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At various times in my life I've lived either car free or partly car free (i.e. using bicycle/walking/train/bus for myself but owning/renting a car for family trips/business trips). While there are some downsides to living without a car - one of them is that it takes on average twice as long to get from A to B - there are also plenty of upsides. Mostly a lot of time and money saved on petrol, maintenance, paperwork, taxes etc.

However, people just don´t see it that way. At no point during the years I cycled everywhere did I appear to inspire anyone to do the same. I cycled to an office most days for 7 years and no-one else there ever did. At no point has anyone else ever said to me "you are planning to cycle home 6 miles in the dark after the movie, what a great idea, I´ll join you!". No, that conversation never happened.

In theory, the car free society works very well. If everyone all at once could agree today to vote for the banning of all private cars (both new car sales AND remove second hand from the road) in the year 2025 I reckon by the time 2025 came around we´d have not just a lower-carbon society but a more pleasant one. Public transport would become amazing to meet the need, shared taxis would boom and be constantly passing by, and cities would be more pleasant. Traffic jams would no longer even exist. Everywhere would be safe to cycle.

But it´s not happening. People aren´t buying it.

People are resistant to change and electric cars are less of a change.

Since I´ve had an electric car, I´ve had a lot of positive conversations and I´ve decided that, at the moment, at this fairly early stage of adoption, each person that buys an electric car may cause 1 other person to discontinue using a petrol or diesel car by buying electric instead.

It´s sometimes hard to see the effect that you are having. Some of you may feel like you haven´t inspired anyone, since no-one you know has bought an electric car since you have. But one of them may well eventually do, because of you, perhaps they will buy in 2025 rather than 2030. Or perhaps a friend of a friend you spoke to once and never met again has bought an electric car because of a conversation with you, you´ll never know.

So imagine you have a petrol car and cause 4 tonnes of CO2 to be created per year. You now decide to live car free, and buy a bicycle. Your emissions are now zero (or close enough). If you get an electric car you might have cut your emissions from 4 tonnes per year to 2 (after allowing for manufacture of the vehicle). But you´ve also inspired someone else to get an electric car and also cut from 4 to 2.

Which is the same as living car free.

So in conclusion getting an electric car is as good for the environment as owning nothing but a bicycle.

This won´t be true once new petrol and diesel cars are banned, and it might not be true in a few years when electric car sales are very high and most people no longer need someone else to inspire them first. But for now I think it´s likely true.
 

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from 4 tonnes per year to 2 (after allowing for manufacture of the vehicle).
The problem is that at present that number is only true for people/cars that do high mileage, especially with the reduced travel during and probably following the pandemic. Many EVs may not break even or worse on total CO2.
Reducing the number of cars is the better target, which I think self-driving is probably more likely to achieve than simply electrifying (or hydrogenising).
 

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Kona PremSe64k 2020+bluelink +ohme
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So imagine you have a petrol car and cause 4 tonnes of CO2 to be created per year. You now decide to live car free, and buy a bicycle. Your emissions are now zero (or close enough). If you get an electric car you might have cut your emissions from 4 tonnes per year to 2 (after allowing for manufacture of the vehicle). But you´ve also inspired someone else to get an electric car and also cut from 4 to 2.
Nice logic, but the equation has reducing returns as take-up of EVs increases. And we all know there is a lot of societal pressure, incuding from governments to buy EVs so take up in 2021 should be much higher etc, regardless of whether I bought an EV. I think we can even foresee the day when EV sales outstrip that of ICE sales.
 

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Reducing the number of cars is the better target, which I think self-driving is probably more likely to achieve than simply electrifying (or hydrogenising).
I'm not sure that is correct either as a target or a method of achieving it.
I believe that the correct target is to reduce the total mileage driven not the number of cars themselves.
The experience of Ubers and similar in large cities such as London, Paris and New York has been a massive increase in the mileage driven, most of which has been fareless. I am concerned that the same will happen with self-driving cars applied as Ubers and Deliveroos. Millennials appear to be willing to pay a premium for convenience/spontaneity and order takeaway and shop deliveries in small quantities at an increasing frequency which are increasingly delivered by car.
 

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So imagine you have a petrol car and cause 4 tonnes of CO2 to be created per year. You now decide to live car free, and buy a bicycle. Your emissions are now zero (or close enough). If you get an electric car you might have cut your emissions from 4 tonnes per year to 2 (after allowing for manufacture of the vehicle). But you´ve also inspired someone else to get an electric car and also cut from 4 to 2.

Which is the same as living car free.

So in conclusion getting an electric car is as good for the environment as owning nothing but a bicycle.
But based on the data from Volvo and Polestar buying a new car causes somewhere between 14 to 24 tonnes of CO2 to be released during manufacture, Polestar had their EV up at the 24t mark. If you then inspire a friend to buy one, then you're responsible for causing upto 48 tonnes of CO2 being emitted.

So you're creating a lot of CO2 upfront to emit less in the future, but it's all still emitting CO2 making the situation worse while a bicycle emits next to nothing.
 

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I believe that the correct target is to reduce the total mileage driven not the number of cars themselves.
There's substantial CO2 released in manufacturing the car, so fewer cars used more intensively should have lower emissions. There's also an argument that a car being used more intensively can have more spent to make it cleaner and more efficient because the extra cost is paid back from savings over the higher mileage.
 

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I'm not sure that is correct either as a target or a method of achieving it.
I believe that the correct target is to reduce the total mileage driven not the number of cars themselves.
The experience of Ubers and similar in large cities such as London, Paris and New York has been a massive increase in the mileage driven, most of which has been fareless. I am concerned that the same will happen with self-driving cars applied as Ubers and Deliveroos. Millennials appear to be willing to pay a premium for convenience/spontaneity and order takeaway and shop deliveries in small quantities at an increasing frequency which are increasingly delivered by car.
Yes, I can see that. @WithEthyl has made my main point above - less cars used more. (That is what any commercial operation like a bus company or airline aims for.)
But I'd add that if the extra mileage you mention is done with renewable electricity then it isn't a problem really.
If Millenials can have their frequent deliveries and cause less CO2 then that's a win in my book (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The problem is that at present that number is only true for people/cars that do high mileage, especially with the reduced travel during and probably following the pandemic. Many EVs may not break even or worse on total CO2.
Reducing the number of cars is the better target, which I think self-driving is probably more likely to achieve than simply electrifying (or hydrogenising).
Reducing mileage has a better effect on climate change and pollution for petrol/diesel cars, since the majority of emissions are in the use phase. However, in electric cars, perhaps the majority of the emissions are in the production, so reducing the number of cars would seem to be more beneficial.

My numbers of 4 tonnes and 2 tonnes are actually for average mileage - which one of the two numbers are you in disagreement with?
 

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My numbers of 4 tonnes and 2 tonnes are actually for average mileage - which one of the two numbers are you in disagreement with?
There is a lot of variation, but it seems that the breakeven for EV-ICE CO2 is around 30,000 miles. In the UK average driving has reduced from about 9,000 to 7,000 over the last 20 years (not including 2020) and is likely to drop further. If we take 5,000 for the next several years then EVs wont break even until 6 years old. I'm not sure if that will be 12 years to reach your 4-2 point - I suspect the math is more complex - but 10 year old cars typically do very low mileages.
However, those older cars are often used as shopping trolleys round town and the reduced pollution is a big factor there.
 

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All one has to do is petition their politician to legalize escooter use with appropiate engineering and power levels for road use and then substitute ICE and BEV miles for e-scooter miles... (escooters take less c02 to manufacture than electric cars and get in the neighborhood of 15x more miles per kilowatt hour compared to electric cars - in other words they are far more sustainable and efficient, not to mention affordable...)

 

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All one has to do is petition their politician to legalize escooter use with appropiate engineering and power levels for road use and then substitute ICE and BEV miles for e-scooter miles... (escooters take less c02 to manufacture than electric cars and get in the neighborhood of 15x more miles per kilowatt hour compared to electric cars - in other words they are far more sustainable and efficient, not to mention affordable...)

I remain skeptical about these things. They are, imho, less practical than a bike in most ways. They appear to replace walking rather than car journeys, which is probably a bad thing.
 

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All one has to do is petition their politician to legalize escooter use with appropiate engineering and power levels for road use and then substitute ICE and BEV miles for e-scooter miles... (escooters take less c02 to manufacture than electric cars and get in the neighborhood of 15x more miles per kilowatt hour compared to electric cars - in other words they are far more sustainable and efficient, not to mention affordable...)
How many bags of shopping can you carry on an e-scooter ?
 

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There is a lot of variation, but it seems that the breakeven for EV-ICE CO2 is around 30,000 miles. In the UK average driving has reduced from about 9,000 to 7,000 over the last 20 years (not including 2020) and is likely to drop further. If we take 5,000 for the next several years then EVs wont break even until 6 years old. I'm not sure if that will be 12 years to reach your 4-2 point - I suspect the math is more complex - but 10 year old cars typically do very low mileages.
However, those older cars are often used as shopping trolleys round town and the reduced pollution is a big factor there.
I always wonder with these break-even points are they accounting for the extraction, refinement and transportation of the petrol/diesel in this figure? I think they usually just consider the manufacturing of the vehicle and the emissions saved by not burning fuel (ignoring the fuel element). Happy to be pointed to a study that takes all relevant factors into account if there is one.
 

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One is enough for the majority of trips to smaller supermarkets.
And just where do you put that one bag ? On a conventional bicycle you can have a basket in front, some sort of saddlebag or pairs of panniers on either front, rear or both wheels. None of those options appear to work for an e-scooter !

Just one bag - wherever you put it - raises another problem in that you'd probably have to make two trips a day for several days per week to keep pace with the rate at which most families would consume food.
 

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That said - having an EV does tend to encourage more short journeys ... so ... my brain hurts :oops:
Yes, the cost/benefit of running an ICE for short journeys (ie before the engine fully warms up) is very poor, whereas for an EV as far as the engine is concerned, the has none of these problems.
 

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How many bags of shopping can you carry on an e-scooter ?
And just where do you put that one bag ? On a conventional bicycle you can have a basket in front, some sort of saddlebag or pairs of panniers on either front, rear or both wheels. None of those options appear to work for an e-scooter !

Just one bag - wherever you put it - raises another problem in that you'd probably have to make two trips a day for several days per week to keep pace with the rate at which most families would consume food.
In big cities, car sharing services and ride sharing services exist (and scooters fold to fit in the trunk / boot unlike bicycles). They’re also small enough to be brought indoors.

Lots of millenials in cities use uber to get everywhere, which gets expensive and dangerous during a pandemic. With scooter you can save half the cost of rideshare by only using uber to take the groceries home (you use the scooter to get to the store) so the scooter easily pays for itself over time in saved rideshare fees.
 

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All one has to do is petition their politician to legalize escooter use with appropiate engineering and power levels for road use and then substitute ICE and BEV miles for e-scooter miles... (escooters take less c02 to manufacture than electric cars and get in the neighborhood of 15x more miles per kilowatt hour compared to electric cars - in other words they are far more sustainable and efficient, not to mention affordable...)

E-Scooters are great for sight seeing, good fun and generally quicker and cheaper than a taxi or public transport. For general day to day use though people really should be walking and/or cycling and not be so lazy...
 

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One can take an escooter to work instead of a bike so they won’t get sweaty and keep it under their desk or in the break room so it doesn’t get stolen.
 
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