Electric cars are no panacea

This article in IEEE Spectrum tries to expand the life cycle analysis of electric vehicles.  Here’s the money quote:

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 8.36.56 AMIf legislators truly wish to reduce fossil-fuel dependence, they could prioritize the transition to pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods. That won’t be easy everywhere—even less so where the focus is on electric cars. Studies from the National Academies point to better land-use planning to reduce suburban sprawl and, most important, fuel taxes to reduce petroleum dependence. Following that prescription would solve many problems that a proliferation of electric cars could not begin to address—including automotive injuries, deaths, and the frustrations of being stuck in traffic.

Do read the comment below the article by one of the authors whose study is referenced in the article.  He points us to his blog entry entitled What We Should Learn from a Lifecycle Assessment of EVs in the EU.  Here’s a graph from that entry: