It is clear that smart cars are unique for how they produce fewer emissions. This is thanks to the electric power batteries that are used in so many of these vehicles. Many smart cars will produce no emissions as they are not reliant on traditional fuels. But there are a few important points about smart cars that need to be noticed. In particular, just because smart cars don’t often produce emissions directly doesn’t mean that they won’t produce any emissions at all.
What Is the ZEV Standard?
One key baseline to notice about smart cars is the ZEV standard. ZEV stands for Zero Emission Vehicle. A vehicle that meets the ZEV standard is exactly what the name suggests in that it does not produce any tailpipe emissions.
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Such a vehicle is designed to be safe in the environment. In fact, the ZEV standard is often used to provide tax credits to automakers who build such smart cars. Automakers can earn tax credits when shipping certain smart cars out to particular states. This encourages those automakers to make more of these vehicles as they will be able to reduce the tax totals that they might have to spend.
Many states around the country have been using the ZEV standard with regard to making electric cars available. The state of California has its own dedicated standard run by the California Air Resources Board, a group with some of the strictest air quality standards around. Nine other states including New York and Maryland have adopted the same standards. Of course, the benefit of having zero emissions coming out of a car has made it to where such vehicles are being designed as ZEVs regardless of where they are to be sold.
But Some Emissions Are Still Produced
It is important to know that some emissions are still generated by smart cars even if those cars don’t directly produce any noticeable emissions. A smart car will have to collect energy that is generated from an outside power source in order to keep its battery active.
This means that upstream emissions will be generated by the vehicle. These include emissions that come from coal or nuclear power plants that energize the power outlet that a vehicle uses.
This is a concern that has made it all the more important for cars to look for battery chargers that are powered by solar or wind generators among other options that run off of renewable power. It is estimated that using such generators can produce less than 50 percent of the energy that more traditional generators or chargers can use.
The total emissions that are generated may be less when cleaner forms of energy are used. For instance, the emissions generated by electric vehicles are lower in states that utilize nuclear energy like Pennsylvania and North Carolina. A smart vehicle in Pennsylvania can produce about 4,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent in a typical year while that total is around 4,200 pounds in North Carolina. Meanwhile, the coal-dependent state of New Mexico has smart cars that generate about 7,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent in a year.
In other words, it is important to look at how the energy from a charger is being utilized. The energy that comes from a cleaner source will ensure that the risk of added pollution generated by charging up the vehicle will be minimal.
What About Evaporation?
Evaporation can be produced by many electric vehicles. The water vapor generated by an engine can produce evaporation in the air as a car moves about. This should not be threatening to the environment but will be critical to ensure that one’s engine and battery are inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure that the evaporation produced will not be dangerous to the environment.
The ecological features of smart cars are certainly distinct and unique. These are great features but it is important to see how well such vehicles can operate. There are some cases where a small number of emissions may be produced in ways that people might not think about. The actual emissions that are generated may vary based on the type of charger being used and the power that helps to keep that charger up and running.