The benefits of transitioning to electric vehicles for the United States

In the presidential primary race, environmental policies are the order of the day because carbon pollution is a major global threat. Nonetheless, it is worth wondering if the proposals of the candidates are based on environmental, economic and electoral realities.

To achieve their targets, all three dimensions must be combined for all climate plans–particularly when electric vehicles are the subject. There is no point in implementing an EV project which is so draconian that even under the most auspicious economic conditions it can not be enforced.

In a recent paper on an internal combustion engine to EVs, some challenges have been examined. I think that these Democratic candidates would like, for environmental, economic and political purposes, to take a much more tactful approach.

Just 57 percent of global car sales were electric by 2040 as per BloombergNEF’s most optimistic expert forecasts. The automotive sector and its associated infrastructure are so large that they can not be transformed any faster.

Electricity generating fuels, but also emissions generated during production, depend upon its climate advantage in comparison with a car with an internal combustion engine during its life cycle. The EV has an overall climate advantage.

A German study concluded that 100 000 jobs in the driving train sector (or about 12 percent of all German car jobs), while just 25000 would be produced, would be lost in the more likely scenario in which EV’s and plug-in-hybrids account for 40 percent of production in 2030.

Therefore, the necessary skills in the car industry and powertrains are changing. Most workers displaced by a rapid change lack EV manufacturing’s electronic and digital capacities.

Given the huge challenge and the threat of failure, if the policy goes far beyond public opinion, it should be our goal to hit net-null in the transport sector by 2050–together with all the other sectors. The best transition for workers, the climate and even the candidates themselves is to move in an EV at a measured pace.