Electric transportation

Electric transportation refers to trains, trams, cars, buses and bikes which run on electricity. Worldwide the use of electric vehicles has spiked in the first half of 2018, with sales surpassing a million vehicles so far this year.

Electric transportation already exists largely in form of trains and trams, but increasingly electric bicycles and electric cars will be on the roads.

Sales of electric vehicles made headlines in 2018 for finally reaching landmark sales, while experts predict that new registrations of diesel vehicles will be dead by 2025. In 2018 there were around 4 million battery and hybrid cars on the road. Most of these were in China and in the US (especially California). In Europe, Norway has the highest rates of electric vehicle ownership, where over half of all new vehicles sold are electric.

Countries around the world are looking into prohibiting sales of non-electric vehicles by around 2030, while German cities are banning diesel vehicles within city limits.

It is important to think about and improve possibilities for electric transportation, but this is not the only solution to improving transportation emissions. The most environmentally friendly modes of transport remain walking and biking – therefore, cities should be designed around people and not cars.

Electric vehicles in Germany

Germany has lagged behind other European countries in electrifying its transportation. However, its combination of extremely cheap energy in the middle of the day combined with smart metering is a huge opportunity to expand the use of electric vehicles.

These vehicles will need infrastructure, and some German states like sunny Baden-Württemberg are investing in it: the region plans on building 2,000 charging stations (or one every ten kilometers). Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport for Baden-Württemberg, has remarked that it was a mistake to design cities around cars and that “vehicles should be as clean as possible, and soon emission free.”

Impact of electric cars on the auto industry

A study commissioned by trade unions and the auto industry found that if Germany switches to electric cars, it could put put 75,000 jobs at risk. For reference, the coal phaseout in Germany affects about 30,000 workers. These figures should serve as a wakeup call for German car-makers: it’s time to get serious about electro-mobility!