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Electric cars make sense in Iowa

Electric cars 01Rob Smith is principal architect at CMBA | Smith Metzger.

Little-known fact about electric vehicles: Des Moines is where the first American electric car was built, by William Morrison in 1887. The range was 50 miles, and in the early 1900s there were more electric cars on the road than any other type. Thomas Edison also built one, in 1913.

Now every manufacturer is racing to see how quickly an electric vehicle (EV) can come to the market. 

And the “greenness” of the EV has been hotly debated. I am sure you have heard of many of the issues.

  • The EV has a similar carbon footprint from the manufacturing process to that of any other car. In fact, the EV uses many rare metals to keep the vehicle lightweight.
  • The manufacture of some types of batteries causes great damage to the environment because of strip mining. That may or may not be a big issue.
  • The emissions are greatly reduced compared to the gas engine. No debate here.

But the biggest factor in the “greenness” of the EV is where on the planet it is charged. 

Electric cars 02The source used to produce the electricity trumps all the other green factors of the electric vehicle. Therefore, Iowa, with an estimated 40% of electricity generated by wind power, is the perfect place to operate an EV.

In Colorado, where coal produces electricity, the footprint equals a car getting poor gas mileage. If the EV is charged where the electricity is produced mostly from wind, hydro or nuclear, the effect can be equal to operating a gas-powered car getting 100 miles per gallon.

Let me know if you are ready to go all electric. Email me at smith.r@cmbaarchitects.com

Comments

If I buy an EV will it have enough cargo capacity to haul your crap to the landfill that you think I'm recycling?

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