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Is Electric Car Really Environmentally Friendly?
Oct 24, 2018

Professor Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Energy Policy Research Institute of Xiamen University, has repeatedly said that the essence of the haze problem is energy. The rise of electric vehicles is undoubtedly a small epitome of connecting energy issues with environmental issues.

Ordinary fuel vehicles directly burn gasoline/diesel to provide power, and emit exhaust gas to pollute the environment. So what about electric cars? Electric vehicles rely on electric energy and do not emit exhaust gas, but where does electric energy come from? How to calculate the environmental pollution caused by power generation? As a secondary energy source, is electrical energy really cleaner than direct fuel? Tonghui Automobile, as a key manufacturer of sanitation vehicles, is also deeply concerned about this issue.

In response to this problem, a group of American scientists conducted a rigorous investigation and established an economic model. Their results show that, on average, the actual pollution caused by electric vehicles to the environment is higher than that of the corresponding model of diesel/gasoline vehicles, and the decisive factor for the difference between regions is the difference in power generation. In other words, clean primary energy is the fundamental direction to solve environmental problems. This research in the United States has also brought inspiration to China's energy development.

Geographical differences: hydropower vs coal-fired power, clean energy

In all parts of the United States, the environmental pollution caused by gasoline vehicles is not much different, only slightly higher in urban areas than in rural areas. This is because the urban population density is higher, so the “human health” loss caused by pollution in the model is higher.

Although the above research is conducted in the United States, the same reality must exist in China. Fossil energy accounts for about 75% of China's power grid, which is comparable to (or slightly lower than) the US power grid in the US, and is higher than the US East and West power grids. Compared with the Texas power grid, China's power grid is more dependent on coal and electricity than natural gas. Electricity. Therefore, the overall cleanliness of China's electric energy is lower than that of the United States, and the actual pollution caused by electric vehicles in China is bound to be higher than that of fuel vehicles.

However, we cannot deny the value of electric vehicles at this time: although they can not really reduce pollution, they can transfer pollution and reduce the environmental pressure of large cities to a certain extent. In addition, in the long run, electric vehicles are still the future development trend, and it can indeed reduce pollution under a better energy structure.

However, what about the cure? How to promote energy structure reform? Under the iron law of "carbon emission rights are the right to development", can China really make up its mind to sacrifice energy to reform energy and rebuild the environment?

On February 13th, the media reported that Wang Yiren, deputy director of the National Defense Science and Technology Industry Bureau and deputy director of the National Atomic Energy Agency, said in an exclusive interview that the location of the inland nuclear power plant was basically determined, and construction is expected to start during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. The site selection of inland nuclear power plants mentioned by Wang Yiren includes the Taohua River in Hunan, Xianning in Hubei, and Pengze in Jiangxi. According to press statistics, in addition to the above three inland nuclear power projects, there are more than 30 inland nuclear power plants that are carrying out preliminary work.

However, these nuclear power projects cannot cover the overall downturn of China's nuclear power industry after the Fukushima accident. Not only that, but the connection between clean power generation equipment such as nuclear power, wind power, and solar power generation and existing thermal power grids remains to be resolved. The final resolution of the energy structure reform and the final solution of environmental problems has not seen the dawn.