Close

FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

Shared automated electric cars will ease congestion

Most European countries have embraced the practice for its benefits.

In Summary

• They are arguably convenient, cheaper and easy to use within designated areas.

• They allow one the convenience of leaving the car at any given point they opt not to proceed with the journey.

Open-air parking lots in the central business district.
Open-air parking lots in the central business district.
Image: FILE

The 21st century has brought massive developments that address climate change and transport challenges but have detrimental implications.

The world is struggling to define, develop and implement viable mitigation and adaptation interventions to climate change effects.

The transport sector is one of the major contributors of a significant percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting in increased atmospheric temperatures, hence, global warming. Carbon dioxide is generated from the combustion of fossil fuels.

The invention and utilisation of electric cars for commercial and personal use came at a time when the world realised the need to address noise and air pollution, as well as adopt renewable energy over non-renewable sources.

It is even getting better. Shared automated electric cars are in operation in most developed cities. Most European countries have embraced the practice for its benefits.

Shared automated cars are arguably convenient, cheaper and easy to use within designated areas. With an application on one’s smartphone and a registered account, you can locate the cars; if the distance and place parked is convenient then you can reserve it.

No need for a car key or a driver. You only need your up-to-date driving licence. The application will open and activate the car and allow you to drive to wherever you want within the designated radius. You are charged per minute of usage, which is relatively cheap.

The fact that these cars are silent reduces noise pollution common with fuel-powered cars; are electric hence use renewable energy, reducing the amount of fossil fuels burnt and ultimately reducing the amount of carbon particles escaping into the atmosphere.

The good thing about these shared automated electric cars is they allow one the convenience of leaving the car at any given point they opt not to proceed with the journey. You are only charged for the time you spent. This is better compared to ordinary taxis where clients are charged a predetermined amount, even if they abort the trip along the way.

The fact that these cars are silent reduces noise pollution common with fuel-powered cars; are electric hence use renewable energy, reducing the amount of fossil fuels burnt and ultimately reducing the amount of carbon particles escaping into the atmosphere. Renewable energy is clean; no exhaust fumes being generated therefore air pollution does not occur.

In Rome, Italy, where there are so many cars and traffic is a mess with limited parking space, the introduction of shared automated electric vehicles seems to have picked up well. The cars are thought to be a solution to existing environmental and transportation challenges.

The compact nature of the cars requires a smaller parking space. Speaking from experience, this model of transportation is convenient, inexpensive, environment-friendly and futuristic.

Car sharing allows people in cities to have private mobility when necessary without owning a car. It’s clearly efficient.
Michele Governatori –energy economics expert and a journalist on environment and energy in Italy

Michele Governatori, an energy economics expert and a journalist on environment and energy in Italy, said, “Much space in towns is inefficiently used by parked cars and so limiting space for pedestrians and other activities.

"A huge amount of capital is also absorbed by cars which are individually owned and left parked most of the time. Car sharing allows people in cities to have private mobility when necessary without owning a car. It’s clearly efficient.”

Just like Rome, Nairobi is one city that needs a feasible solution to ease vehicle congestion. Despite the reduction of the age of vehicles to be imported into the country and increased duty fee on new cars, the number of cars keeps going up each year. With our poor-conditioned and smaller roads, traffic gets worse.

Nairobi needs shared automated electric cars for all the good reasons. I must acknowledge the presence of electric vehicles, including the recently introduced shared electric vehicles however fewer they are. Nonetheless, the future of Nairobi and other big cities around the world is in electric cars, better still shared electric cars.

Environmentalist. [email protected]