More and more automakers are relying on electric cars, gradually electrifying their lineup. In the next ten to fifteen years, many car brands plan to completely abandon the production of cars with internal combustion engines, since they are more harmful to the environment than electric vehicles. But electric cars are not as environmentally friendly as they might seem at first glance. And now we will tell you why.
For those who don’t know, an electric car is a car that doesn’t require gasoline or diesel to run. Instead of the usual internal combustion engine, an electric motor with an electric converter and a battery is installed under the hood of an electric vehicle. And instead of refueling, these cars need to be recharged, like your smartphone or laptop. However, unlike the mobile devices that we plug into the grid on a daily basis, most EVs only need to be charged a few times a month, depending on how often and how far you drive. As a rule, owners of electric vehicles charge their cars at home, but now networks of public charging stations are actively developing, which work like ordinary gas stations.
Perhaps one of the main advantages of electric vehicles is that they do not emit harmful emissions into the atmosphere, unlike traditional cars with internal combustion engines, which pollute the air with carbon dioxide and other gases that create a greenhouse effect. Fuel-fueled vehicles are contributing to global warming. And since electric vehicles do not use fuel and do not emit exhaust gases, they seem to be the perfect solution to the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions. But is it really so? As always, there are a few «buts» here.
While electric vehicles themselves do not directly emit greenhouse gases in use, this does not mean that their so-called carbon footprint is zero. The fact is that the production process of cars with electric motors is quite energy-intensive and has a significant negative impact on the environment. Surprisingly, numerous studies indicate that it actually takes more energy to produce an electric vehicle than to produce a traditional ICE car. Consequently, the production process for electric vehicles leaves a much larger carbon footprint.
The metals used in electric vehicles are lighter than the alloys used in traditional cars. However, their production requires a lot of energy, which leaves its negative mark on the environment.
But the negative impact of electric vehicles on the environment is not limited to one stage of production. Even though electric cars do not consume fuel, they still require energy to operate. And the generation of electricity has a significant impact on the environment, since now most of the electricity is generated using fossil solid and liquid fuels. For example, in the United States, 83% of electricity is generated by power plants that use resources from non-renewable sources (coal, oil and gas). Therefore, by buying an electric car and infecting it, you will still damage the planet, albeit, perhaps, to a lesser extent than using a car with an internal combustion engine.
But is it worth giving up on electric vehicles? No. The environmental impact of a vehicle is highly dependent on its model. The average electric car actually has a lower carbon footprint than gasoline and diesel cars. Although the production of electric cars requires more energy, in the future, in the course of their life cycle, they cause less harm to the environment than cars with an internal combustion engine. The researchers found that an electric vehicle with a battery, on average, emits 22% less carbon dioxide than a diesel car and 28% less than a gasoline-powered car.
It turns out that electric cars still have an environmental advantage over traditional ICE cars. And despite all their disadvantages in the form of a higher cost, they are a better choice for our planet than diesel and gasoline cars.
With climate change already worrying, our manufacturers and governments must focus on creating a carbon-neutral future. Yes, the popularity of electric vehicles is growing every year, we still have to find more sustainable solutions in other areas of our lives to save the planet.