Time is running out for the internal combustion engine (ICE), with more than 100 countries and other entities at the COP26 climate summit pledging to phase it out by 2035.
Yet South Africa risks missing this wave of the future without concentrated private investment in clean and renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV), to fuel its transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
Before we delve into how EVs will cut carbon emissions and help owners of personal vehicles and fleets lower running costs, let’s take a look at the latest local news on EVs. To date, the adoption and availability of electric vehicles has lagged behind international trends, with only a handful of models on the market. But electric vehicles are finally breaking into the mainstream with around 20 electric vehicles expected to be available in South Africa by 2023.
At the same time, we are seeing a growing interest in electric vehicles among personal drivers and fleet operators. The 2020 South Africa EV Car Buyer Survey conducted by AutoTrader showed that 74.3% of respondents would consider buying an electric vehicle in the next five years or sooner. As prices drop and a wider range of models becomes available, we can expect a receptive market for electric vehicles.
bThe automotive industry is responsible for a quarter of emissions
The benefits of an accelerated transition to electric vehicles are substantial for drivers, businesses, societies and the environment. According to the UN, the auto industry is responsible for around a quarter of global human emissions of greenhouse gases. Reducing vehicle emissions is therefore essential for governments, cities and businesses to meet their broader emission reduction targets.
Yet switching to electric vehicles alone will not be enough to reduce well-to-wheel emissions from the auto industry. A vehicle’s “well-to-wheel emissions” are a measure of the total carbon and greenhouse gas emissions produced during the vehicle’s life cycle, from the supply of manufacturing materials to its consumption of fuel. energy during his active years.
Reduced well-to-wheel emissions mean a lower carbon footprint and a higher level of sustainability.
Solar PV Reduces Nine Times Well-to-Wheel Emissions
A technical report from NREL – a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy – shows that an electric vehicle powered from a 93% coal-fired grid has roughly the same well-to-wheel emissions as an equivalent ICE vehicle. By comparison, an electric vehicle powered from a grid that is 97% renewable has about nine times less well-to-wheel emissions than a vehicle with an equivalent combustion engine.
Given that the South African grid is roughly 84% coal-fired, and we face large power generation deficits and continuous load shedding, it is clear that we need to look for alternatives to electric vehicles if they are. they want to become mainstream.
In a country as sunny as South Africa, solar PV is one of the best options. It’s affordable, easy to install in almost any home or office, and starts to pay off right away.
Installing photovoltaic solar panels on your building to charge your EV will dramatically amplify your EV’s sustainable advantage over conventional internal combustion engine cars by reducing total well-to-wheel emissions. As well as helping you reduce carbon emissions, it also saves you from relying on the grid to power your EV and dramatically lowers your EV’s running costs.