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New Hope for Climate Change: Electric Cars Could Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Aug 18, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

There's a new hope for climate change in the form of electric vehicles. According to a recent comprehensive study, electric cars could greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite their limited driving range.

According to the study published in the journal Nature, it is feasible to replace conventional vehicles with electric ones, and this can play significant role in meeting climate change mitigation goals.

Science Daily says that it took four years for the project to complete. To conduct the study, the team built a way of integrating two huge datasets: one highly detailed set of second-by-second driving behavior based on GPS data, and another broader, more comprehensive set of national data based on travel surveys. Collectively, these two datasets include millions of trips made by drivers all around the U.S.

The results revealed that about 90 percent of the cars on the road could be replaced by low-cost electric vehicles, even if these kind of cars must be charged overnight.

This means that it will meet the near-term U.S. climate targets for personal vehicle travel, and that overall emissions from transportation will be slashed down by 30 percent, Electronics360 reports.

However, despite the good news, there are still critics that say that though electric cars can be charged overnight, most electric vehicles today are expensive such as Tesla models. Meanwhile, lower-cost vehicles can only drive within a limited distance in a single charge compared with a car with a full tank of gas.

Also, regarding charging electric vehicles overnight, there is still lack of available charging infrastructure. And it will take more time to recharge than to just simply fill up the tank.

The study was conducted by Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor in Energy Studies at MIT's Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), along with graduate student Zachary Needell, postdoc James McNerney, and recent graduate Michael Chang SM '15.

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