What are the Environmental Effects of Electric Vehicles?


Electric vehicles are supported by governments and automobile manufacturers in many countries of the world and promoted as the key to reducing the use of environmentally harmful fossil fuels and combating climate change. Well, is it really so?
According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of electric vehicles on the roads is expected to reach 145 million worldwide by 2030. But the rapid popularity of electric vehicles also raises a new question: Are electric vehicles (EV: Electric Vehicles) really as green as they were advertised?

1. What are the Environmental Benefits of Electric Vehicles?

Climate change, as everyone knows, is a major problem that threatens the world's life today. Scientists are looking for solutions to minimize the negative consequences of this. Considering that countries are investing in renewable energy sources day by day, electric cars seem to be one of these solutions. So let's take a look at how EVs contribute to protecting environmental health:

1.1. Carbon Emission

The spread of electric cars is one of the strongest steps in reducing carbon emissions. Instead of using fossil fuels like conventional vehicles, EVs that run on electric motors do not have environmentally harmful components such as fuel tanks and exhaust pipes. In this way, electric vehicles with zero exhaust emissions are much more environmentally friendly than traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines.

1.2. Public transport

It is especially important to use EVs in public transportation vehicles that are constantly on the move and pollute the environment. In China, where more than 500 thousand electric buses are used, it is known that the environmental benefit of electric public transportation vehicles is more than three times the total benefit provided by all EVs used in the world.

2. Are Electric Vehicles Harmful to the Environment, and if so, what are they?

Whether the EVs that have already made a place for themselves in the world of the future are as environmentally friendly as it is thought, a new topic of discussion has been on the agenda lately. Although the general view is that electric vehicles are a more climate-friendly option than conventional vehicles, the way batteries are produced and charged, as well as the raw material problem, play a decisive role in their impact on the environment. In other words, EVs have some disadvantages as well as the advantages they provide to nature .

2.1. How Is It Charged?

The power required to charge EV batteries is supplied from an average grid, which often includes a mix of fossil fuel and renewable power plants. Assuming this, electric vehicles still seem much more environmentally friendly than traditional vehicles. But the emissions of electric vehicles depend on how much fossil fuel is used to charge the batteries. Charging
electric vehiclesUsing coal for food causes harm to the environment and even more air pollution. For this reason, countries need to restructure their electricity grid networks to be environmentally friendly. In the US, there are plans to switch to lower-emission natural gas, wind and solar power plants in the near future. Thus, it becomes more possible to produce clean energy for electric vehicles.

2.2. Production and Raw Material Problem

The production process of electric vehicles can cause more emissions than traditional vehicle production. This is often attributed to the fact that the raw materials used in the manufacture of batteries lead to an emission increase of around 40 percent.
Lithium-ion batteries are mostly used to power EVs. To extract lithium and produce batteries from it, it takes twice as much water as is used to manufacture conventional vehicles. Cobalt, another raw material used in battery production, produces hazardous wastes that can leak into the environment, threatening both the nature and the health of people working and living near the mine.

The 3rd Solution is in the Recycling of Batteries!

Most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which can store more energy than lead-acid batteries. However, while almost all lead-acid batteries are recycled, this rate remains around 5 percent in lithium-ion batteries. The fact that this percentage can be increased over time seems to lead to promising developments in terms of emissions.
With EVs, the range decreases when the battery capacity drops below 80 percent. For this reason, different uses are sought for recycled batteries. It is stated that the batteries can be used for grid storage. It is also envisaged that with proper operation, EV batteries can continue to be used as backup batteries for solar energy for more than ten years.

3.1. Importance of Renewable Energy Sources in Production

Today's EV batteries have a lower carbon footprint than a few years ago and are getting cleaner. It is thought that using only renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power during production could provide most of the energy needed to produce EV batteries without harmful emissions to the environment. The essence of the word; When production and charging processes are made more environmentally friendly and supported by recycling, EVs offer the most ideal solution to the world of the future for environmentally friendly transportation!

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