Compare Electric Vehicles to Gasoline Cars in CO2 emissions feature

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Are Electric Cars Actually Better For The Environment?

Often called "zero emissions" vehicles, electric cars are surely better for the environment, right? --- not so fact.

Their entire life-cycle from manufacture to use to disposal, needs to be considered when determining their environmental impact. We can’t just look at their tailpipes.

>> Electric Cars Are not Really Green, This is Reason Why

So, talking everything into consideration all electric vehicles actually better for the environment than our old cars.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS, recently conducted a cradle to grade the study to dig into this question. Starting by comparing the manufacturing of battery electric and petrol cars and materials and resources is used. They used a Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf to represent battery-electric vehicles, also known as BEVS, and comparable midsize and fullsize gasoline cars. They found that before they even hit the road – electric vehicles actually are responsible for about 1 ton more emissions than their traditional counterparts. Yes, that’s a winning point for your gasoline powered car.

Are Electric Cars Actually Better For The Environment?

Are Electric Cars Actually Better For The Environment?

This is largely because of the BEVs lithium-ion batteries, which require the extraction of rare earth metals, often through drilling, just like with oil. Not a very eco-friendly activity.

When it comes to disposing of BEVs, they don’t seem to be any better than regular cars either. In fact, they may have a greater environmental footprint because it’s tricky to dispose of their lithium ion batteries. But data here is lacking.

Electric cars in India equal to 20 MPG (8.5 km/L) gasoline vehicles

Electric cars in India equal to 20 MPG (8.5 km/L) gasoline vehicles

Now when on the road, BEVs don’t emit CO2, but their batteries need to be charged from electricity that has to come from somewhere – and this somewhere might have a CO2 output of its own. A report based on 2009 national averages found that if the electricity is coming primarily from a country like India where coal accounts for about 60% of electricity generated. In this country Your BEV ends up emitting CO2 at about the same levels as a 20 mpg car. In the US, where the fuel sources are cleaner, this figure only rose to 40 mpg - which is basically the average for a really efficient petrol car. So, at this point, you may be thinking if electric cars pollute more when they’re built, just about the same when they’re junked, and their battery charges can pollute even more than efficient gas car. Then of course electric vehicles aren’t greener.

Electric cars in USA equal to 40 MPG (17 km/L) gasoline vehicles (2009 data)

Electric cars in USA equal to 40 MPG (17 km/L) gasoline vehicles (2009 data)

Figures from studies like this, one are often cited to make the case against electric vehicles. But here’s thing, since 2009 BEVs have become more efficient and while India has added more coal powered plants, the US has not, opting instead for renewable sources. Looking at 2015 data, the UCS determined that BEVs in the US are now the equivalent of cars that go 68mpg. And in countries like Paraquay and Iceland, the electricity is so clean that a BEV there would be like having a car that goes more than 200 miles per gallon. Their electricity grids are powered by more water, wind, and solar energy, than other countries. When it comes to emissions, BEVs here are many times better for the environment than petrol cars.

in 2015, Electric cars in USA equal to 68 MPG (29 km/L) gasoline cars

In 2015, Electric cars in USA equal to 68 MPG (29 km/L) gasoline cars

What’s more, the longer you drive an electric car, the better it stacks up against gas vehicles. The UCS found that basically, if you drive an EV for a month, you might as well by a car. But drive that puppy for 2 years and you’re helping the environment.

All said and done, the UCS found that electric vehicles produce about 50% fewer emissions than a regular car in the US. Basically, the comparative environmental benefits increase the more you drive and the cleaner the electricity source.

Until now, we are, of course, only talking about global warming emissions, we’re not saying that one type of car is better than another. You might have preference for other reasons. Maybe you’re into salt powered cars. We will give this kind of energy source soon in the near future.

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Compare Electric Vehicles to Gasoline Cars in CO2 emissions feature
Compare Electric Vehicles to Gasoline Cars in CO2 emissions feature

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