Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

Is the Rush to Electric Vehicles a Mistake?

All the city news you can use.

By - Dec 18th, 2022 12:15 pm

Red Tesla Model 3 at the March 31, 2016, unveiling event, Hawthorne, California. Photo by Steve Jurvetson derivative work: Smnt [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Red Tesla Model 3 at the March 31, 2016, unveiling event, Hawthorne, California. Photo by Steve Jurvetson derivative work: Smnt (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Every day at The Overhead Wire we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national (or international) links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Should transit be free?: The argument over whether it is good policy to support free transit continues with Jerusalem Demsas of the Atlantic believing that it doesn’t make much sense if transit agencies are to reach all the goals that are set for them; climate action, traffic reduction, and getting people where they want to go. She goes on the argue that the free transit policy push is a function of a larger urban political failure to improve public services by making hard and sometimes contentious choices. (Jerusalem Demsas | The Atlantic)

More than five senses for architecture: Five senses aren’t enough to perceive our environments say architects. By using a philosophy known as phenomenology, we might be able to add a few more senses to the list of how we react and take in buildings. Two other experiences include how you move through a space and how your body responds to it. If architects take this to heart, it might be possible to design better environments for people, not just for photographers. (Farzam Sepanta | The Conversation)

Is the rush to electric vehicles an expensive mistake?: Sustainability experts are worried about the rush to electric vehicles, believing that they are here to save the car industry, not the planet. Building large vehicles to transport small humans around is still not the most efficient way to move around cities but it gets complicated and political when trying to sort out the details of how to accomplish climate goals. (Don Pittis | CBC News)

The climate impact of your neighborhood mapped: Based on research from the University of California at Berkeley, cities around the country were mapped based on their emissions profile to see how cities and neighborhoods compared to one another. Typically high income households have higher emissions, but emissions per capita in dense urban neighborhoods tends to be much lower than in the suburbs. (Nadja PopovichMira Rojanasakul and Brad Plumer | New York Times)

Are owner occupancy requirements driving up housing costs?: Cities across the country are examining regulations on a number of fronts including parking requirements and zoning regulations. But one are of regulation has received less attention; requirements for owner occupancy. These requirements often keep neighborhoods less diverse from a racial and economic standpoint, and often keep out positive developments like ADUs. (Karen Kroll | Smart Cities Dive)

Quote of the Week

Although women were honored as workers during the war—when Rosie the Riveter was laid off, and wartime child care centers were shut down. We put a great deal of national effort into building the postwar suburbs which were making houses cheaply available to white, male-headed families in segregated subdivisions. The movement to the suburbs erased many of those earlier questions about how care work might be recognized and honored.

Dolores Hayden in Metropolis Magazine discussing her thinking on care infrastructure.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined once again by Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins and Helen Chin to talk about the one-year anniversary of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Want more links to read? Visit The Overhead Wire and signup.

3 thoughts on “Urban Reads: Is the Rush to Electric Vehicles a Mistake?”

  1. Duane says:

    These “Urban Reads” sure do bring out the snarky in me. The other articles are equally useless but in regards to “Is the rush to electric vehicles an expensive mistake?”, how can there be a “rush to electric vehicles” when there is no supply? (Heck, if American car companies had their way, they wouldn’t make anything, just outsource it all to low cost labor markets. More infinite wisdom bestowed on them by deep thinking Wall Street financial gurus).

    And I will remember to drop acid so I can truly appreciate the genius of the architects and all their fine architecture. Because my 5 senses are simply not enough!

  2. 45 years in the City says:

    We don’t have a “fuel choice” problem with autos, we have an overconsumption problem.

    Even if an auto could be manufactured with components that do no environmental harm in material extraction, manufacturing, and disposal AND if they could run on a totally benign fuel source – we’d still have the problem of the space they take up (and the associated chaos they bring to society).

    When a pedestrian gets flattened by an oversized, overpowered SUV it’s little consolation if it was powered by batteries. Electrics do nothing to address land use issues and general livability of our communities.

  3. Polaris says:

    Ha! WHAT rush to produce electric vehicles?

    The hybrid Prius was introduced in 1997.
    In the 1970s, electric cars with limited battery life and MPH were being produced.
    There are even reports of electric vehicles at the turn of the 19th century and beforehand.

    The “rush” to build electric vehicles is more than a century in the making, borne now by consumer interest and advances in battery technology and other technologies…

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