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Electric Cars for Cooling City Temperatures

Electric Cars Cooling the Cities

No matter what opponents say about EVs, the latest research indicates that electric vehicles are clean and they will get even cleaner as their technology advances.

But apart from its obvious benefits, there are other unseen and not so obvious benefits that the world should understand, especially those living in urban areas.

Many are already aware of the benefits of the vehicle to grid applications where electric vehicles can be used to supply electricity to the utility companies to augment its energy storage capacity. This will help smoothen out peak demand and facilitate a more massive integration of irregular renewables.

But there’s a study published in the journal Nature which suggests another great benefit: urban heat island effect can be significantly reduced by the massive use of battery powered electric cars.

This effect is a phenomenon wherein a city can be a full 10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than its surrounding rural areas. It is caused by a lot of factors that include the prevalence of hard, dark and heat-absorbing surfaces. A lack of sufficient vegetation also contributes to this urban heat island effect.

Standard gasoline and diesel-powered cars, as well as air conditioning units also contribute to this effect. Although air conditioning systems eliminate heat inside enclosed structures, the heat taken out is trapped in the urban environment, thus exacerbating the heating effect.

This is where the massive deployment of electric cars will benefit urban areas.

An electric car does not produce heat while running since the battery is powering its electric motor. Therefore, with more electric cars on city streets, the cooler the temperature will be.

When running, an internal combustion engine produces much heat that is why a radiator is needed to cool the engine. Nevertheless, the heat produced by conventional cars is one of the culprits in the increase of temperatures in urban areas.

There is also an indirect effect of using electric cars. Less heat means less use of air conditioners. With more cars and more people not using air conditioners most of the time, a cooler temperature will result.

Obviously, less electricity is used when air conditioners are often off than running. Therefore, less energy is required which means reduced global warming.

And with less global warming, there will be less heat in urban areas. It is actually a beneficial cycle, in contrast with the vicious cycle of global warming.

In terms of actual figures, the abstract made by Professor Canbing Li of Hunan University in China will effectively tell the story:

  • Electric vehicles produce only 19.8% of the total heat emitted by conventional vehicles per mile.
  • If there was a shift from conventional vehicles to electric cars in 2012, the summer heat island intensity (HII) could have been reduced by approximately 0.94°C.
  • It could have reduced the amount of electricity consumed daily by air conditioners in buildings by 14.44 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)
  • It could have reduced daily CO2 emissions by 10,686 tonnes.

In short, there are a lot of unseen benefits of using EVs over CVs other than reducing the heat island effect.



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