Are Electric Cars As Green As You Think?

India is on the verge of a major shift for automobiles, a lot of world-renowned companies are currently investing in India due to this shift and capturing their market share as soon as possible as it is one of the biggest automobile markets in the world.

The major shift is from IC engines to an electric-powered vehicle. It seems a very lucrative idea from the front as we are very close to a global climate change, this might make you feel good that we are doing something good for the environment, but how green are these electric vehicles?

 Norway the world leader in electric vehicles usage can claim that the cars used are emitting minimal emissions as their ultimate source of electricity is hydro-powered rather than thermal powered, which is the major source of electricity in a country like India, if ultimately we are burning more coal to power those EV’s then what difference does it make?….

Yes, it is true that harmful emissions on roads will be reduced significantly but the overall carbon footprint will remain similar to their gasoline counterpart if we continue to rely on current practices. Both types of vehicles begin in much the same way. Raw materials are extracted, processed, transported, and manufactured into various components that are assembled into the car itself. Because electric cars store power in large Lithium-ion batteries, which requires a lot of material and energy to produce, their global warming emissions at this early stage usually exceed those of conventional vehicles.

Manufacturing a mid-sized EV creates 15 percent more emissions than manufacturing an equivalent gasoline vehicle. For larger, longer-range EVs’ that travel a longer distance in a single charge, the manufacturing emissions can be as much as 68 percent higher. Tesla Model S is supposedly an electric car that has almost four times lower CO2 per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car so it is still cleaner to drive an electric vehicle.

However, the electric cars need to be light, which requires rare metals so that they can sustain the loads and still remain lightweight so extracting them also adds to the carbon footprint of EVs’. Overall, “the greenhouse-gas-emissions footprint of electric vehicles can be pretty high on the front end, as they’re being built,” says McConnell an economist at the environmental research firm Resources for the Future.

Even solar panels depend on rare metals that have to be dug out of the earth and processed in less-than-green ways, says David Abraham, author of the book The Elements of Power.  David S. Abraham unveils what rare metals are and why our electronic gadgets, the most powerful armies, and indeed the fate of our planet depend on them.

Moreover, the disposal system of these Lithium-ion batteries is not effective as there are very less recycled batteries being used though the good news is that Lithium-Ion battery has the potential of almost 98% recycling which means almost all of those metals can be taken out and reused but an effective and large scale recycling doesn’t exist yet. A ray of hope is that according to Tesla’s former CTO Jeffrey Brian Straubel says that the company already recycles almost all battery packs returned to it and plans to do more. Nissan is able to recycle around 15-16 batteries a year that is negligible as compared to the electric vehicle which is about to come on the roads in the coming year.

Currently, electric vehicles might not be able to produce the result of less climate pollution than their gasoline counterparts but they’re getting cleaner. Optimizing EV production and disposal or reuse of batteries could further increase their environmental benefits. And as electricity becomes cleaner, the difference between electric cars and gasoline cars will only grow—cementing the role of electric vehicles. We have just scratched the surface and we can see some results so this technology has a lot of potentials which will play a major role in the transportation industry in the coming future.

Written By

Kanishq Dubey

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