Is Solar the Future of Electric Vehicles?
With global carbon emissions at record high levels and fossil fuels predicted to run out within the next few decades, both governments and consumers are searching for a greener, cleaner solution.
Electric vehicles could be part of the answer. They’re usually more efficient, don’t involve the combustion of fossil fuels and produce zero emissions. For this reason, the UK government is pushing for widespread adoption of electric cars across the country.
“The UK has committed to Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050. ... In November 2020, the Committee for Climate Change (CCC) suggested that all new vehicles should be electrically propelled by 2030, if not sooner, to achieve the Net Zero target.”
However, regular electric vehicles aren’t always as eco-friendly as we’d like them to be and do have certain limitations. Could solar be the cheapest form of electricity for the future of transportation?
How eco-friendly are ‘traditional’ electric cars?
Electric cars are indeed much lower-impact than traditional cars as they are generally more energy-efficient and don’t directly emit pollutants into the atmosphere.
“In the UK in 2019, the lifetime emissions per kilometre of driving a Nissan Leaf EV were about three times lower than for the average conventional car, even before accounting for the falling carbon intensity of electricity generation during the car’s lifetime,” says climate science authority, CarbonBrief.
Having said that, these electric cars do still have a negative impact on the environment, however small it may be.
The biggest issue is that most electric vehicles have to be plugged into the main energy grid in order to be charged. Unless you’ve chosen a 100% green energy supplier, most if not all of this energy will have come from fossil fuels such as coal or gas. Even though you aren’t creating carbon emissions with your vehicle, you are still contributing to the global carbon footprint.
Additionally, the eco-friendliness of your electric car depends on other factors such as the size of your vehicle, its efficiency, your driving patterns and even the weather.
Are solar-powered electric cars a better solution?
To reduce the environmental impact of these cars and with more widespread access to renewables, manufacturers have recently turned their attention to developing solar-powered electric cars.
Although nothing new (the first solar-powered car was designed back in the 1950s), the improved technology available to us today means that the first electric cars powered directly by solar are poised to hit the market.
This includes sci-fi-like creations such as the Aptera two-seater that features solar panels directly on the roof of the car and the more affordable everyday Squad Mobility BV.
Both vehicles use energy more efficiently, don’t create any emissions and can also be used for longer journeys than ever before. Even if it’s a cloudy day, these vehicles can be plugged in for a full charge. They also allow owners to take full charge of their vehicle’s energy supply, especially if they already use renewables in their homes or businesses.
“At Aptera, we believe efficient transportation is at the heart of managing the Earth’s natural resources for the sake of future generations,” says electrically propelled Aptera, “Each Aptera owner can reduce their carbon footprint by over 14,000 pounds of CO2 per year.”
Another advantage, especially when it comes to the Squad Mobility BV is that it’s more affordable, helping average families make the switch towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank.
With electricity prices continuing to soar and bills expected to increase by a massive 33% over the next five years, solar-powered electric vehicles can also help save a significant amount of money.
Solar-powered electric cars aren’t the only answer
If you can’t yet afford to invest in a solar-powered electric car, you can still adopt renewables such as solar to charge your electric car or power your home.
This compromise will allow you to benefit from the vast improvements in technology and help the government reach their net-zero carbon emissions goal.
Conclusion: Are solar-powered electric cars the future?
Electric cars are always greener than traditional cars powered by fossil fuels.
But it’s up to us to continue this drive towards an eco-friendlier lifestyle that doesn’t force us to make sacrifices or compromises but still protects the future of our planet for generations to come. Are you ready to be part of the revolution?