Electric vehicles are often touted as the harbingers of a greener future. As the reality of climate change becomes increasingly more desperate, finding a cleaner way of transporting ourselves is a necessity. As gas vehicles are saddled with a number of issues in this regard, it seems clear that electricity is the way to go.
But every new movement has its skeptics and naysayers. Those searching for a flaw in electric cars often posit the issue of making the battery. They argue that manufacturing an electric car battery is a dirty process, and that it creates even more environmental harm than simply a producing a modern gas vehicle.
Is this true? Does building an electric car battery damage the environment?
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Environmental Impact of Electric Car Batteries
While building an electric car battery does utilize rare earth metals and generate CO2, the amount of harm inflicted on planet Earth depends greatly on the manufacturing techniques and infrastructure utilized in its creation. When performed responsibly, the pollution generated from making an electric car battery is about the same, or a slight bit more, than that which comes from making diesel-based or petrol engines.
Different countries use different levels of infrastructure and manufacturing techniques when producing electric batteries. Currently, Chinese EV battery manufacturers produce up to 60% more CO2 than during ICEV (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle) engine production. However, a comparative study between EVs and ICEV manufacturing in China asserts that these emissions could be cut by up to 66% if American or European manufacturing techniques are adopted.
Compounding the information above, a 2018 International Council on Clean Transportation (ICTT) report illustrates that the countries in which the batteries are being produced, in addition to battery composition, has a high impact on emissions levels during battery production.
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Are electric cars better for the environment?
Like many things these days, there’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know for sure. The important thing is that humanity keeps developing towards cleaner energy solutions. Electric cars typically have the image of being more environmentally-friendly, but there are a lot of arguments out there both in favor of and against their use. Like so many things, it also often comes across as being tied to particular political mentalities.