I watched Deep Impact yesterday, followed by David Attenborough’s latest documentary on Netflix, Our Planet.
It was a random combination of things to watch but it made me realise something. Movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and, on a lighter note, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World all make us think about a world-ending asteroid hit on Earth. These are works of fiction, made purely for entertainment and they garner huge amounts of public attention.
Our Planet on Netflix isn’t fiction and depicts a much more real threat to humanity; global warming. There’s a lot we should be doing to protect the environment, but electric vehicles could genuinely be the biggest change we see during our lifetimes. It’s absolutely rooted in fact and not science fiction.
Why Electric Cars Are Key
Electric vehicles are just one way we can all reduce our carbon footprint. They’re not exactly the perfect solution yet, mainly down to question marks around the where electricity is sourced. If the power you charge your car with is being generated from a coal plant, well then electric cars aren’t that green. Fortunately, Ireland has committed to increasing green energy by 2030. We’ve also committed to banning cars with fuel pipes by the same year, but not all countries are the same. This is huge.
Within the next ten years or so, petrol stations will need to rethink how they operate. Fewer people will need fossil fuels and instead will start looking for charge points. Will petrol stations start to vanish altogether? Most people charge their cars at home, so this is a reality we really have to face. I’ll admit, I never look forward to such dramatic changes because we’re talking about people’s livelihoods. People will lose jobs and need to upskill to earn a living.
But this is humanity. We’ve done it before through the industrial revolution. People don’t like change, especially at the hands of technology which has led to a massive amount of misinformation out there.
Today, Donald Trump suggested that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer.
This is the same Donald Trump, President of America, who insists on defending the coal industry and who removed the US from the Paris Agreement.
I try to remain as impartial as possible, but that’s enough. The man is clearly, at best, a complete moron and, at worst, suffering from severe mental illness issues.
Trump is pro-fossil fuels because that’s his demographic. Old-school America that drives big pickup trucks even when you only take a trip down the road. These people still work in mines and feel forgotten about. Or at least they did until Trump came along and promised them a future. Trump is into protecting votes, not the environment.
Thankfully, it’s just America, right?
Politics of Electric Vehicles in Ireland
This might be a cheap shot, but I’m going to take it.
The Healy Raes
Michael and Danny Healy Rae are elected officials in Ireland so it’s not that low a blow. They are TDs which means their opinions, as much as I don’t want to admit it, well, they matter to a certain extent. The two brothers have come out speaking negatively about electric cars on several occasions.
Danny believes the range on electric cars warrants them totally useless while also incorrectly asserting that ‘one splash of water’ is enough to damage them.
Michael Healy Rae believes electric cars to be ‘a load of rubbish’ and that government money could be better spent.
Yup, I’m going to talk about scooters, yet again. Last year, TD Noel Rock brought electric scooters up in Dail Eireann. The reason being it was clear they were growing in popularity even though they operate in a grey area. Almost a year later and still, nothing has been done. The problem now is that there are almost 3000 of these on the road in Dublin alone.
Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs), like electric cars, can help us move towards a cleaner greener environment. Just like electric cars, they’re being hassled too. Gardai have started to seize PEVs for being uninsured MPVs despite many falling beyond the definition of MPVs.
Once again, the green option faces barriers to adoption.
Will These Barriers Stop Electric Cars?
Into the land of speculation we go, but I will claim this to be educated guesswork.
Ireland is making serious commitments towards green energy. By 2020 40% of all our energy will be renewable. By the time we’re heavily dependent on electric cars, that percentage will be much higher.
The Range of Electric Vehicles
In larger countries like the US, UK and Germany, I can kind of understand hesitation over range. Ireland is not that big people. Sure, you might need a charge on your trip, but in the event you do, chances are you should have been taking a break anyway. A Dutchman has just shown just how practical electric cars can be.
Wiebe Wakker and ‘The Blue Bandit’ drove from the Netherlands to Australia using only an electric car. Through his ‘Plug Me In’ website and Twitter account, he asked members of the public to give him a place to crash, eat or charge. He was on the road for 1,119 days with the aim of showing just how viable electric cars are as a proper replacement for fossil fuels like petrol and diesel.
Wakker drove a modified Volkswagen station wagon now named the Blue Bandit. Before the car was modified, it would have used a whopping 6,785 litres of petrol to complete the journey.
The Misinformation Around Electric Cars
This will only stop if we’re all aware of it. Trump’s comment on wind turbines is laughable, but that’s kind of the problem too. While sensible people laugh at the notion, old school America laps it up. While the Healy Raes, particularly Danny, are laughed at for their backwards way of thinking, I don’t doubt for a second people around the country listen to them, maintaining it’s politicians like them that remember the locality.
Protecting the environment for future generations required us all to think about people other than ourselves. It’s our children and their children that will benefit most from the introduction of electric cars. It’s without doubt the biggest change we’ll go through in our lifetimes, but the rewards for humanity and the ecosystems you can see in Netflix’s Our Planet right now that are greatest.