How electric cars help the environment
The evolution from combustion engines to electric cars has transformed the transportation industry. The introduction of electric vehicles has brought many benefits to car owners and the environment. Climate change and sustainability have been hot topics in the past decade, and governments are looking for ways to reduce greenhouse emissions and protect the environment.
Electric cars use batteries to power the vehicles. Hence, drivers don't need to use petrol or diesel. The engines also generate minimal pollutants, making them clean transport options. If you're wondering how electric cars help the environment, read on to learn how.
UK’s net-zero target
Research shows that road transport accounts for half of the air pollution in major cities like London. The UK government introduced a net-zero strategy that focuses on transitioning to green technology and clean energy to reduce carbon emissions. The strategy covers issues such as ending reliance on natural gas, the creation of nuclear power stations and encouraging the transition to electric vehicles. Through the strategy, the government introduced a zero-emission vehicle mandate that will set targets for car manufacturers to produce zero-emission cars from 2024. The ban on the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035 has also increased the use of zero-emission vehicles. The government also targets to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, and electric cars will play a huge role in transitioning to clean energy sources.
How does electric car production affect the environment?
It's no secret that the electric car manufacturing processes use a lot of energy. However, electric vehicles are still the greener option since they promote the reduction of emissions over a car's lifetime. Air pollution during the creation of electric vehicle batteries is higher than in conventional cars. The manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries results in high carbon footprints. Studies show that battery manufacture results in a third of the lifetime CO2 emission from electric cars. Fortunately, car manufacturers are developing sustainable ways to reduce carbon emissions. Today's electric vehicles have a lower carbon footprint than the first batteries. That's because battery manufacturers are using renewable energy sources during production.
Environmental benefits of electric vehicles
Improved air quality
Traditional vehicle engines produce exhaust fumes from the internal combustion of petrol or diesel to generate energy. The exhaust gases consist of carbon and other pollutants. When you drive a diesel or petrol car on the road, your car emits gases, polluting the environment. By contrast, electric vehicles use batteries, which don't produce exhaust. Hence, the cars are emission-free, and you can recharge them when the power is depleted without contributing to air pollution.
Since electric vehicles don't run on fossil fuels or produce harmful pollutants, they can reduce pollution in urban areas. The switch to electric cars contributes to a greener and cleaner air in cities. Reduced pollution lowers the healthcare costs you incur from a respiratory problem caused by poor air quality. It also increases life expectancy.
Lower CO2 emissions
According to European Energy Agency research, carbon emissions from electric vehicles are between 17% and 30% lower than from diesel motors or petrol-powered cars. Most of the carbon emissions from EVs are from electricity generation using fossil fuels and battery manufacturing. Emissions are usually produced before you drive the vehicle but are reduced over its lifetime since the car generates zero emissions on the road. Internal combustion engine vehicles produce CO2 whenever the engine is on, which results in a massive carbon footprint.
Many electric car manufacturers are looking for ways to further lower carbon emissions. For instance, you can find low carbon electricity as manufacturers introduce charging points that use renewable energy. Some people also use solar energy to recharge electric cars at home, minimising the environmental impact of EVs.
Reduced demand for fossil fuels
The leading cause of climate change and global warming is using fossil fuels. That means governments need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. A quick way to transition from fossil fuel dependence is by introducing other clean energy sources. Electric vehicles play a crucial role in minimising the demand for fossil fuels. When you drive an electric car, you don't depend on fossil fuel energy, unlike internal combustion engines that rely on oil to power the vehicles.
Reduced noise pollution
Noise pollution impacts the quality of life in cities and urban centres. Traffic noise is a significant contributor to noise pollution. While many people consider noise pollution a mere nuisance, too much noise has adverse emotional and health effects. The internal combustion engine vibrates when driving a petrol or diesel-powered car, and the moving parts produce noise. Electric vehicles neutralise noise pollution by producing minimal noise on the road. Electric cars don't have mechanical valves, fans and gears that produce noise. Their motors produce minimal vibrations, making your rides around the city quiet.
Supports using renewable energy
Electric vehicles save the environment by lowering your carbon footprint. The invention of electric vehicles has led to the adoption of renewable energy in various production stages to lower the carbon footprint further. Renewable energy has experienced record levels of growth since the invention of electric vehicles. Inventions are underway to increase the use of renewable energy for charging electric cars and during production.
Many people install solar energy to charge their electric cars at home, and some charging stations use green energy. Electricity suppliers also invent ways to generate greener energy for charging cars, like nuclear power stations.
Use of eco-friendly materials
The first electric vehicles faced a major challenge due to the heavy electric batteries. The heavy batteries placed at the bottom of the car reduce their functionality. Hence, electric car manufacturers have been exploring lightweight materials that improve the performance of EVs. The use of eco-friendly materials in batteries and the cars' structure has reduced the weight of electric vehicles significantly. Lightweight materials are often eco-friendly and lower the carbon footprint of EVs.
Most EV manufacturers have adopted organic and recycled materials in EV production since they are lightweight, strong and durable. More inventions involving improved eco-friendly materials to create lighter and more efficient vehicles are coming up. For instance, electric cars' framework is made from aluminium, which is strong, lightweight and recyclable. The steering wheels and seat frames are made from fabricated magnesium, while the composite body is made from recyclable and impact-resistant composite plastic. Weight reduction isn't the only advantage of recycled materials. The materials are sustainable and kind to the environment compared to the metals and plastics used in other cars. Some electric car manufacturers also add solar glasses to the windshield to prevent overheating in high temperatures.
Are hybrid electric cars good for the environment?
Plug-in hybrid electric cars have an electric motor and a traditional fuel engine. Hence, they produce emissions when you use petrol or diesel. While they provide similar environmental benefits as purely electric cars, their green credentials depend on the driving range of the electric battery and the power source used to charge the car. If you use the battery on your rides, you are making a significant contribution to minimising carbon emissions. Choosing renewable energy sources for charging your hybrid electric cars also reduces the carbon footprint. Plug-in hybrids also conserve energy sources since you don't have to plug in every time to recharge the battery. The regenerative braking system changes kinetic energy into electrical energy that recharges the battery during braking.
Should you buy an eco-friendly car?
If you want to play your part in protecting the environment, you should consider green cars. Whether you go for hybrids or pure electric cars, you will contribute to reducing carbon emissions on the road. Your major concern when choosing an EV to take home should be the level of carbon emissions. Hybrids have emissions, but electric cars are zero-emission vehicles. Government grants and tax incentives also make eco-friendly vehicles a welcome idea. You enjoy grants for buying new electric cars and are exempted from various taxes for using petrol and diesel in urban centres. There is also low or non-existent fuel consumption, which saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Eco-friendly cars are gaining popularity, and if you want to upgrade to the latest models, you can get a favourable resale value. Buying new cars also comes with various incentives like warranties, and some car manufacturers provide a free Wallbox for home charging.
Electric cars don't just help the environment. They speed up innovations in renewable energy and promote the growth of green transportation and environmental-friendly initiatives. For instance, driving electric cars has spurred innovations in energy storage, which increases the use of renewable energy globally. Electric vehicles achieve practical carbon savings by reducing emissions on the roads. More environmental benefits will be achieved with technological advancements in sourcing energy from electrical sources and building greener batteries. Electric vehicles are also efficient and can use eco-friendly materials without diminishing their performance levels, making them the best green alternative.