By 2025, members of Generation Y are expected to account for approximately 75% of all vehicle purchases, but they may not be purchasing conventional vehicles anymore. Increasing numbers of automotive companies have gone electric and even diversified the types of electric vehicles being offered.
Mercedes-Benz made it clear with the reveal of the Urban eTruck last week in Stuttgart that Tesla isn’t the only company making big changes in the automotive industry.
The vehicle is completely electric, with a total admissible weight capacity of 29 tons, which makes it the first clean energy transport vehicle in the world.
As its name implies, the vehicle was created for use in urban environments as a shipping vehicle. Currently, its range is only about 124 miles, which makes it ideal for last-leg shipping runs.
While the prototype is ready for action, Daimler explains that the company will have to wait until “the beginning of the next decade” for a conceivable launch date and the start of mass production.
However, consumers shouldn’t get too excited about the advent of the electric vehicle just yet.
According to a 2011 study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg, the carbon footprint of a battery-operated car is “similar to that of a conventional car with a combustion engine, regardless of its size.”
Simply put, if the energy used to power electric vehicles is still coming from a coal-fired plant, chances are that you’re still having the same negative impact on the environment.
To combat this issue, scientists are calling for more accurate information and more clean energy sources.
Not only does running these cars make little difference, manufacturing them is just as harmful to the environment as manufacturing any other type of vehicle.
The batteries needed to run electric vehicles require numerous minerals and metals, which end their lives as toxic waste, that can only be found through harmful mining practices.
To combat the issue, Greenpeace advocates for electrifying public transport instead of awarding subsidies to those buying electric cars. “10,000 electric buses have as much impact as one million electric cars”, said Daniel Moser from Greenpeace Germany.
However, that isn’t stopping Mercedes-Benz from rolling out their electric shipping vehicles.
To combat the indirect carbon dioxide emissions, the company provides another reason for their vehicles to take to the streets: reduced noise.
Urban areas are already highly saturated with noise, but an electric semi could produce little to no noise when compared to the hulking diesel engines people are accustomed to hearing today.
According to Daimer, the only issue that poses difficulty is the cost-to-efficiency ratio, but the hope is that battery prices will experience a significant drop by 2025.