On Urban Electric Mobility

April 2, 2010 | 14:44
On Urban Electric Mobility
On Urban Electric Mobility
I spotted a trend in the eco (blogo)sphere: the Urban Electric Vehicle, or NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle). These urban two-seaters are small cars used in busy city centers for short trips. The concept designs are stunning to say the least and the expected specs sound promising. Major companies like Audi, Nissan and GM are working on, and are producing concepts as we speak. These vehicles are designed to make urban and neighborhood commuting more efficient and provide an eco-friendly alternative for short car rides. In a utopian futurist vision these cars will become the main way to transport ourselves in cities around the world. Fast, clean and cheap.

But are they really the best ecological alternative to the ways we travel now? There is only one argument brought forward by the car industry. The NEV's are powered by batteries so we could say goodbye to fossil fuels. As a result the CO2 emission would drastically decrease. But let’s not forget that this argument is brought forward by an industry. A well oiled machine designed to do one thing; sell stuff. It seems like ‘eco’ is just becoming a marketing strategy for General Motors and the like. The utopian vision of the NEV is created by people who are dependant on the NEV to sell.

I agree, we need an alternative for short car rides. And I agree with the industries argument; the CO2 emission does decrease. 90% of all car traffic is for trips under 10 kilometers, and that's ridiculous. But what happened to bicycles? What happened to walking? What happened to public transport? Before we, bloggers and readers, blindly copy these eco-marketing arguments, we should take a few minutes to think things over. Is this truly a ‘green alternative’, or is this just another one of those products marketed as green?

We cannot expect car companies to start promoting walking, or using bicycles. But we can use common sense.
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