Top 3 reasons that EVs are better for the planet.
There is no doubt about it, electric vehicles (EVs) are a far cleaner alternative to that of their gas-guzzling cousins. But why exactly is this? You may wonder what the phrase “zero-emission” really means, or have heard concerning news about battery production. Here, we have highlighted and de-mystified our top three benefits an EV can have on the environment.
1. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions.
A familiar element of petrol and diesel vehicles is their tailpipe. This component allows the vehicle to expel harmful combustion engine waste products and release them into the atmosphere.
Electric cars on the other hand do not have tailpipes due to their battery-operated system, so they do not contribute to Nitrous Oxide air pollution or tailpipe Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This is due to not needing to burn fuel as the system’s source of energy, and so the car does not need to continuously emit waste gases: it’s zero-emission.
There are concerns around the carbon emissions involved in battery and electricity production for the EV, so let’s take a look at the total lifecycle of an EV vs petrol/diesel.
2. EVs have a much lower carbon footprint.
A medium-sized family petrol car creates and expels around 24 tonnes of CO2 during its entire life cycle. An electric vehicle (EV) saves approximately 65% of these emissions compared to its equivalent. [i]
Around 46% of a battery EV’s total carbon footprint is generated during the battery manufacturing stage, even before it even has the chance to drive the open roads. A large amount of energy is required to create EV batteries. Nonetheless, manufacturers have recognised this and are working towards reducing the amount of carbon emissions produced during this process, for example by requesting their suppliers to only use renewable energy sources during manufacture. Even in the past two years, the development of a standard EV battery has a reduced carbon footprint. [ii]
Once production is complete, EVs’ battery-operated engines are re-fuelled with electricity. This could be 100% renewable energy, which would not contribute to carbon emissions and contribute to the car’s neutral carbon footprint. Despite the argument that the electricity on the UK grid is not all renewable, even if the electricity came solely from gas-fired stations, the efficiency of producing electricity there vs burning fossil fuels in the car itself leads to much lower CO2 emissions per mile travelled. [iii]
All in all, including the process of battery manufacturing and electricity production, an electric car has a much lower carbon footprint over its total lifecycle.
3. Manufacturers use recycled materials.
So EV manufacturers are taking control to reduce the emissions produced during battery manufacture, with many enforcing supplier guidelines to ensure only renewable energy sources are used.
They are now also augmenting vehicle manufacture with the use of recycled materials for vehicle components. This has a practical advantage too, by creating a more lightweight vehicle, which in turn provides a greater range along with a smaller carbon footprint. Currently, this is only possible for the smaller components of vehicle production, but it’s likely we will see this make its way to the structural design of the vehicle itself too.
This will tick two very important boxes in motivating conscious consumers to switch to electric: promoting the use of recycled materials for the production of the car itself along with reducing the weight of the vehicle to enhance driving range. [iv]
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