Science has decided that electric cars really are cool

The interior of a Tesla ‘D’ model electric sedan. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Research has proved that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.

A study in the journal Scientific Reports by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China show that the cool factor is real and could help keep heat from cities.

The cooling resulting from replacing all gas-powered vehicles with electric vehicles could mean city dwellers needing less air conditioning.

“It’s easy not to see the big picture on issues like electric cars and global warming, but when we look with a holistic approach, we find these unexpected connections,” said co-author Jianguo Jack Liu, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at Michigan State University.

“Heat waves kill, and in terms of climate change, even one degree can make a difference.”

Conventional vehicles and air conditioners are the two biggest contributors to the heat island intensity in cities.

Electric vehicles give off only about 20% of the heat gas-powered vehicles.

The researchers used Beijing in summer of 2012 to calculate that switching vehicles from gas to electricity could reduce the heat island intensity by nearly 1 degree Celsius.

That would have saved Beijing 14.4 million kilowatt hours and slashed carbon dioxide emissions by 11,779 tonnes per day.

The authors caution that several factors can influence the urban heat island effect, not all of which were addressed in the study.

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