Here’s some food for thought around electrical vehicles. In this recent article in The American Conservative, Jordan McGillis argues that, “the electric vehicle is the climate idol of the unimaginative.”
Rather than simply changing what’s under the hood of our cars, we should be reexamining the broader impacts that the car has had on the urban landscape. Here’s an excerpt that speaks to this:
“All of the effort directed towards EV adoption would be better expended on improving our development patterns, bringing them to human-scale and reducing the necessity of the automobile. The obvious reform candidate is zoning. According to the New York Times, it is illegal to build anything other than a single-family home on 75 percent of land zoned for residential use in the United States. Zoning exclusively for single-family homes artificially flattens our cities, necessitates daily automobile commutes, and increases our greenhouse gas emissions. As Istvan Bart has documented for the Climate Strategy Institute, suburban sprawl bears more responsibility for increased emissions from transportation than either population or GDP.“
There is no question that electric vehicles are helpful to addressing climate change. But Jordan is also not wrong. We can’t ignore that built form is crucial to this discussion, and likely even more important.