Picture of coal power plant.A report released by the UK organization Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has put some EV advocates on the defensive.

editor's blog logoThe report claims that putting millions of EVs online could actually accelarate global warming rather than slow it. The latter is the  mantra of EV advocates, and one they clearly would prefer consumers buy into and believe.

(See BusinessGreen.Com story for a both sides type story on the ETA report).

The report from the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) warns that the reliance on grid electricity to power electric vehicles means that electric cars have emissions of 106 grams of CO2 per kilometre – significantly less than average petrol car emissions of 172g/km, but more than low-emission vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, which has official emissions of 89g/km.

As an EV advocate, I certainly don’t want enthusiasm for EVs killed before they even get a chance to take off.

On the other hand, I think EV advocates — at least some of them — just don’t quite get it.

Those who want to see EVs succeed need to completely and totally marry them to renewable energy forms like solar and wind

To use a newspaper analogy, the renewable energy-EV link needs to be front-and-center, on page one, the lead of the story, and it needs to be cast in this way again, and again and again.

In order for this to happen, EV advocates need to talk up renewable energy and the renewable energy-EV link over and over and over again. I know it’s being done to a certain extent. But clearly it’s not being done enough.

EV advocates — and I know many of them are already out there doing this — all of them, also need to get out there and do everything they can to promote renewable energy forms like solar and wind.

EV advocates need to do more than just talk the talk, they need to walk the walk. They need to put solar on their home, windmills in their backyards; they need to buy green energy from utilities and they themselves — all of them — need to invest politically and financially in renewable energy and renewable energy companies.

And they need to do more than just talk the talk, they need to walk the walk. They need to put solar on their home, windmills in their backyards; they need to buy green energy from utilities and they themselves — all of them — need to invest politically and financially in renewable energy and renewable energy companies.

In short, EV advocates need to work very, very hard to reframe the way EVs — and their fueling source — get framed in the media and in public consciousness.

Many people — maybe even most  — still see coal-power plant smokestacks when they think EV. And why not, coal dominates in the production of electricity in the majority of modern industrial societies.

But coal doesn’t have to dominate. And, if we EV advocates — all of us — work together to promote renewable energy and we — all of us — actually live renewable energy by buying it and doing it ourselves, reports like the ETA report won’t matter.

That’s because an electric grid that’s powered 50-percent or more by renewables as opposed to 50-percent, or more by coal, along with a fleet of EVs plugging into that grid — well, that’s a completely different, and much greener, story that what the ETA is reporting, based on the current state of power-production in industrial societies.

If we EV advocates — all of us — work together to promote renewable energy and we — all of us — actually live renewable energy by buying it and doing it ourselves, reports like the ETA report won’t matter.

It’s time for EV advocates — all of them — to stop devoting so much energy to arguing about the carbon output of EVs on a coal-powered grid as compared to a gas-powered auto fleet, and time for us to devote far more energy and effort into ensuring that the coal-powered grid becomes a thing of the past, both on the ground and in the minds of prospective EV buyers.

And again, this means doing more than talking the green and renewable energy talk, it means walking that walk, not next month, next week, or tomorrow — but yesterday!

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