The hefty fuel costs and need for greener and more improved initiatives have pushed many organizations and conventional vehicle owners to switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Besides curbing the costs of fuel, which is estimated to cost 3 cents per mile compared to gasoline that costs 10 cents per mile, electric vehicles also reduce the operating expenses of larger firms. They also reduce a business’s greenhouse gas emissions, putting the business in good books with the government.
So, what do these reductions in gas emission and operating expenses mean to the environment? This article briefly discusses the environmental impacts of EVs against internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Electric Vehicles Produce Zero Tailpipe Emissions
Fully hybrid vehicles do not need a tailpipe since there is no exhaust produced. Traditionally, internal combustion engines burn gasoline or diesel to produce the energy that drives the car. The result is the production of harmful carbon gas that is emitted through the tailpipe.
Electric vehicles are powered by electric motors that do not produce any harmful carbon in energy creation. This means there is no use for a tailpipe if the vehicle is fully electric. The batteries used in hybrid or electric vehicles are also emission-free. For instance, the most common battery type, the lithium-ion battery, used in electric vehicles can be depleted and charged repeatedly without emitting hazardous gases on air.
Though the manufacture of EVs can be more environmentally hazardous, the overall EVs remain the cleanest option in the locomotive industry, with their electric driving making up for the higher manufacturing emissions. Therefore, an electric vehicle or hybrid produces about half of a conventional vehicle’s carbon emissions over its lifetime.
Hybrids or EVs Contribute Fewer Emissions Even on Fossil Fuels
While most hybrid charging stations use renewable energy to charge electric vehicles, other stations still use coal-burning power plants and similar energy sources that are classified as unfriendly to the environment. Such energy sources as coal, oil, or natural gas used to power and charge hybrids and electric vehicles can leave a significant carbon effect on the environment.
Electric vehicle manufacturers are, however, working to ensure that their vehicles produce fewer emissions even on coal-powered charging and driving. For instance, countries that rely on coal like China have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by using electric cars. Other countries that have less or no reliance on fossil fuels experience greener electric vehicles with clean energy sources.
In short, whether the hybrids or electric vehicles are using fossil fuels, there is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than conventional ICE vehicles.
Clean Production of Electric Vehicle Batteries
The fact that electric vehicles produce less or no gas emissions on the road can be contradictory to the battery production process. With hybrids and electric vehicles being a newer technology, there is still inconsistency in the industry standards regarding the energy sources used to make EV batteries. This results in larger carbon emissions by the manufacturers.
The effect is, however, changing with today’s EVs battery production having a carbon footprint of about 2 to 3 times lower than two years ago. Today’s EV manufacturers are also setting guidelines to ensure their batteries are produced and supplied in an eco-friendly manner. For example, their suppliers are only required to use renewable energy sources like solar and wind in production.
As a result, using renewable energy sources provides a larger amount of energy needed to produce EV batteries without polluting the environment. Top EV automakers like Tesla, for example, are strategizing on using 100% renewable energy sources to manufacture their batteries.
There Is A Continuous Pollution by ICEs
A conventional internal combustible engine produces carbon emissions every time it is powered on. For instance, a gasoline-powered vehicle produces an average of 5 to 6 metric tons of CO2 yearly. Moreover, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that ICE carbon emissions surpass the EVs’ well-to-wheel emissions in only 6 to 18 months of operation.
The ownership of millions of ICE vehicles globally means that carbon emissions will continue to haunt the environment in greater volumes. Therefore, the solution lies in the electrification of vehicles for a neutral carbon footprint.
Most environmental pollution related to EV vehicles is only at the battery production process and the coal-fueled charging stations. After the manufacture, there is no more pollution by hybrids and electric vehicles. This means the total carbon emissions can be gauged even before it starts up for the first time.
Use of Eco-Friendly Materials in Manufacturing EVs
Among other factors that contribute to successful electric vehicle production, the body weight and style determine the installation of the batteries and electric motors. This means the manufacturers should ensure their vehicles are lightweight for greater performance. However, there is a challenge in using traditional heavier materials when trying to achieve an EV with a greater range and smaller carbon footprint.
Today, most EV manufacturers are using recycled and organic materials that are lightweight, eco-friendly, strong, and durable to make more functional electric vehicles. Although conventional vehicle manufacturers are also using recycled materials for smaller components, they do not use them for vehicle structures. This makes EV manufacturers the only beneficiaries.
The use of recycled and organic material in EV is not only limited to weight reduction. It also impacts the environment positively by lowering or eliminating carbon emissions. Since using new materials like metals and plastic is considered unsustainable and hazardous, replacing them with all-natural or recycled material minimizes the pollution in both pre-and post-production stages.
The Bottom Line
Hybrid or electric vehicles are still new to most vehicle owners and manufacturers. However, the technology is expected to pick up and grow more rapidly following the gradual advancements in the locomotive industry. Electrical vehicles are also expected to curb the environmental effects caused by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by reducing the carbon footprint. They also offer both businesses and consumers an intelligent alternative for a cleaner environment. Therefore, while only a few businesses or families own electric vehicles, it is high time people should think about switching to hybrid vehicles for a cleaner and greener world.
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