The recent past has seen an increase in the number of electric cars being manufactured and sold in the United states and around the globe. Infact, there has been an over 200 percent increase in the number of electric vehicles (EV) sold and manufactured in September 2019 alone!
The increased demand has been mostly due to the rising concern about the fast changing and devastating climatic conditions. However, the shift from traditional combustion engines has also raised various concerns due to not only the financial cost associated with the EV but also the environmental impact associated with driving in general.
The lingering question is are electric cars more damaging to the environment compared to traditional vehicles? Let’s have an in depth analysis of electric vehicles and answer this question
What are Electric Vehicles?
Generally , electric cars rely on electricity to power their motors. Electric vehicles must have a source of energy that produces enough torque and drive to make movement.
There are various types of electric vehicles; These types are classified as Plug-in, battery powered and conventional hybrids. Just as their names depict, These types of electric vehicles are rechargeable while conventional hybrids have a smaller gasoline engine that power the electric motor.
How are Electric Cars Made?
Electric vehicles are manufactured just like all other conventional cars. The only major difference lies in their design of the engine and chassis to enable the carrying of many batteries required to provide power. However, these methods vary from one manufacturer to another. You can not expect Tesla to be similar to Nissan Leaf!
Here is a video explaining how electric cars are made and work:
Now that we have understood how electric cars work, lets look at the environmental impact of manufacturing and using electric vehicles:
Environmental impact of Electric Cars
The popularity of electric cars is growing. As the demand increases, manufacturers are also creating newer and sleeky versions of their EV to claim their share of the market. There has a rising concern on the issues surrounding the use and manufacture of electric vehicles. These include.
Battery Production and Dumping
All vehicles require a battery to store energy for ignition, powering of lights and other electrical functions. However, these gasoline powered vehicles only require one or two batteries.
However, electric vehicles, especially , the rechargeable ones require many batteries to store the energy to power its motor.
According to reports by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICTT), the process of battery production has significant carbon emissions and damage to the earth. Batteries are made from rare earth metals that are extracted from the oceans and crust leaving a degraded surface.
On the other hand, a single battery requires 300-700 megajoules of energy to be produced. Such a battery will continue to emit an average of 70-100 grammes of CO2 into the environment. A single Tesla packs a minimum of 7,104 lithium-ion battery cells! Researchers show that it takes twice the energy to produce an electric car compared to a normal car.
Also, the painstaking dumping of used batteries is proving to be a recycling nightmare.
Thus, every “green” mile completed in these vehicles contributes to the same carbon emissions we have been trying to reduce.
Despite the many hurdles experienced while trying to form the perfect electric car, they still produce a significantly less amount of emission compared to their non electric counterpart.
However, newer studies are proving that electric cars are causing more damage to the environment. In light of this, the future is still unprecedented. More research needs to be conducted and the viability of both electric and conventional vehicles weighed.
For now, electric cars may be the best chance to save the planet, but still don’t disregard that 4 stroke engine yet!