If you buy a Tesla and think you’re helping save the environment the moment you roll off the lot, think again. According to a new analysis by Reuters and Argonne, an electric car needs to be driven for an average of 13,500 miles (21,725 km) before it is cleaner than one of its gas-guzzling counterparts. That’s because manufacturing EVs produces more carbon than ICE cars. How quickly an EV reaches its “break-even point” also depends on where it is being driven. In Norway, for instance, which generates almost all of its electricity from renewable hydropower, an electric car is net clean after just 8,400 miles (13,520 km). But in a coal-reliant country like China or Poland, you would have to drive 78,700 miles (126,655 km).
Another problem with electric cars, The Verge highlights, is that they are not especially friendly for people with disabilities. First, retrofitting EVs with wheelchair ramps is nearly impossible because the battery is located in the floor of these vehicles. Second, ADA experts say that charging hubs are a nightmare for accessibility, due in part to the heavy weight of the charging cables. The upshot is that EV designers still have a long way to go to put people with disabilities in the driver’s seat.
Mayors looking to recruit businesses to set up shop in their city post-pandemic would do better to modernize their transportation systems than hand out tax breaks, according to a new article in CityLab by a former economic developer. By investing in infrastructure to reduce commute times, cities can increase productivity and expand the workforce, fostering economic growth. As one analyst put it, “Bad transportation is a tax on business productivity.”
Streetsblog covers the surprising turn of events that transformed a sleepy county in suburban Idaho into one of the most progressive cycling havens in the entire United States. “[Last month] Idaho’s Ada County Highway District announced it would no longer build paint-on-the-ground cycling ‘infrastructure’ on arterial roads, prioritizing separated bike lanes or buffered multi-use paths instead. That commitment is unusual for any American transportation agency, but it’s a particularly rare for a large regional agency that oversees roads in six predominantly suburban communities where over 80 percent of commuters drive alone to work (the national average in roughly 76 percent).”
It turns out Millennials aren’t as opposed to car ownership as once thought. During the pandemic and recovery, transit-wary commuters have been buying up cars at a frantic pace, especially members of the supposedly auto-averse younger generation. According to Bloomberg, “An EY survey of 3,300 consumers in nine countries found that 32% of non-car owners said they intended to get a car in the next six months. About half of those prospective buyers were Millennials.” The question is, did the “share everything” generation abandon their famously pro-transit, eco-friendly principles as they got older, or did our car-centric transportation networks fail them?