Electric Cars: Are they better?
Electric Cars: Are they better?Back to News
Most of us drive, and use cars every day to get around, it’s an essential for the modern day really! It’s common knowledge how bad petrol pollution is, so when the announcement came last year that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars are going to be banned from the year 2030, this sparked the overall question of whether electric cars are really better environmentally? Let’s take a look.
Ultimately there are two main reasons that electric cars are better for our planet:
Electric cars run on renewable energy, this means that they don’t burn any fuel like petrol and diesel cars do. Therefore, no air pollution happens whilst they are being driven, amazing right? And, in the UK, the level of carbon emissions has decreased by almost two thirds in the last decade, (which is the fastest in the world by the way!) and every year that this continues, electric cars become better for our environment.
I’m no expert on cars, but apparently the way cars current convert fuel into movement, just isn’t good at all. Even in the most efficient petrol engines out there, only around 12-30% of the energy that is taken from burning the fuel is used to make the wheels turn and other components necessary to drive. Electric cars have motors that are more toward 77% efficient, meaning they get over two times the amount of miles from the same amount of energy as a petrol car.
It seems that electric cars are the way to go, which is why the manufacturing of petrol and diesel cars is coming to an end, but there are some drawbacks (as always) to their impact.
I mentioned previously that electric cars do not emit air pollution when they are driven, that is true in terms of their engine, but a lot of people don’t realise the pollution that comes from tyres and brake systems. There is a load of weight and friction when any car is driven, and this scrapes off tiny particles of plastic and other horrible materials that end up in our air. So electric cars are good in one sense, but they don’t solve the whole issue when it comes to pollution.
Furthermore, even though they are running on renewable energy, there is still the problem of charging them. If the source of energy to power an electric cars battery is from solar panels or wind turbines then it will be fine, but as most will come from the normal way of burning fossil fuels, then the emissions will be just as high.
Similarly, even though both are awful, electric cars generate more carbon emissions in its manufacturing process. Why? Because of the way electric cars store their energy. The massive batteries that are used are made of very damaging materials such as lithium, cobalt, and graphite. These rare elements are only available beneath the Earth’s surface; therefore, they depend on harmful mining processes to get to. Although, as I said before, there are more renewable sources becoming mainstream, which would decrease the need for these kind of batteries.
All in all, there are a lot of factors when deciding to purchase a new car, and it’s difficult to talk about all of them in one entry! Greenpeace has some great articles about electric cars and the recent government announcement.
Ultimately, as more research and breakthroughs happen concerning renewable energy, electric cars seem like the right path to go down, but until these happen, I’d say to just go with what fits your lifestyle best, whether it’s size, budget or even colour. There’s also the great option of second-hand cars, and if they are electric and second-hand, then that’s even better!!
Thanks for reading,