During the early months of 2020, the COVID19 virus began to transmit around the world. To help stem the rate of infection global leaders insisted on lockdowns. As majority of the cafes, shops, offices and therefore, workplaces, were forbidden from opening, the traffic on the roads decreased significantly to “essential journeys only”.

In the UK, citizens were only permitted to leave the house once a day for exercise and essential journeys, to the shops, hospital or commuting if they were a key worker. The lack of entertainment and increase in panic buying lead to long queues just to enter the larger supermarkets.

To combat this people began to shop more locally in the smaller, corner shops. Again, this contributed to less vehicles on the road. More specifically, a 73% decrease in traffic on the roads compared to pre-lockdown numbers.

This didn’t just have an impact on traffic jams but could also be seen in the health of our air. In the UK alone this resulted in an emissions decrease of 13%, in China 1.7% , America 12%, 11% in the EU, and a 17% drop globally.

Cars (or lack thereof) have been highlighted as the main contributor to the decrease in air pollution due to the 43% decline in surface transport emissions.

Unfortunately, this short-lived change made no discernible impact on the overall narrative around climate change, not only did our travel habits go back to how they were pre-lockdown, in some ways our travel choices got worse.

In the context of the pandemic, the public were discouraged from using public transport where possible to limit the chance of transmitting the virus.

The post lockdown resurgence, reversing all the good work from the lockdowns, which is why it specifically needs to be a post-pandemic solution to combine the public transport options with the green vehicle solutions.

Zero/Low emission transport options include:

  • Active travel
  • Public transport
  • Zero emission cars

 

Active travel requires infrastructure for modal shift, including footpaths and cycle lanes to make walking and cycling safe, viable options for the public.

 

Public transport is already a low emission option for the number of personal vehicles it replaces in a single journey. To improve public transport, the adoption of electric buses and trains, as well as encouraging widespread use of the established services.

 

Zero emission cars is where the conversation becomes much more complex. What are the viable transport options and what are the barriers to modal shift for the various options?

 

To establish the fuel type with the lowest emissions, it is not simply to look at the emissions released during the journey but also how that fuel type is sourced.

The table below indicates the source of the vehicle’s fuel and the waste products created during the extraction process of the fuel.

 

1 https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fossil-fuels-dirty-facts

In terms of alternative fuel options for automotive vehicles there is either electric vehicles or hydrogen which is in its early stages of development. On the surface, using hydrogen created by Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolyser Electrolysis sounds like the best solution but with technology and scale at its current level, it is an impractical option (for more detail on the production of hydrogen for fuel, read our upcoming blog).

Consequently, after a process of elimination, the holy grail of decarbonised journeys using current technology is … the electric car powered by green energy.

The barrier to shifting to electric vehicles is cost for the everyday vehicle owner and range anxiety associated with limited charging points.

Whilst the government continues minimising the costs with grants, loans and legislation. As a company, you can not only encourage your employees to swap to electric, but you can also support the transition by implementing charging stations at your offices.

With Stark Charge you can easily implement on-site charging solutions, with a fully managed system that can be simply consolidated with your transport and energy data on a single platform.

Stark Charge has end-to-end service options and everything in between for your EV charging needs.

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