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Super Awesome Science Show: Zero-emission vehicles

In this March 14, 2019, file photo, Tesla's Model Y is displayed at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif.
In this March 14, 2019, file photo, Tesla's Model Y is displayed at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

On this week’s Super Awesome Science Show, we’re going to look at one of the most revolutionary ideas to improve our planet. It’s called the zero-emission vehicle – better known as ZEV – and it may be able to reduce our contribution to air pollution and climate change.

READ MORE: Legislation introduced to require all new cars sold in B.C. to be zero-emission by 2040

Most people know the name Tesla, which is one of the first truly zero-emission vehicles on the market. It runs on batteries, like many others that are in the pipeline. But there are other types that exist, including one with an engine that runs on hydrogen. Our first guest, University of Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor Xianguo Li, takes us on a guided tour of the hydrogen engine and why it may represent the real future of ZEVs.

While ZEVs may seem like an excellent purchase, the reality is that there isn’t much of a demand for them. However, when people are asked about their perception of these vehicles, they are quite high. This is known as latent demand. Zoe Long, the research manager for the Sustainable Transport Action Research Team at Simon Fraser University, reveals to us how we may be able to turn that interest into actual sales.

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READ MORE: NASA unveils its first all-electric airplane, the ‘Maxwell’

In our SASS Class, we learn about how governments and people who like ZEVs can improve sales. Our guest teacher is Scott Hardman and he is a professional researcher in the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California Davis’ Institute of Transportation Studies. We learn about the different types of government incentives that exist and which country happens to have the greatest success in getting people to adopt ZEVs. We also find out that governments can only do so much and that word of mouth may still be the best way to increase purchases.

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Thanks to you, we’ve won a Canadian Podcast Award for Outstanding Science and Medicine Series. We have been changing the way the world sees science, and it is definitely for the better. Let’s keep the awesome momentum going together! 

Contact:

Twitter: @JATetro
Email: thegermguy@gmail.com

Guests:

XianGuo Li
Web: https://uwaterloo.ca/mechanical-mechatronics-engineering/profile/x6li

Zoe Long
Web: https://sustainabletransport.ca/our-team/

Scott Hardman
Web: https://its.ucdavis.edu/people/scott-hardman/
Twitter: @scottiehardman

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