Purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is how many people plan to reduce their personal carbon footprint, but is it really better for the environment? For many people, EVs are considered an important step in restoring balance to the climate and creating a more sustainable environment for future generations.
Fossil Fuel Emissions
Gasoline powered vehicles emit harmful carbon emissions through tailpipe exhaust. These emissions, which include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and other particulate matter are extremely damaging to the environment, and play a key role in accelerating climate change. In 2019, 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the USA came from the burning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector.
In contrast, batteries that power EVs are free of emissions. The lithium-ion batteries found in EVs can be charged regularly without contributing toxic air pollution or damaging greenhouse gases to the environment
Is Your Charging Station Using Clean Energy?
Probably not.....A majority of electric vehicle charging stations are still powered by traditional power plants that emit harmful pollutants to the environment. The level of coal, oil, or natural gas used by a country to power the energy grid determines how much more significant an EV’s carbon footprint truly is. Thankfully, research has shown that even if charging stations are powered by traditional means (fossil fuels), the level of greenhouse gases can be significantly reduced . As energy grids begin to rely less on fossil fuels, EV’s will contribute even less to carbon emissions.
Is EV Battery Production Carbon Neutral?
With offsets from reduced tailpipe emissions, improvements in battery production, and the use of renewable energy in production processes, it is possible for battery production to be a net carbon neutral process. The vast majority of the emissions created by EVs are in the battery manufacturing process, especially if the manufacturer is irresponsible. As the process of creating an EV battery becomes standardized, the carbon footprint is also beginning to decrease.
Manufacturers like Tesla are taking large strides to keep their manufacturing process as clean as possible. Some suppliers have gone as far as strictly using renewable energy sources like wind and solar to power their battery production plants. EV battery manufacturing emissions are already lower than they were a few years ago.
It is important for an EV to be as light as possible to ensure the batteries range. Metals used in regular vehicles are not only heavy but are a burden on the environment. EV manufacturers are using more and more recycled materials in their EVs to improve range and durability while also minimizing their impact on the environment.
Is an EV Better for the Environment?
It is pretty clear that using a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a hybrid electric vehicle is better for the health of the atmosphere and the environment as a whole. It is not a perfect process, but a good first step in the direction of change. Change as we all know is never easy, but usually beneficial.