After years of driving, I see no reason why cars should not be powered by electricity. After all, there is a battery and cable system available in cars. One may describe it as a mini thermal power plant on wheels. Having the gas, a combustion chamber, a turbine (rotor) and the generated electricity. Thinking about this setup, one will replace the gas, modify the combustion chamber and utilize the generated electricity.
Is that all that is needed to power our Next Generation Vehicles (NGV)?
Power an automobile industry gradually moving to the phase of the “Jetsons”.
A few times people have debated on the sustainability of Electric Vehicles (EV) and how the cost can be reduced significantly. Cost is always a factor and always a devil to innovation. Bill Gates and his selected few have come together to put together some funds to support innovations in clean tech, and emobility is a massive sector for consideration going forward.
The world seeks to move to clean mobility with the ultimate aim of improving air quality, reduce fossil fuel dependency and gradually reduce the huge emissions of carbon. Moving to Net Zero is the bigger umbrella.
EV will have massive acceptance with the support and efforts to government making investments towards achieving their individual climate change goals and analyzing their route towards achieving them. Aside the 2020 corona virus pandemic, there were 10 million electric cars on roads globally. This saw an increase in EV registration by 41% in the same 2020.
I sit and look at these numbers and feel there is still a lot to do to push this innovation. Aside the availability of the vehicles itself, many have complained about cost, quality of battery and availability of charging points.
Will Government come in to provide policies to support the sector?
Yes, Government will have to come in because;
- There needs to be a regulatory framework and roadmap for guidance
- Incentives to investors
- Support in infrastructure (manufacturing and charging)
- Action by cities
- Driver’s licensing
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), EV has had steady growth across all transport modes over the last decade.
From the above, is it clear the major emitters of carbon are taking responsibility in moving towards a Net Zero economy or it is another step in the wrong director where their processes of manufacturing these vehicles have emitted massively?
Many will say industrialization is a key cause to carbon emission not forgetting cement production, aviation, animal husbandry and urbanization. Others will strongly debate that climate change is a natural occurrence.
Who is right and who is wrong?
Will we have to wait to see or will we have to fight Climate Change based on science?
Countries have started making efforts to draw national policy on e-mobility with the aim of increasing urban resiliency and create new green business opportunities to its citizens and foreign investors. Accra, the capital city of Ghana has 4% population growth rate and one of the fastest urbanization cities in the Sub-Saharan Africa, hosts more than 50% of total registered vehicles nationwide. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1,134,599 of registered cars are based in Accra. Moreover, all these cars are gas fueled.
Can we calculated the amount of tons of carbon these cars have emitted over the years?
One thing we know is 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere each year. That is a lot of gas. I sit here and think. What if these gases are turned into electricity.
Will we still be paying for electricity or we will be paid for using it?
Globally, power generation is becoming a problem looking at the pressure gradually being mounted on nations to go carbon free. Coal, HF, Gas, LNG powered plants may have to be replaced or decommissioned. That is a problem looking at the over dependence on this old technology to produce electricity.
Many will ask, the EV coming on board, how different are they from the traditional gas vehicles?
Sarcastically, very different. It will create a market where Europe can overtake China. According to IEA, electric cars had a record year in 2020, with Europe overtaking China as the biggest market.
In all these discussions and push for EV, let us not forget about where the electricity to power these vehicles will have to come from.
Writer: Donald Marshall
Company: Mframadan Energy Management & Research Institute (M.E.M.R.I).