Architecture Magazine

Electromobility in Megacities

By Asianurbanist @AsianUrbanist

The automobile industry is ramping up innovation towards cleaner and sustainable transportation methods. A promising solution is the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs). It is not a new technology, the idea was killed by cheap fuel at the point of it’s development in the mid-19th century.

With ‘Peak Oil ‘, climate change and improved technology, there has been a renewed interest in electric transportation. Moreover, According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, “360 Degree Perspective of the Global Electric Vehicle Market – 2010 Edition”, the demand for EVs will be affected by the emergence of megacities in developing nations by 2020.  Indeed, future high-density compact megacities,  will require shorter travel distance which will be favorable to deploy personal EVs.

Many believe that the economic crash of 2008 was the sign that the world has reached the dreaded ‘Peak Oil’; that our demand for oil has begun to outstrip the financial means or technologies to access oil reserves. In other words, we are very close to using up our readily available oil resources. Accessing deeper reserves would be too costly or technologically non-viable. This will contribute to a constant rise in the price of oil and associated products over the years to come. In addition, our emissions of CO2 has had negative effects on our local and global environment and climate. To remediate to this situation, the world needs a radical change in it’s use of crude oil. This have pushed for major innovations towards more sustainable technologies for transportation. EVs potential lies in the ability to efficiently use renewable energy sources to power our daily trips. Electric motors on average can convert 75% of chemical energy in batteries to power the wheels while current engines can only convert 20% of the energy stored in gasoline. Provided the electricity comes from renewable sources, there is no emission of pollutants from EVs.

Ongoing research seeks to develop high capacity, efficient and smaller batteries with reduced charging time, embedded systems and better infrastructure to accommodate EVs. These technologies once developed will be applied to mass transit transportation such as buses, trains or even the aerospace field.

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