Although electric vehicles don’t produce any carbon dioxide, they could be a way to reduce or eliminate harmful emissions. There are many theories.
The CO2 Problem is All Around
The climate crisis is a growing problem. Weather phenomena are becoming more extreme, and cities and whole countries are suffering. The rise in carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution has been directly linked to climate change. But the good news is there are ways we can all make a difference. Every person can and must reduce carbon dioxide (also known as greenhouse gas) emissions. Driving an electric car is one way to save the planet.
The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States states that 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by transportation. Transportation is responsible for 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, and some cities estimate that it contributes more than half of their total emissions problem.
Yes, Even Some EVs Can Generate Emissions
There is no free lunch, or in this instance, a free ride. Even though electric vehicles do not have tailpipes, that doesn’t make them clean. Electric vehicles produce more emissions than gasoline-powered cars because they use materials that are difficult to mine and other manufacturing problems.
EV charging emissions can also be generated at local power stations; power plants that don’t meet environmental standards may have a negative impact on the green impact of any vehicle that requires electricity.
Although hybrid EVs can produce a lot of greenhouse gases, they can still emit more than gasoline-powered cars. Even with these issues, EVs that are solely powered by battery power still seem to be the most environmentally-friendly.
What is the Greenest EV?
Overall, EVs are quite green. Although it can be difficult to compare them with cars that use fossil fuels, it is possible.
It’s not difficult to compare vehicle emissions, especially carbon dioxide. Everyone is used to miles per gallon.
Let’s say that the average car in America gets 25 miles per gallon (mpg); one gallon gasoline fuel will allow you to drive 25 miles. One gallon of gasoline will release approximately 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere as it burns.
The average car travels about 13,500 miles each year. This means that every gasoline-powered vehicle releases over 11,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. This is almost 6 tons of greenhouse gas emissions for just one car each year.
An EV, on the other hand, produces no emissions if it is driven. Any EV can also produce emissions if local power grids are used for charging the vehicle. To help you determine the effect of local electricity sources on gasoline-powered cars and EV emissions, the U.S. Department of Energy offers a simple emissions calculator.
Although EV hybrids do require some gasoline processes, they typically emit half the amount of gasoline-powered vehicles.
You might say that electric vehicles don’t consume gallons of fuel. But how can we compare their emissions or fuel economy? It’s like comparing apples to bananas. Let’s try to find common ground.
Nutritionists can also compare the calories of bananas and apples. Experts compare the energy content of conventional and electric vehicles in kilowatt hours (kWh). The comparison was easy once scientists found that a gallon gasoline contained the same amount as 33.7 kWh electricity. This information allows you to easily compare electric and conventional vehicles by referring to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Electric vehicles are still able to outperform gasoline vehicles in terms of emissions. Experts estimate that an 80-mpge electric vehicle will generate just 2 tons of CO2 per year and drive an average of 11,500 miles. The emissions generated by driving are entirely dependent on the power source used to charge the vehicle. This mix can range from 100 percent renewable energy to 100 percent fossil fuels.
Your electric vehicle will emit almost zero emissions if it is connected to the grid using hydroelectric, solar or wind power. Your electric vehicle of 80 mpge could produce 4 tons of carbon dioxide per year if your grid is powered by natural gas, coal, or oil.
EVs have the advantage in saving the planet, despite the fact that an average gasoline-powered vehicle emits 6 tons of carbon annually.
Some people believe electric vehicles are a green dream
Even though electric vehicles produce less carbon dioxide than their gasoline counterparts it is not all roses. Although EVs are cleaner than traditional vehicles, there are some issues that make it difficult for those who don’t believe in them to dismiss them as a green utopia. They have three key arguments to support their claims.
Producing Electric Vehicles Causes Higher Emissions
Electric vehicles require special materials for their construction. To build electric motors and batteries, rare earth metals are needed. Soil and water pollution can be caused by cobalt, lithium and neodymium mining. These miners, sometimes including children, are often not protected.
Technology and processes are constantly improving, which reduces the amount of materials needed or makes them more efficient. Responsible corporate policies help to reduce the environmental impact on earth and man every day.
It is difficult to recycle electric vehicles
Recycling has been a problem, both economically and technologically, especially in the electronics industry. The current state of the industry is worsened by poor manufacturing practices for electric vehicles and issues with end-of-life recycling.
Recycling is becoming safer as companies improve their manufacturing processes and recycle technology.
Can EV batteries be replaced or upgraded?
Some electric vehicles produce higher emissions
It is possible that the lowest-emissions electric vehicle could emit carbon dioxide emissions, depending on its vehicle. Hybrid electric vehicles could also be a source for higher carbon dioxide emissions.
However, it’s not common. It’s not the norm. More grids are replacing, or at least augmenting, fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, improving emissions and allowing for thousands of vehicles to be driven simultaneously.
Because electric vehicle emissions are so low overall, manufacturing emissions that are higher are usually negated after a few years. After a typical electric vehicle has driven 20,000 miles, it will have produced the same emissions as a conventional vehicle. The gap between them just keeps getting wider.
The Electric Grid is Actually More Clean Than You Think
Can Electric Vehicles Save the Planet!
Although electric vehicles are able to save the earth, they can’t help anyone lose weight. As important as a healthy diet and regular exercise, electric vehicles can only be one part of a holistic approach to a healthy planet.
People must accept that doing nothing today will eventually cost more than developing and implementing green technologies.
Even though electric vehicles are clean, they still require infrastructure support to reduce emissions and improve adoption rates before they can make a real impact. The use of renewable energy sources, carbon capture and grid-level storage will all help to reduce emissions. It will be easier to use electric cars by adding more charging points and requiring that new manufacturing facilities have compatible wiring.
Other than electric vehicles, there are other vehicle-related choices and practices that can have a significant impact upon climate change and emissions. Emissions related to shipping can be reduced by buying locally rather than ordering online. Emissions related to daily activities can be reduced by carpooling, carsharing and public transport. Retrofitting cities to new forms of emission-free transport, such as micromobility trends can reduce emissions.
Electric vehicles are now more easily accessible than people realize, thanks to infrastructure and technological advances over the past decade. Take stock of your transportation needs and find out everything you can about electric vehicles. You could easily add an electric car to your life and make a small contribution to saving the planet.