What to define the electric vehicle’s effectiveness

The government of Hong Kong has published the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035” in June 2021. We had no surprise that the content addresses air quality from the subject – the undeniable health and well-being issue. One of the suggesting measures is the electric vehicle (EV). But here, we should be alarmed that dealing with carbon emission for air quality is somewhat different from dealing with the climate change risk. The EV effectiveness is all based on the aim we target to assess.

Fossil fuel is the notorious carbon emission root. We immediately feel the carbon emission from the land transportation by its exhaust fumes. Vehicular emission poses health risks to bystanders. Another seemingly remote source of air pollution is marine and air transports. Faraway as it may seem, scholar unveils that we had seventy per cent of ship emissions within four hundred kilometres of land (Eyring et al. 2010). Marine transport is no less during the COVID-19 period. It is the cheaper means of transport if compared with air freight. That is why the shipping demand increases because of globalisation, which is becoming the origin of pollution.

The link above: A webinar by Heliox, a world leader in charging infrastructure and power conversion for commercial electric mobility at Matters Academy

The electric vehicle is an alternative technology that produces less waste and is less harmful to well-being, recognised by todays’ news. Figures from one of the intelligent energy management solution providers, Heliox, has shown that EVs may potentially reach the targets of reducing over ninety-seven per cent of NOX, ninety per cent of carbon emission and sixty-six per cent of particulate emissions. EV development issues are still at the early stage as a whole, revealed in the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035”. With such an alluring good number of potentially reduced, why is the adoption of the EV technologies slow? The answer may be found at the Pillars of Design Philosophy (Heliox).

The photo above: Pillars of Design Philosophy (information provided by Heliox)

The Pillars of Design Philosophy segments different stages of building an EV compatible program. Each step has to meet certain specifications to implement the EV infrastructure – whether the grid can support the EV facilities, the depot characteristics, what charging strategy is suitable, the connectivity, equipment and maintenance such as charger care and connectivity services. All of these explains well the likely high cost incurred for EV adoption and the difficulty.

All of the above are proposed based on the clean air subject. Does it necessarily imply EV dealing with the more thorny issue – climate change? Remind that EV charging gets to feed on electricity generation and charging facilities. Carbon Brief, an online platform that won investigative journalism, had the following findings (source – https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change):

  • “EVs are responsible for considerably lower emissions over their lifetime than conventional (internal combustion engine) vehicles across Europe as a whole.”
  • “In countries with coal-intensive electricity generation, the benefits of EVs are smaller, and they can have similar lifetime emissions to the most efficient conventional vehicles – such as hybrid-electric models.”
  • “However, as countries decarbonise electricity generation to meet their climate targets, driving emissions will fall for existing EVs, and manufacturing emissions will fall for new EVs.”
  • “Comparisons between electric vehicles and conventional vehicles are complex. They depend on the size of the vehicles, the accuracy of the fuel-economy estimates used, how electricity emissions are calculated, what driving patterns are assumed, and even the weather in regions where the vehicles are used. There is no single estimate that applies everywhere.”

Be aware that EV is not the panacea for our burning climate issues. Without a detailed assessment, it is hard for us to realise the real impact of EVs on climate change. So far, the information we have found implicates the best possible cure for climate change is non-fossil fuel energy generation. While we are queuing to advance to the next genuine sustainability era, we apply modelling to analyse energy consumption to tackle the problem right in front of us as an environmental consultancy.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
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