The coal electric power plants in China emit so much particulate and other pollution that a shift from gasoline to electric vehicles in China would worsen air quality.
For electric vehicles, combustion emissions occur where electricity is generated rather than where the vehicle is used. In China, 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels, about 90 percent of that is from coal. The authors discovered that the power generated in China to operate electric vehicles emit fine particles at a much higher rate than gasoline vehicles. However, because the emissions related to the electric vehicles often come from power plants located away from population centers, people breathe in the emissions a lower rate than they do emissions from conventional vehicles.
Still, the rate isn't low enough to level the playing field between the vehicles. In terms of air pollution impacts, electric cars are more harmful to public health per kilometer traveled in China than conventional vehicles.
"The study emphasizes that electric vehicles are attractive if they are powered by a clean energy source," Cherry said."In China and elsewhere, it is important to focus on deploying electric vehicles in cities with cleaner electricity generation and focusing on improving emissions controls in higher polluting power sectors."
Electric cars have the potential to lower total pollution. But first electric power generation needs to be made more clean. So cleanliness of electric power plants is more important than the types of drive trains used in cars. Mandates for scrubbing coal electric power plant emissions or a shift to nukes, solar, and/or wind power would cut back pollution for all the uses of electric power.
We need cheaper ways to cleanly generate electric power. Nukes, wind, and especially solar still cost too much.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2012 February 13 11:03 PM Energy Electric Generators|