How Eco-Friendly Are Electric Cars?

Tesla model 3 car

Tesla model 3 car. Credit: Tesla Motors

Electric cars are centred on cutting emissions and reducing global warming. The electric vehicles (EVs) reportedly do not emit CO2 or nitrogen oxide, so they are more climate-friendly and pose no health hazards. EVs seem to have plenty of benefits over cars that are run on diesel or gasoline, and there have been incessant studies by scientists on their green credentials. So, are electric cars really eco-friendly? Here’s a brief snapshot.

The concern areas are multi-fold, but the two primary areas are based on how EVs have their batteries manufactured, and how the electricity is generated to power the EVs.

Energy-Intensive Manufacturing of Batteries for EVs

According to a study by the researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, Germany, an electric car takes two-times more energy for production than a conventional one. This is mainly attributed to the lithium-ion battery, which according to IFEU (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) estimates, there are 125 kilograms of CO2 emissions on each kilowatt hour of battery capacity.

Electricity generated to power EVs

There are two factors which are crucial to the powering of EVs – the country where the car is driven in and the time of the day for recharging the batteries. There is a recent study which points out that electric cars that are charged by utilities at night in the regional grid across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Delaware, created more greenhouse gas pollution than when the owners charged their vehicles throughout the day-time at random times.

When driving an electric car in China where coal is a prominent power plant fuel, the impacts of climate change could be disastrous. The same scenario holds true for coal-burning countries like India, South Africa, and Australia. However, in a country like Norway, EVs can outperform conventional cars in the context of their environmental impact due to the power being generated from hydroelectricity.

More emphasis on public transport

According to the German Environmental Forecasting Institute (UPI), more electric cars could cause more traffic. Greenpeace, the environmental organisation promotes electrifying public transport rather than propounding subsidies to buying EVs.

The research fraternity and the technological advancement are contributing to electric cars getting greener, more powerful, and durable. And, only time will spell out whether e-cars could be an eco-friendly version and substitute to gasoline and diesel cars.

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