Since the inception of electric vehicles, this question “Are electric vehicles better for the environment” been always debatable. Many technology enthusiasts have a different opinion about the same. But here the main concern that remains unanswered is are the electric vehicles as eco-friendly as its manufactures mention them. Or is it only a sales pitch which is written by the copywriters just the increase the sales.
This doubt has always been there since the launch of these electric vehicles for the first time in the market. Questions regarding the efficiency of these electric models, in the long run, is also there unanswered. So we have found that there is no reliable information about the uses and impact of these electric vehicles over the environment is missing. Again we have tried here to give you some insight into how clean are these vehicles? Let’s get started and find out yourself about these “Zero Emission” Vehicles.
Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Environment?
You must have many times come across the fact that Electric cars are often presented as ‘non-polluting’ or ‘zero-emission’ vehicles. But the exactness about this above statement is nowhere mentioned. As because in the electric vehicles, batteries are used to power these vehicles. And for manufacturing these batteries a lot of electricity and fuels are used, which again produces pollutants.
If you look at the big pictures, then you can easily conclude that these electric motors are not necessarily less polluting than conventional vehicles! But yes again it can be engineered, and the technologies behind it can be improved to make these machines more efficient in regards to eco-friendliness. Also, in the long run, the amount of emission which is produced while manufacturing these batteries can be reduced or optimised. There’s more to theses which is covered in the later part of this article.
Importance of Electric Vehicles for Climate
There may be a debate going on about the usefulness of these electric vehicles for our day today life. But yes it concerns with another essential, i.e. its convenience for the Climate.
We cannot just ignore its usefulness for our climate in a single statement. Because after the traditional vehicles (Petrol and Diesel), there is the need for some mode of transportation which is really required for our day today use. Again we need something unique which should be eco-friendly also. And for that Electric vehicle (EVs) are an essential part of meeting the global goals on climate change.
We all know about Sustainable Development, but very few of us are really trying to implement these in our real life. But for achieving sustainable development, we need these Electric Vehicles, as the reserves of natural fuels is depleting. So at this hour, we need something which should be energy efficient and also should be very much environment-friendly.
And the Electric Vehicles are the best choice in hand. They are indeed energy-efficient, eco-friendly, and also they are cost-effective if manufactured on a bulk scale.
The usefulness of Electric Vehicles (EV)
There are many types of research which have been done over the usefulness of Electric Vehicles. But the most important one is done and provided by Carbon Brief. It has somehow cleared some of the confusions which are clouding our minds for a long time. Let’s discuss the analysis.
1. If considered over their lifetime, EVs have very lower emissions rate compared to conventional (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Again this study has been done specifically over Europe as the majority of their countries are adopting E Vehicles as a whole.
2. Countries which are generating electricity using their Fossil Fuels are less benefited using the EVs. Also, the emission rate of conventional vehicles are quite similar to EVs. Here the use of hybrid-electric models is the best choice.
3. If for an electric generation, the right kind of sources are used. As more countries are adopting for the growing demands of climatic changes. Now the manufacturing emission rate will gradually decrease for New EVs.
4. It is very much difficult to compare electric vehicles with conventional vehicles. As for the comparison, many things are required to be estimated like the accuracy of fuel-economy, driving pattern, weather conditions. There is no identical standard which applies everywhere.
How the Energy Generated which is Used for Manufacturing Electric Vehicles?
You must be thinking that Electric Vehicles are good for the environment as they are not producing any poisonous gases and emission. But you forget the main thing, i.e. for these electric vehicles to run batteries is required and again for recharging these batteries, there is a requirement of electricity.
So the catch here is that you should be thinking about the alternatives which is required to generate electricity. Because if renewable sources of energy is used to electric generation, then there is less pollution and safe for the environment. But if fossil fuels like coal is used for electric generation, they are equally very much dangerous for the environment.
So let’s discuss the ways which are used for the generation of electricity for manufacturing electric vehicles.
Worldwide 60 % of the Total Electricity is Generated Using Fossil Fuels
When it comes to generating electricity, then according to a report on an average of 60 % of the electricity produced in the world comes from Fossil Fuels like coal and gas.
If we calculate, then an electric car produces nearly the same amount of CO2 per kilometre like petrol or diesel vehicles.
But around the world, in some European countries like Belgium, France, Italy the electricity is mainly generated using zero-emission energy sources.
Let’s know which are some of the energy sources which are used for generating electricity.
- Nuclear power plants
- Renewable energy (wind power, solar energy, hydropower)
This means that those countries which are using these renewable sources of energy and nuclear plants energy for generating electricity are actually producing more energy-efficient and environment-friendly electricity.
Also, those electric vehicles produce even 15 times less CO2 when it runs exclusively on green power. The fact that nobody can deny is that around half the emissions from battery production come from the electricity which is used for the manufacturing and assembling the batteries.
Which Regions are Best for Producing Electricity for Electric Vehicles?
Electricity is very much required for battery production. Again electricity is used for manufacturing and assembling the batteries. Now the question arises which regions are best for producing these type of batteries. Let’s discuss more about it.
The regions which are best for Producing batteries are those which have relatively low-carbon electricity or such factories which are primarily powered by renewable energy.
How is the Electric Vehicles Manufacture Impacting the Environment?
The Electric Vehicles may not be producing such harmful pollutants like the traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. But yes other reasons are there which are impacting the environment. Read it and find out yourself.
Speaking about the CO2 Emission, An e-car will be responsible throughout its life regarding the CO2 emission: If you look at the manufacture, supply and its use, to the recycling of the parts. For every other purpose, a huge amount of energy is required.
Also for Manufacturing batteries, a massive amount of energy is required, and it results in a lot of pollution.
Use of Rare Metals
Again for manufacturing these car batteries, some specific materials are needed, which are often limited. For Extracting lithium or cobalt, in particular, the whole process is very complex, which results in a huge requirement of energy. Simultaneously the by products which are produced are very much dangerous for the environment.
Not only manufacturing but the recycling process often creates more hazard for the environment.
Are Electric Cars Better for the Environment than Fossil-Fuel Cars?
There is no clear conclusion that Electric Cars are as polluting as Fossil Fuels Cars. It is tough to say that Electric Cars are Polluting or not.
Many research has been done, many research papers are being published, many calculations is done, but the actual result is still not clear. Scientists are using all the available data, their hypothesis and every possible scenario to find the results. But still after hat also its very much hard to say whether electric cars are either a lot less, equally or sometimes even a lot more polluting than the engine powered traditional cars.
One thing is very much clear here, i.e. there is a very much negative health impact of these fossil fuel cars. There is the emission of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) which are very much carcinogenic. Every year there is a considerable number of deaths due to air pollutions.
The Future of Transport
The rate at which Fossil Fuels are depleting, the day is not far away when it will be fully replenished from the surface of the earth. So its high time now to search for better energy alternatives which can efficiently fuel the future of transport.
Again in this scenario, I suppose the Electric Vehicles is the need of this hour. Its because the emission rate of electric vehicles is very much less as compared to traditional cars throughout their lifetime. Which shows clearly that EVs are really the Vehicle of the future.
As a result, the current electric grids are mostly using renewable energy sources rather than the fossil fuels, which is depleting at an alarming rate.
Many Car manufacturers are also accepting that electric cars are less polluting, and as a result, they are focusing on producing more EVs now. All this to reduce total carbon emissions. The EV Vehicles may be less polluting now as compared to the traditional ones, but again it is producing some pollutants also. So more research is going on to produce more energy-efficient electric vehicles, and better recycling option so that the emission can be minimised.
For now, these Electric vehicles may not be the best alternative. Still, yes, when they are combined with the more significant deployment of renewables and again with the decarbonization of the electricity grid, they offer a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions heavily. And nobody can deny this fact.
How Much Better are Electric Cars for the Environment?
Till now you must have read the article “are electric cars better for the environment”. Here in this article, we have tried our best to explain the reasons why electric vehicles are genuinely better for the environment. If you have any doubts regarding the things which are described in this article, then feel free to comment about it below. We will be more than happy to answer later.
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