sharing, which is referred to by the name of car clubs within the UK.

Do not confuse it with carpooling; the term car sharing is an authorized community that hires cars that are kept in designated car bays, usually in the inner city, where other forms of transportation are readily accessible. In contrast to traditional car rentals, cars that are used in car sharing are arranged throughout local streets and are within walking distance of local businesses and residents. The carsharing service is offered in over 1,000 cities across the world.

As per Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, during the time they were advising the US government was rescuing three of the “big three” car companies during the global financial crisis of 2009 and 2010, carsharing membership grew by 52 percent. In 2015, it is estimated that 4.4 million individuals in North America and 5.5 million in Europe will be a part of carsharing services. Shared cars, not electric ones – will likely be the sustainable automobile of the future.

 

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