The EV episode was a wild ride
The title itself makes no sense, and they even admit as much during the podcast, if not in so many words. Is the future of cars electric? Yes. Is the future of transportation electric cars? No way, and they even say it at the end. A few points: The guest seems to think that air quality effects from ICE vehicles only comes from tailpipe emissions, when in fact, a very large contributor to air pollution is tire wear. This is an even worse problem with EVs because they are so much heavier than ICE cars. They also suggest that the increase in EV sales is down to customer demand, but then go on to state that policy is really moving the needle and more needs to be done. After blathering on about the ins and outs of the expanding EV market, the guest mentions at the very end that an all-of-the-above approach for future transport is what is really needed, to include the umbrella of active transport (walking, biking, etc.) and public transit. OK, that makes sense. So why does most of the transportation part of the IRA go towards electrifying passenger cars and the needed infrastructure to make that possible? They state explicitly that we are absolutely not on track for our carbon goals, yet decided to make a celebratory report of the rapidly expanding EV market. EVs will do one thing well: they will help rescue the car industry. They will NOT single-handedly help us meet climate goals. They will cause the same traffic as ICE cars, will likely cause worse wear on roads and infrastructure (which by itself is massively expensive and hugely carbon intensive), and will likely play a role in the actual safety crisis of traffic fatalities and injuries that is happening today (since they are heavier, they are generally deadlier). Also, the data cited from the Netherlands is pulled so far out of context as to be laughable. It makes sense such a large percentage of kms are traveled in car because that’s what cars are generally good for: going long distances. Most NL cities are designed in such a way that longer commutes are not necessary, so people travel less far to begin with, about 20% lower than the US, on average. And the modal share of ‘active’ transport over these shorter trips is astronomically higher than countries like the US. All that because of policy and planning. It’s not a “tricky” question like the guest suggests.
Reid, NYC via Apple Podcasts · United States of America · 10/06/23
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