Battery electric vehicles are like Concorde
Battery electric vehicles are like Concorde Yahoo News
Comparing Concorde and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
In this report, we will compare the life story of Concorde – the world’s first commercial supersonic airliner – with the story of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and explore the possible future of BEVs. We will examine the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) throughout the article.
Concorde: A Technological Marvel
In the 1960s and 1970s, the French and British Governments heavily invested in the development of Concorde to provide supersonic flight for the general public. However, the American developers canceled their own supersonic airliner due to a lack of commercial viability. Concorde faced environmental challenges, such as loud take-off noise and disruptive sonic booms during supersonic flight. These issues forced Concorde to slow down over land or stick to ocean routes, impacting its economic feasibility.
BEVs: A Similar Path?
Over the past decade, billions of dollars have been invested in BEVs by car manufacturers worldwide, often with government subsidies. However, similar to Concorde’s early years, most early BEV sales were to wealthy individuals who could afford a BEV as a second vehicle. Company car fleets have also played a significant role in BEV sales. There is now a push to end the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, but recent data suggests that BEV sales have stalled in many parts of the world.
Barriers to BEV Adoption
The high cost of BEVs, approximately £10,000 more than ICE vehicles, remains a significant barrier for the general public. Range anxiety and the lack of convenient recharging infrastructure further hinder widespread adoption. Insurance costs are also high due to concerns about battery damage leading to fires. Additionally, limited supplies and rising demand for BEV batteries controlled by China may result in increased prices. The expansion of the EV market will require a substantial increase in human resources, including professional engineers and repair staff.
Engineering Challenges and Public Resistance
While technology advancements may improve BEVs, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries remains significantly lower than petrol. Experts predict only a modest improvement over the next 50 years. Furthermore, there is evidence that many car manufacturers are reconsidering their involvement in the BEV sector. Compulsion from governments may not guarantee public acceptance, as seen in Cuba’s resistance to adopting new ICE vehicles after supplies were cut off. The engineering challenges of generating and charging infrastructure may also prove insurmountable.
The Future of BEVs
If the demand for electric cars surpasses the available electricity supply, public dissatisfaction and protests are likely to occur. It is crucial to address these challenges to ensure a sustainable transition to BEVs. The Concorde story serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of considering economic viability, environmental impact, and public acceptance when developing new technologies.
Michael Kelly is Emeritus Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, of the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the Royal Society of New Zealand, of the Institute of Physics and of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, as well as Senior Member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the USA
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SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- SDG 13: Climate Action
- SDG 15: Life on Land
The article discusses the challenges and potential drawbacks of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in terms of their environmental impact, cost, infrastructure requirements, and resource limitations. These issues are closely related to the above-mentioned SDGs.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- SDG 7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
- SDG 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.
- SDG 11.6: Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
- SDG 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
- SDG 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
- SDG 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
These targets are relevant to the issues discussed in the article, such as the need for renewable energy sources, sustainable infrastructure, waste management, efficient resource use, climate change mitigation, and protection of natural habitats.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Percentage of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- Investment in sustainable infrastructure and clean technologies
- Air quality index in cities
- Waste management practices and recycling rates
- Integration of climate change measures in national policies
- Reduction in habitat degradation and biodiversity loss
While the article does not explicitly mention these indicators, they can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets based on the issues discussed.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy||7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.||Percentage of renewable energy in the global energy mix.|
|SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure||9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.||Investment in sustainable infrastructure and clean technologies.|
|SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities||11.6: Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.||Air quality index in cities, waste management practices and recycling rates.|
|SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production||12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.||Efficient use of natural resources, waste management practices and recycling rates.|
|SDG 13: Climate Action||13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.||Integration of climate change measures in national policies.|
|SDG 15: Life on Land||15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.||Reduction in habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.|
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