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Why Should Small Cities Support Electric Vehicles?

Why Should Small Cities Support Electric Vehicles?

Research and development in electric vehicles have really ramped up in the last few years. Commercial fleets around the world are phasing out traditional internal combustion vehicles in favour of electric vehicles. 

Inside Climate News reports that “France and the UK have given automakers a 2040 deadline to end the sale of new gas-powered cars; China recently indicated it would set its own deadline; India has suggested it is moving toward 100 percent electric vehicles; and Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted last month that Germany may follow suit.”

The shift to electric vehicles can have positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on communities. But there are challenges for smaller communities that want to develop the necessary infrastructure. 

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

The environmental benefits of electric vehicles are numerous. An electric vehicle can cut emissions by 60% compared to internal combustion engines. Encouraging the switch to electric vehicles will improve air quality substantially, which improves public health.

Having more electric vehicles on the roads also means more diversity of mobility. Last year the US used 9 billion barrels of petroleum, two-thirds of which were used in transportation. More electric vehicles on the road means less reliance on fossil fuels. 

As technology advances, the prices of lithium batteries are dropping fast. This means the cost of electric vehicles is also coming down, making them more and more accessible to the average citizen. Additionally, most trips people make are short; in Vancouver, 95% of trips are shorter than 30 kilometres, easily within the range of electric cars. Being able to affordably purchase a vehicle that has zero emissions and can be charged at home in a smart city opens up green transportation options for many people who simply can’t afford the cost of a traditional vehicle along with rising gas prices. 

What Are Smart Cities?

image6-1Smart cities use data - collected from Internet of Things sensors - to analyze different aspects of their operations to find efficiencies and drive innovation. For many, this includes transportation and utilities. By expanding a network of electric vehicle charging points, cities can encourage more electrical vehicle use, lower emissions, and reduce pollution in their region quite quickly. 

From blood pressure and pacemaker monitors, to smart traffic systems or fleet monitoring technology, the Internet of Things provides us with tons of valuable data every day.  

Industry Is Switching to Electric

It's not just individual consumers that are being encouraged to switch to electric vehicles. Many commercial fleets worldwide are switching, in both the private and public sectors. Switching to electric is helping companies get closer to reaching their environmental goals and reducing fleet expenses. 

As Inside Climate News reports, DHL has implemented electric delivery vans in Germany. Vattenfall, a European power plant operator, has vowed to replace its fleet with electric vehicles. LeasePlan is transitioning its internal fleet to electric by next year, and is helping its customers transition as well.  

How Can EDOs Help Their Communities Embrace Electric Vehicles?

While the need for a shift to electric vehicle infrastructure may seem obvious, it may be a challenge to convince constituents in your area that it will be relevant to your community. Convincing constituents may be even more challenging in some parts of Canada due to our cold winters, where electric vehicles just don’t seem practical. 

You’re going to need a strong business case, and you’ll need to do a lot of listening and understanding to be able to counter resistance effectively. A strong business case for promoting greener infrastructure should very clearly communicate the social, economic, and environmental advantages of electric vehicles. 

Garnering support for electric vehicle infrastructure can be challenging. But good quality information about both successes and failures can help start initial conversations about the idea. Driving support for new tech is definitely a long game that starts with grassroots conversations and discussions. 

Drive Community Innovation with Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

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References:

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19092017/electric-cars-ev100-coalition-charging-fleet-ikea-dhl

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/02/three-benefits-of-electric-vehicles-and-how-to-unlock-them/

https://www.energy.gov/eere/electricvehicles/electric-vehicle-benefits

http://theconversation.com/how-growing-cities-can-support-at-home-electric-vehicle-charging-109780

https://social-innovation.hitachi/en-us/think-ahead/transportation/electric-cars-are-revving-up/?WT.ac=si_us_sp_thiah_elecr

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_city

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