Electric vehicles can replace 90% of conventional ones today

Scientists have provided a route to reduce 30 per cent of transportation emissions in the US – replacement of currently used conventional vehicles with electric ones.

While this in itself won’t sound like a major suggestion and many would consider it naive, the thing that researchers have pointed out specifically is that currently available electric vehicles are capable of replacing 90 per cent of conventional vehicles as they are able to satisfy most of the needs of current drivers without need for additional technology. Scientists do recommend continuous innovations and research in the field of electric vehicles, but they add that consumers do not need to wait any longer for advanced electric vehicles as the currently available electric cars from major auto manufactures would serve their daily transportation routine just fine.

MIT scientists have published findings of their long duration study in journal Nature Energy wherein they have said that a substantial 30 per cent reduction in emissions from transportation itself in the US can be achieved through the said strategy and that this in itself should be a huge motivator for people to make the switch.

Over the course of four years of study, scientists developed a way of integrating two huge datasets: one highly detailed set of second-by-second driving behavior based on GPS data, and another broader, more comprehensive set of national data based on travel surveys. Together, the two datasets encompass millions of trips made by drivers all around the US.

Researchers were able to demonstrate through their study that the daily energy requirements of some 90 per cent of personal cars on US roads could be met by electric vehicles available today at an overall cost to their owners — including both purchase and operating costs — that would be no greater than that of conventional internal-combustion vehicles. The team looked at once-daily charging, at home or at work, in order to study the adoption potential given today’s charging infrastructure.

Researchers also found that the vast majority of cars on the road consume no more energy in a day than the battery energy capacity in affordable EVs available today. These numbers represent a scenario in which people would do most of their recharging overnight at home, or during the day at work, so for such trips the lack of infrastructure was not really a concern.

Vehicles such as the Ford Focus Electric or the Nissan Leaf — whose sticker prices are still higher than those of conventional cars, but whose overall lifetime costs end up being comparable because of lower maintenance and operating costs — would be adequate to meet the needs of the vast majority of U.S. drivers.

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