Electric Cars, Also Known As Evs, Have Been Heralded As An Essential Component Of The Shift Toward A More Environmentally Friendly Future. But How Much Better Are Evs For The Environment, And Are They A Solution That Can Be Maintained Over Time?
Electric Vehicles Typically Come Out On Top When Compared To Fossil Fuel Guzzlers In Terms Of Carbon Emissions Over The Total Lifetime Of A Vehicle, Which Includes The Manufacturing Process, According To Experts Who Spoke With Newsweek. However, The Picture Can Be Somewhat Complicated Depending On A Number Of Factors, Including The Local Energy Mix Where You Live.
Vera O’riordan, A Phd Student At The Marine And Renewable Energy Institute Based At The University College Cork Who Is Low -Carbon Passenger Transport Modeling, Told Newsweek That “As Electric Cars Run On Electricity, The Carbon Footprint Of The Electric Car When It Is Running Depends On Where The Electricity Comes From.”
“The Fuel Mix That Is Utilized To Generate Power Is A Major Factor In Determining The Carbon Footprint Of The Final Product. The Electricity That Is Generated From Renewable Sources Is Superior To The Electricity That Is Generated From Natural Gas, Which Is Superior To The Electricity That Is Generated From Diesel, Which Is Superior To The Electricity That Is Generated From Coal.”
In General, “Plug-In Vehicles Tend To Reduce Carbon Emissions For City Drivers In The Southwest, Texas, And Florida, Especially When Compared To A Typical Gasoline Car, Whereas Plug-In Vehicles Tend To Increase Carbon Emissions For Highway Drivers In Rural Counties Of The Great Plains, The Midwest, And The South, Especially When Compared To Gasoline Hybrids, Which Are Very Efficient,” According To One 2016 Study Authored By Michalek And Colleagues.
“Despite That, These Maps Are From A Bygone Era. In The Years To Come, Electric Vehicles Will Have An Advantage. We Anticipate That As The Electrical Infrastructure Becomes Cleaner, So Too Will Electric Vehicles (Evs) Themselves Become Cleaner. The Retirement Of Coal Plants Is The Most Critical Factor For The Life Cycle Emissions Of Electric Vehicles. The Greater The Shift Away From Coal, The More Appealing Electric Vehicles Appear To Be.”
According To Alan Jenn, An Assistant Professional Researcher At The Plug-In Hybrid And Electric Vehicle Group Of The Institute Of Transportation Studies At The University Of California, Davis, The Answer To The Question Of Whether Electric Vehicles (Evs) Or Vehicles That Burn Fossil Fuels Produce More Emissions Over The Course Of Their Lifetime Is Somewhat Complicated Because It Depends On Two Primary Assumptions.
The First Thing To Consider Is The Vehicle That Will Be Replaced With An Electric Vehicle, And The Second Thing To Consider Is The Source Of The Electricity That Will Be Used To Charge The Battery.
According To Jenn, “In The Most Pessimistic Studies, An Electric Vehicle That Charges Entirely On Power From A Coal Plant Would Be Approximately Equivalent To A Vehicle That Gets 30 Miles Per Gallon.” However, The Results Of The Majority Of Research Indicate That Electric Vehicles Don’t Deviate Too Far From The Equivalent Of Roughly 80 Miles Per Gallon In The United States, Making Them Cleaner Than Any Gasoline-Powered Vehicle Now Available On The Market.
“Even In The Poorest Places, One Of The Major Benefits Of Electric Vehicles Is That The U.S. Power System Is Growing Cleaner And Cleaner Over Time, Which Only Enhances These Calculations In Future Estimates. This Is One Of The Major Upsides Of Electric Vehicles.”
Would the Use of Electric Vehicles Reduce Pollution?
According To Jenn, The Reduction Of Local Air Pollutants Is One Of The Major Benefits Of Electric Vehicles Over Gasoline Vehicles In Addition To The Reduction In Carbon Emissions That Are Produced By Electric Vehicles.
“Combustion Of Fossil Fuels Not Only Results In The Emission Of Carbon Dioxide, Which Is A Greenhouse Gas That Contributes To Global Warming, But Also Results In The Release Of Other Compounds Such As Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, And Particulate Matter (Local Air Pollutants Which Lead To Negative Health Outcomes In Exposed Communities).
He Stated That “These Can Be Particularly Significant For Electrifying Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles And Can Potentially Enhance The Air Quality In Communities That Normally Suffer From Low Air Quality.” “These Can Be Particularly Beneficial For Electrifying Heavy-Duty Diesel Cars.”
Michalek Also Stated That Electric Vehicles Have The Potential To Cut Traditional Forms Of Air Pollution By “Dramatic” Amounts; However, This Reduction Is Highly Dependent On The Power Source.
The Production Of Electric Vehicles Raises Additional Concerns Because This Process Consumes Significant Amounts Of Resources And Results In The Release Of Harmful Emissions.
According To Michalek, “The Production Of Electric Vehicles Typically Results In Higher Levels Of Air Pollution Than The Production Of Gasoline Vehicles.” This Is Primarily Due To The Fact That The Production Of Large Battery Packs Requires A Significant Amount Of Energy And Results In Emissions From Processes Such As Smelting.
“However, The Use Of The Vehicle, Rather Than The Production Of The Vehicle Itself, Is The Primary Source Of Emissions For Both Electric And Gasoline-Powered Vehicles.
“Emissions From Producing Electric Vehicle Batteries Are An Important Part Of The Overall Life Cycle Implications, But The Use Phase Is The Larger Factor,” He Said. “Getting Electricity To Charge The Vehicle From A Clean Source Can More Than Make Up For The Higher Production Emissions.” [Citation Needed] “Emissions From Producing Electric Vehicle Batteries Are An Important Part Of The Overall Life Cycle Implications.”
According To Jenn, The Local Consequences And Long-Term Viability Of Material Extraction For Electric Vehicles Surely Provide A Distinct Set Of Challenges In Comparison To Those For Gasoline-Powered Vehicles.
The Fact That Some Academics Believe That The Benefits Of Preventing Climate Change Might Outweigh Some Of These Difficulties Does Not In Any Way Diminish The Severity Of Those Issues, He Said.
“Many Automakers And Battery Suppliers Are Working To Improve The Environmental Friendliness Of The Process Of Making Batteries By Doing Things Like Reducing The Use Of Materials That Present More Of A Challenge, Such As Cobalt, Whose Extraction Raises A Number Of Concerns Pertaining To Human Rights.”
If The Global Community Is Going To Achieve Its Climate Goals, According To O’riordan, The Shift To Electric Vehicles Is The Only Viable Option For The Transportation Problem.
“As Part Of Our Transition To A Low Carbon Economy, We Need To Reduce Demand For Travel In Order To Avoid The Necessity Of Trip In The First Place. We Also Need To Be Able To Facilitate A Modal Shift Toward Public Transportation And Active Modes Of Transportation. In Point Of Fact, First And Foremost, We Need To Construct Our Urban Environments And Work Cultures In Such A Manner That The Demand For Car Use And Travel In General Is Reduced To The Greatest Extent That Is Initially Conceivable.”