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Gen Z's perspective on electric cars: The green future of our planet?

Gen Z's perspective on electric cars: The green future of our planet?

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
08.02.2024 18:30

Electric cars are set to become the new reality on European roads. What do young Europeans think about this?

The European Union is introducing regulations encouraging member states to prioritise climate policy. One of the guidelines is to phase out fossil fuels globally and replace traditional combustion vehicles with electric cars.

However, electric cars remain controversial, with some questioning their environmental impact. Critics point out concerns about the "dirty" production of electric vehicles, potential flammability issues, and the availability of raw materials needed to charge their batteries.

Electric vs combustion: which cars are greener?

The European Union has announced that from 2035, it will be illegal to register new combustion engine cars, with some exceptions. Vehicles that run on synthetic fuels will be exempt from the new regulation. This means that electric cars will soon become the preferred mode of transport. But what does this mean for the environment?

Currently, producing an electric car emits up to 25% more greenhouse gases than a popular diesel car. However, electric vehicles are much more environmentally friendly when it comes to long-term use. According to data from Argon National Laboratory, an electric car with a mileage of 275,000 km produces half as much pollution as a diesel car with the same mileage.

The widespread adoption of electric cars can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60%. However, it is important to note that the effects of this switch to electric vehicles will vary from country to country. In countries like Poland, where the energy sector relies heavily on coal, the environmental benefits of electric cars will be less significant than in countries like Austria (which generates 76.2% of its energy from renewable sources) or Romania (which produces over 40% of its energy from renewable sources).

Are electric cars the key to a greener future?

The idea of going green is commendable, but it also raises some concerns. The shift towards electric cars, which have limited range and rely on charging points, can be inconvenient and elicit mixed feelings among Europeans.

Audrius from Lithuania says he wouldn’t invest in an electric car because its use requires a lot of time and planning. "You always have to meticulously plan your trip, ensuring the car is properly charged and ready to go," he explains.

Eglė, on the other hand, sees the situation differently. She thinks that, eventually, most people will need to switch to electric cars. However, she is not yet ready to make the change. "Although I'm aware of climate change issues and the importance of green solutions, I find buying an electric car unrealistic as a young person. The cost alone is extremely daunting," says the Lithuanian. Instead, she is exploring alternative low-carbon travel methods.

Electric cars in Europe

"I often prefer to use public transport instead of my own car, as it gives me a sense of contributing towards sustainability and ecology. However, there are times when I have to use my car as it is the only viable option to reach a certain destination," emphasises Eglė.

Julian from Poland states that he has not yet been affected by the changes in the EU regulations. "I don't have a driving license and live in a big city, so I rely solely on public transport. I can travel by train for holidays or to visit my hometown. The idea of cars with limited range does not worry me because people will eventually get used to it," he says.

Despite some resistance, electric cars are gradually taking over the market.

Regitra, a state-owned company, has reported that as of 1 January 2024, there were over 19,000 M1 and N1 class electric vehicles registered in Lithuania. Out of these, more than 11,000 are fully electric.

In Poland, a total of 67,097 electric cars for both passenger and commercial use have been registered as of the end of January 2023. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, Germany has the highest number of electric cars on the road, with 1.09 million, followed by the UK with 642,000 and France with 606,000.

Source: businessinsider.com.pl, tvn24.pl, pspa.com.pl

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