Electric vehicles could significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 2050


MANOA – A faculty member at the University of Hawai’i in Manoa predicts that the renewable energy targets for electric vehicles will be met, but an expert from Kaua’i EV disputes the target end date.

Adoption of electric vehicles and faster production of renewable energy by 2050 will result in 99% less fossil fuel consumption and 93% less CO2 emissions from passenger and freight vehicles about O’ahu, wrote Katherine McKenzie, of UH-Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Katherine McKenzie of Science and Technology.

McKenzie’s screenplay was published in the World Electric Vehicle Journal on June 18. McKenzie created mathematical models of four projection-based scenarios for the shift to electric passenger and freight vehicles and renewable energy production.

She quantified the impacts of fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions on O’ahu and found that scenarios with a slower transition to electric vehicles result in the consumption of billions of additional gallons of gasoline and the emission of tens of millions of tonnes of additional CO2.

In 2020, average passenger electric vehicles used the equivalent of 66 gallons of gasoline, seven times less fossil fuel than their gasoline-powered counterparts, which used 455 gallons. Average electric vehicles also cut their emissions in half, two metric tons of CO2 compared to four metric tons.

“Continuing to buy anything that is fueled by oil blocks emissions and energy insecurity for years to come, at a time when decarbonization is a climate imperative,” McKenzie said. “A shift is needed towards energy-efficient modes of travel, such as cycling, walking and public transport, as well as reducing the kilometers traveled by vehicles through ‘smart’ urban planning and remote working , for example. “

These scenarios are intended to serve as examples to help government, regulatory, public and business decision-makers and other stakeholders better understand future uncertainties, develop strategies, and inform policy-making.

McKenzie will present the results of this study at the online conference “Utility Planning for Electric Vehicles on the Grid”, “EVs on the Grid: Impacts, Challenges & System Stability Risks”, in collaboration with Hawaiian Electric Industries, on Tuesday July 13 .

Kaua’i Electric Vehicle President Sonja Kass agrees with UH’s findings to some extent. Shifting Hawaii’s transportation system to electricity, powered by renewable resources, will reduce transportation-related emissions to almost zero, she said.

“I’ve read many studies and articles that all say the same thing: we absolutely need to move away from burning fossil fuels,” Kass said.

“However, there are a few other things to consider. EV production must be powered by renewable energies, and manufacturers must recycle end-of-life batteries. Tesla is a prime example that both can be achieved economically. However, I do not agree with 2050 ”as the date to reach the EV target. “It’s way too late. The change must take place sooner. In the EU, 15% of new cars sold are electric. Some countries are at 70%.

Noel Morin, president of the Hawai’i Electric Vehicle Association, said McKenzie’s findings confirm the merits of electric vehicles in helping the state reduce emissions and Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuels and how their benefits in terms efficiency will contribute to the community’s wallet savings.

“We have a long way to go before we can fully decarbonize,” said Morin.

“I believe that progress towards electrification of transportation will continue to accelerate due to several converging factors – the increased affordability of long-range electric vehicles; automakers have announced plans to stop production of gasoline-powered vehicles and introduce electric trucks and vans; and the adoption of laws encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and the expansion of public charging infrastructure. “

Morin concluded: “Of course, the challenge is that we must aim to decarbonize our energy and our transport well before 2050. The consequences of global warming are with us today and are becoming more and more disastrous and deadly”, did he declare. “We must act urgently.


Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be contacted at 245-0424 or [email protected]

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