9 April 2009

The Electric Car is on the crest !

‘The city in 25 years will be public transports and electric cab’ said the visionary Philippe Guédon from Bolloré group.
Can we talk about sustainable innovation for the car industry?
The car has created in the 20th century the conditions of its own depreciation by all the negative effects it has generated:
cities congestion, environment deterioration, mortality by accident…
The car industry has ignored this for a long time but today, car future depends on it capacity of overcoming. Regarding to the rarefaction of petrol and global warming, the car industry needs to be innovative in greener transports.
Between all the possibilities that have been studied, the electric car stands out, but the type of electricity that will be used for those new car generations is questioned. In Germany, Bjorn klusmann, from the federal union of sustainable energy proclaimed that the sustainable energies are able to cover the needs in electricity for the million of vehicles that will be in Germany’s road for 2020. But, at that time, the German industries give priority to the energy coming from nuclear and coal.
How much more energy would we need if automobiles went onto electric grid?

The prime minister Gordon Brown projects a positive vision for the new ‘low carbon’ British economy that will emerge from the recession. He said that the government would provide incentives to help the car industry become a market leader across the world for electric and hybrid cars. The European Investment Bank approved a £340m loan to Jaguar Land Rover to develop ‘green’ vehicles, with a further £373m to be split between Nissan’s plants in Sunderland and Spain. (The Independent, 8 April 2009)

But is Electric cars really a solution for our cities disease?
The flood of automobiles overwhelmed city centres make it unbearable and the solution is certainly not to increase infrastructures as people acquired cars even if those ones are electric! We need to take a new look at the car as individual property in city centre. We need to aimed more at solidarity based mobility; green, shared, public... We’ve ended with the speech of 50’s government about the ‘right’ to drive a car as ‘individual liberty’ whatever ‘the cost of it’.

In the meanwhile, Paris is on the spot!
After the success with ‘Velib’, Paris is now keen to introduced ‘Autolib’ for 2010, which is basically the same kind of free service but with electric cars. The monthly rent subscription will cost 15 to 20€ and 4 to 5 € by each 30mn. (Novethic)
This system, as car sharing, encourages users to rent a car only when they need and don’t have to look after. But it’s also a space profit for everyone, if the charging battery time is quick enough, because the cars will be in constant use, reducing by the way the parking surfaces and allowing public space to re-integrates cities.

London, lag behind?…
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, is studying the ‘Autolib’ system after the opening of a ‘Velib’ in the city for 2010. He also announced the creation of The London Electric vehicle Partnership to support the use of electric car in the city.

To be continued…

*picture: piled up electric car in free service imagined by the research center MIT Media Lab

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