Assuming it was possible to change all the ICE vehicles over to electric cars charged off the grid, wouldn’t this essentially just be shifting the location of the problem instead of any actual solution?
Peak oil is mostly a liquid fuels problem. However, electricity generation is highly versatile and can be produced from many sources. Thus an electric vehicle could be powered by coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear, oil, biomass, hydro-electric, tidal, diesel... Many options exist.
To switch every car in America to battery electric, assuming an average of 12,000 muiles per year continue to be driven, would see a 15-20% rise in electricity consumption. We could easily make that amount of reduction in electricity consumption to make up the difference just by switching to more efficient appliances. Furthermore, having that many cars and having each drive that many miles is just plain stupid, anyway, but if one wanted, electric car technology can meet our current travel needs, it just needs to have some infrastructure development for quick charge stations.
We have a problem of needing to generate a certain amount of energy to power private transport. Regardless of where this energy is consumed – at the petrol/gas station or off the electric grid – we still have to find a way to generate the energy, right?
Yes. The good thing about electric cars, well to wheels, one unit of energy in will take them 2-3 times more distance at the same speed as a gas-powered car.
I don’t see how converting to electric cars, even if it were possible, would actually solve anything, merely shift the location of the problem, to be dealt with at a slightly later date.
It depends on how they are used. The problem of suburban sprawl stems partially from gross misuse of the car, and mostly from forced reliance on it. The cars themselves aren't the problem: it's how they're used.
Using a car as the bulk of one's transportation is just plain stupid. But that doesn't mean they should be banned or ownership should be restricted. So long as there are alternatives to the car, cars will see much less reduced. This was the case of America in the 20s and the case of Europe/Japan today.
Cars are something that should be for sport, entertainment, and liesure, sometimes meeting the needs of local transportation and perhaps accounting for 20-30% of all travel(if that). Anything more turns the car into a severe environmental disaster.
Getting people to use electric trains however is a workable solution.
It is, but not for all instances. Personal mobility in all forms, bike or car, has its merits and uses. Unless we have a total and utter collapse of the likes of some science fiction movie, we will have cars in the future and they certainly can be sustainable. The bulk of transportation needs to be by bike or train, however. Getting people to adapt to electric trains is not unreasonable in the least, and trains will become a growing part of our transportation mix if the people, instead of the corporations, win out.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson