Electric vehicles (EV) and their production have emerged as the latest trend in the auto industry, with various acclaimed and well-known auto companies such as Tesla, Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, and many more falling straight into the mainstream. Even luxury brands like Audi, Porsche, and BMW have embraced the trend and have recently launched electric models. Given the growing preference for electric vehicles, could it be a story that petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles are going extinct in a few decades?
The biggest benefit of electric cars is the contribution they can make to improving air quality in towns and cities. Pure electric cars without exhaust pipes produce no carbon dioxide emissions while driving. This significantly reduces air pollution. Simply put, electric cars are giving us cleaner streets, making our towns and cities a better places for pedestrians and cyclists.
The environmental impact of an electric car can increase or decrease significantly depending on how the electricity that charges its battery is made. A coal-fired power station emits 800-850 grams of CO2 per kWh (recent estimates suggest this could be lower at 650g per kWh), while a cleaner, gas-fired power station emits 350-400g of CO2 per kWh. When using renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines, approximately 36g of CO2 is released per kWh, considering emissions during the production processes. Therefore, if a car is charged using renewable energy, the negative impact on the environment is much lower than if it is charged using electricity from a coal-fired power station.
How does electric car production affect the environment?
Building an electric car takes a lot of energy. Even after considering battery production, electric cars are still the greener option. This is due to the reduction in emissions created over the life of the car.
Emissions during the production of an electric car tend to be higher than that of a conventional car. This is due to the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, which are an essential part of an electric car. More than a third of lifetime CO2 emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to build the car itself.
Recycling batteries is also a growing market. Research into the use of second-hand batteries is looking for ways to reuse batteries in new technologies such as electricity storage. One day we may all have batteries in our homes that are used to store our energy.
Electric Vehicles as an asset to the environment
- Zero exhaust emissions biggest factor that makes electric vehicles an asset is that electrically powered EVs emit zero exhaust (direct) emissions. Emissions from electric driving are much less than those from gasoline or diesel driving. Electric cars produce significantly lower emissions over their lifetime than vehicles powered by fossil fuels, regardless of the source generating the electricity.
- Cleaner CO2 emissions
Exhaust emissions have a direct and serious impact on the air quality of their location. However, the CO2 emissions of electric vehicles are much cleaner compared to the emissions of the most environmentally friendly petrol engines. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, all-electric vehicles emit an average of 4,450 pounds of CO2 each year, while conventional cars emit twice as much CO2 per year.
- Fewer Particles
ICE vehicles, even new ones, emit large amounts of harmful particulate pollution. The emission of these particles can have a variety of serious health consequences, including asthma, heart attack, cancer, and many other diseases. Meanwhile, electric vehicles do not release these particles directly into the street air.
- Reducing Noise Pollution
Electric motors are generally very quiet, especially compared to ICE vehicles and exhaust systems, and therefore produce less noise pollution. Gas and diesel vehicles can be combined with mufflers to reduce noise, while mufflers are generally noisier than their stock counterparts.
- Night charging provides cleaner energy
This is when wind generation is most important in the energy mix, with overall energy consumption being lower at night. So, charging at night leads to electric vehicles that help consume a better amount of renewable energy. Besides that, it acts as a shield to stabilize the electrical system.
Are electric cars worth it?
If you’re considering buying a new car, it’s natural to wonder, are electric cars worth it? The benefits of electric cars are generous and clear, but you also want to know the cons of electric cars. It may cost more to buy and insure your car, but you’ll likely recoup some of that with lower fuel costs.
If you’re considering buying an electric vehicle, you probably don’t drive much or are actively considering driving less. Pay-per-mile auto insurance may be right for you and can help you cut car insurance costs.
With Metromile, you can see if the pay-per-kilometer motor insurance is suitable for you. Download the Metromile app and take a free trial of Ride Distance™. For approximately two weeks, you will drive as usual (you must keep your current insurance policy to be insured during the trial). You will then see how much you can save if you switch to a usage-based insurance policy.
Drivers can also save up to an extra 15% off their first Metromile auto insurance price if they demonstrate that they are safe drivers during the Ride Together™ in certain states.
While electric vehicles have huge challenges ahead, their use can be a huge asset to protect the environment, how viable an asset will be will largely depend on the type of vehicle as well as the source of electricity.
– Amrin Ahmed