ITGS Portfolio Assignment #1 Improvement and use of electric cars, and its affect on the environment Area of Impact: 3.5 Science and Environment

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Portfolio Assignment #1
Improvement and use of electric cars, and its affect on the environment

Area of Impact: 3.5 Science and Environment

October 14, 2010

Word Count: 1000

Presentation of the issue:

As technology improves, more electric cars are being used in today’s society.  Electric cars that recharge off the coal power grid are one type of electric cars that will be used more frequently in the future.  Electric cars are supposed to reduce the amount of city pollution by having no emissions of any carbon dioxide or any other harmful particles, but studies have shown that burning coal for electricity can be just as harmful to the environment as using gasoline cars.  

New electric cars are invented to keep up with the vast increase in technology, resulting in an issue regarding equality of access.  The new electric cars that are being manufactured can have a higher price tag, due to the input of the newest technology; therefore not all individuals would be able to afford this type of car. Another issue would be regarding reliability.  In order to run an electric car, it needs to be charged 10-12 hours to fully charge the vehicle, because of the electric car’s large need of time to be charged, efficiency and reliability problems can arise.  Users may not be to use the car whenever they want and they may not be able to use it for as long as they want.  Also, the invention of these electric cars that recharge off the coal power grid can in turn, increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus degrading our environment.  

Information Technology Background of the Issue:

        Electric cars have been around since the end of the 19th century and it has always been said that it can help improve the environment and the atmosphere, but that may not be 100% true.  The increase amount of electric car usage and the increase of new technology built into the new electric cars can lead to an increase in pollution.  Building more and more electric cars would mean having more people owning one.  Recall that electric cars emission requires the process of burn coals, which leads to a large amount of carbon dioxide emitting into the atmosphere every year in US.  Therefore, it is important to identify that creating more of these up-scaled electric cars may benefit our society, but it can also cause destruction towards our society, especially to the environment.

        Electric cars are much quieter compared to our everyday gasoline cars, this is because it has been invented this way to subtract polluting sounds around in our community.  Although having a quieter car might seem beneficial to everyone in the society, but it can be interpreted as a dangerous factor for people with disabilities.  People who are blind has to rely on noise to hear the traffic conditions that are approaching, therefore, it can be very dangerous for people with this disability to step on the road with users of electric cars.    

Impact of the Issue:

        This issue impacts the society in a scientific and environmental way, as the development and use of electric cars can result in a more polluted atmosphere.  According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in order to burn coal in power plants for electricity, 48 tons of mercury goes into the water and air of Americans every year.  So much intake of mercury in water and in the air would affect not only the environment, but also our health and daily lives.  The implications on this topic falls on the issue of the future, and what electric cars can do to our environment and lives in the coming years of development.  If the usage of electric cars continues to stay constant and even grow as technology improves hastily, it will be doing no good to anyone.  If we don’t start using sources that are renewable, like solar, wind, to make electricity, more and more toxins with fill up the atmosphere with increase in numbers of electric cars being used.

        While some may say that using electric cars contribute to the up rise of carbon dioxide and mercury in the atmosphere, some people believe that electric cars are very beneficial to the world.  Beneficial qualities of using the electric car would be the replacement of harmful air pollutants that gasoline cars emit into the air.  Using electric cars would be able to lower the amount of greenhouse gases and soon it will lead to the solution of climate change.  Using electric cars can also benefit urban areas by minimizing the noise level of cars, in the alarming streets of an urban city.  In the US, a company started a idea of having a “Better Place” for drivers to park their cars publically and charge their electrics cars, rather than having to go all the way back home to recharge the battery, recharging could be done anywhere at any time.

Solution for the Issue:

        Problems with electric cars would relate to the high demand of them, as the ability of this technology improves.  The process of making electricity by burning coal has increased the amount of carbon dioxide and mercury in the air.  A solution for this issue is to find another way to produce electricity using renewable sources.  This way, sources will never be completely used up and also, renewable sources like wind or solar won’t emit any form of pollutant.  According to environmentalists, find a different source for making electricity is the only way to fix this problem.  Although the idea of an electric car charged up by solar power has been thought of, the idea hasn’t been fully developed yet.  The best and easiest solution would be to change the way we live and use utilities that are greener and that would help improve the environment.

        The issue of the having the quieter electric car on the streets and people with disabilities is a hard issue to solve.  Hopefully in the near future, technology would offer people who are blind the ability to sense what’s around them, even if the sound is minimal.

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  1. “The Coal Truth: Will the Coming Generation of Electric Cars Just Be Coal-Burners, Once Removed?” Scientific American. 4 May 2010. 29 Sept 2010. <>
  2. “ Dirty Electric Cars Powered by Dirty Coal.” Gavin Shoe Bridge. 3 Feb 2010. 29 Sept 2010. <>
  3. Brain, Marshall. “How Electric Cars Work.” How Stuff Works. 29 Sept 2010. <>
  4. Sparkes, Matthew. “Electic vehicles dangerous for the blind?” Tree Hugger. 7 Mar 2010. 29 Sept 2010. <>
  5. “The electric car-a green transport revolution in he making?” European Environment Agency. 18 Jan 2010. 1 Oct 2010. <> ...

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