What do you think of electric cars? Are they greener and eco-friendly? They seem to be a great solution to fight climate change and to top it all up they have zero emissions. But are they worth it?
Is it true that they don't cause any harm to the environment?
Cars make up 72% of the Co2 emissions. The market for electric cars has been growing and it seems our best chance to fight climate change. But are we sure that EV’s have zero emissions?
Are electric cars greener than fossil fuels-powered cars?
The difference between conventional, thermal cars and electric cars has to do with the process of transforming energy (stored) into kinetic (movement) energy. With thermal cars, the energy stored is in a chemical form and is released through the combustion of chemical fuels inside the engine.
Whereas, despite having chemical stored energy, the electric cars release electrochemical energy without any kind of chemical reaction thanks to the lithium-ion batteries. This simply means that no fuel is burnt and therefore no Co2 is released while driving. Now, this clearly shows that electric cars are for the win.
Now, let’s get into specifics
When getting into the specifics of the source of energy then there might be some reasons to believe that not all electric cars are greener and sustainable.
For instance, if the energy used to power up these cars are not solar panels, wind turbines, or even nuclear or hydroelectricity then their co2 emissions will be much higher. If the electricity used to charge these cars comes from the burning of fossil fuels then it doesn’t matter if ECs are not polluting while being driven as this pollution was already released into the atmosphere.
The making of an Electric Car.
The making of a car starts with its raw materials being extracted, refined, transported, and then the final step of it being manufactured into several components that will be assembled to produce the car. The process is the same for both conventional and electric cars. But studies have shown that at the end of the manufacturing process, electric cars are the ones generating more carbon emissions not directly but in their eco-footprint.
Now the question is WHY?
This is mainly because electric cars store their energy in large batteries (the larger they are, the bigger their range is) and this has high environmental costs. The batteries are made of rare earth elements like lithium, nickel, cobalt, or graphite and these only exist beneath the surface of the Earth and therefore depend completely on mining activities which is one of the most polluting processes.
So that’s why asking if electric cars are greener does not come with an easy answer.
Despite these facts, solutions are being made to keep electric cars greener, eco-friendly and sustainable. Although there is room for improvement we are noticing that overall electric cars as they are today are more eco-friendly with their lifecycle than the conventional fossil fuel ones. Many countries are now fostering this change to making life on wheels more sustainable for tomorrow.