Nuclear uncertainty causes electric cars to face questionable future
The motor industry has a large part to play in the UK meeting their targets for a greener and cleaner economy with their introduction of petrol-electric hybrid and electric cars. However the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in Japan has raised questions over the future of the vehicles.
The disaster has raised thoughts of safety of nuclear power and it is now felt to be a riskier investment. If countries have scaled back investment in the nuclear industry, then it is thought this will stall the growth of green vehicles as well.
Electric cars run on batteries that need to be regularly charged. If these batteries are charged off of the electricity produced by nuclear power plants then they meet their objective of reducing carbon dioxide. But if nuclear power is not used then the batteries will need to be charged by burning fossil fuels and this is not only expensive but does not meet the whole objective of reducing emissions.
Vivek Vaidya of Frost & Sullivan has commented: "the nuclear crisis will slow down the rate at which the electrification of motoring in the country [Japan] is happening". Whilst Japan is recovered "the overall rates of growth will slow down, as infrastructure development gets delayed", he continued.
On the other hand other analysts have said that it will not change the government’s general policy on greener energy but will change their focus on how it is achieved. "In the short term there will probably be a swing towards other forms of fuel," says Rajiv Biswas of IHS Global Insight, "solar and wind energy will get a bigger and better push".