Publication Detail

Grounding the Electric Vehicle Debate

UCD-ITS-RP-96-04

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Suggested Citation:
Sperling, Daniel (1996) Grounding the Electric Vehicle Debate. TR News (183), 21 - 56

This article comments on the electric vehicle debate. The comments deal in particular with a study by three distinguished researchers from Carnegie Mellon University claiming that "a 1998 model electric car is estimated to release 60 times more lead per kilometer of use relative to a comparable car burning leaded gasoline" and therefore that electric vehicles "don't deliver the promised environmental benefits". This article points out that a true advanced-technology electric vehicle was missing from their analysis, that the issue is not how much lead is mined and emitted but the extent to which humans are exposed to it, and that most investments by automobile makers in battery research and development, although negligible, already are devoted to advanced batteries. This article concludes that the findings of the Carnegie Mellon University researchers are flawed and inappropriately narrow to support their broad policy prescriptions.