The fight between battery vehicles (plug-in electric vehicles or EVs) and vehicles with internal combustion engine is going to get savage in the coming decade. While countries like Germany and UK are planning to ban internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 and 2040, US and China are looking for increasing the sales of gasoline (petrol) and diesel powered vehicles, by making them more efficient. Mazda Motor Corporation and Nissan are developing new technology that will make internal combustion engine vehicles more efficient and systematic. The new technology will increase the fuel economy and will sharply lower emission.
This news might upset battery vehicle admirers out there, who think gasoline (or diesel) vehicles should not be on the roads in future. We all want to see battery vehicles on the road, but is it sensible to ban internal combustion engine vehicles completely?
The zero-emission battery vehicles are more environmental friendly compared to contemporary vehicles on the road, but this is not true everywhere. It can cause identical amount of pollution if the local grid depends on thermal power plants for electric generation.
Ban on Internal Combustion Engine is not Possible Everywhere!
Thermal power plants (coal) help meet almost half of the world’s power demand. Thermal Power Plants affect environment very badly. The presence of large amount of electric vehicles on the road will make thermal power plants to produce more electricity and that will result into more air pollution. That means not every country or place will benefit from battery vehicles equally (from environmental reasons). Even countries like the US where about 65% of the electricity comes from thermal plants. In India 59% electricity is generated by thermal plants. If the US and India ban on internal combustion engine vehicles completely, that would not help the environment in any manner. On the other hand, Germany mainly depends on nuclear power, biomass, wind, hydro and solar for electric generation. That makes Germany more suitable for battery vehicles. Even in the US where thermal power is the biggest source of electric generation, the state California depends on renewable energy sources, including geothermal power, wind power, and solar power. That makes California one of the best place to run an electric vehicle. So, it depends on the local grid how it generates electricity.
Battery Vehicles Are Not Perfect
There are some issues to resolve when it comes to EV batteries.
- Inconvenience of charging time
- Having an EV battery that lasts for at least 10 years without losing its efficiency (battery degradation) is still a challenge.
- Limited amount of energy we can store in a battery.
- It takes at least one hour to charge a EV battery even with a fast charger. That is a bit too much, in case you are away from home and in a hurry.
May be it is a bit inaccurate to say that battery vehicles is a replacement of gasoline (or diesel) vehicles. Battery vehicles will evolve in the coming decade for sure, but it is not likely to replace gas vehicles. Battery vehicle’s’ performance is greatly depends on its battery. Unfortunately, battery technology is one of the most slowly developing technology to date. Unless there happens a big breakthrough in the battery technology in the next 5 years, it does not look like gasoline vehicles will be banned from the road by 2030.