Transport is a major contributor to green house gases. Some scientists consider it is even more significant than coal fired power stations. This is because coal fired power stations also emit particles into the atmosphere which reflect incoming heat from the sun. Transport fossil fuels emit far less particles.
An independent Swedish research institute has confirmed that peak oil occurred about 2007. The drop in oil supplies is immanent and is expected to occur at the rate of about 5% per annum. The enormous dependence of transportation, industry, and agriculture on oil derived liquid fuels places an additional sense of urgency for transition of the transport sector. When the old industrial economy starts to collapse and people lose their jobs it will be much more difficult for everyone to make this transition. So the time to prepare is NOW.
There are three main options for carbon neutral transport:
1. Biofuels will only be sustainable if they can be created without using significant agricultural resources.
2. Hydrogen will only be sustainable if energy-efficient means of splitting water become commercially viable.
3. Electric vehicles are viable now and range limitations are being removed by improved battery technologies, fast charging stations, and battery swapping stations.
Of course, it is always assumed that the electric vehicles are charged from renewable energy sources such as “Green Power” from the grid. Future “smart grid” technologies will utilise the grid connected vehicle batteries to smooth the load on the grid.
Both public and private transport, including industrial and agricultural vehicles, must be quickly transitioned to mainly electric power.
Electric trains are the obvious most efficient means to transport freight and people over medium to long distances. Australia should start building a fast trains network. However it is conceivable that air transport could be made sustainable if liquid biofuels can be used.
Private electric vehicles can be cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. The initial cost of the vehicle can be substantially reduced by amortizing the battery cost over the life of the battery. Then the initial cost and running costs can both be less than a conventionally fueled vehicle.
Electric cars will come into the market over the next few years, but their introduction needs to be a lot faster to help avoid dangerous climate change. Electric motor scooters and electric bicycles can be affordably introduced much faster.
Electric two or three wheel vehicles can be fast, very economical and, with high visibility and defensive driving methods, safe. Electric bicycles can also be used on bicycle paths and do not require a licence, registration, or third party insurance.
I am making available electric scooters and electric bicycles at very affordable prices that enable people to save money on local transportation costs (www.beyond-oil.com). Petrol cars can then be kept for longer distance, bad weather, or load carrying journeys. Electric scooters capable of freeway speeds are now available.
You are welcome to come and have a test ride on an electric bike or scooter: phone Sapoty 0407 213 267 or 02 6684 2927.