Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Environment?

9 Jan

kiachargeOne of the largest appeals of electric vehicles (EVs) for many consumers is their environmental friendliness. Air quality is a serious concern, and with average CO2 levels higher now than at any point in recorded history, many drivers are eager to do what they can to decrease their carbon footprint. Yet critics of EVs claim that, despite “feeling” more eco-friendly, electric vehicles can actually cause more damage to our environment than their internal-combustion counterparts.

Although this issue is more complicated than one might think, the reality is that, generally speaking, cars that rely on the power grid rather than fossil fuels are more efficient and better for the environment. Let’s analyze a few of the more popular arguments:

CONCERN: Producing EVs is Worse for the Environment

Since creating EV batteries requires mining, many people have rightly noted that the actual production of electric vehicles is more environmentally damaging than the production of conventional vehicles. While this is still largely the case, “cradle to grave” studies which follow EVs from production to demolition have found the advantages of EVs during their time on the road outweigh the disadvantages their production creates. And that’s without taking into account the fact that production of traditional cars, which is heavily dependent on oil, is getting more environmentally damaging by the year.

CONCERN: EV Batteries Can’t be Recycled

Since lead-acid batteries like those found in most internal-combustion propelled vehicles are 98% recyclable, drivers can feel good knowing that at least their daily driver won’t provide too much pollution once its driving days are done. But the lithium-ion batteries that power EVs are full of incredibly valuable materials, to the point that companies are springing up with the intention of recycling EV batteries to sell the valuable metals in them.

CONCERN: Electric Bills Will Go Up From Charging

While adding a car to the list of things using electricity in your home will certainly raise your monthly power bill, charging a car is dramatically less expensive than fueling one. Ask yourself this: do you spend more than $500 a year on gas? If you answered yes, an EV will probably save you a bundle.

EVs still aren’t for everyone, every year more and more people are embracing the advantages of these fun, environmentally friendly vehicles.