Safer Driving in The Dead of Night

Infrared vision systems are set to become standard in high-end cars

4 min read

After dark, your chances of being involved in a fatal car crash go up sharply. In the United States, for example, more than 20 percent of all fatal crashes occur between midnight and 6 a.m., though less than 3 percent of daily traffic volume is on roadways during these hours.

Of course drinking and fatigue are big factors. But inadequate illumination also ranks high: headlights provide about 50 meters of visibility on a dark road, but it takes nearly 110 meters to come to a full stop from 100 kilometers per hour. At that speed, you may not respond fast enough to an unexpected event, simply because the bright spot provided by your headlights doesn't give you enough time.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images
Green

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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