How Green are Electric Cars?

Since Electric Vehicles first entered the market, there are groups who have questioned how environmentally friendly they are. Many have pointed to the emissions produced during the manufacturing process of EVs, but the question that needs answering is what is the real environmental advantage of owning an electric vehicle over petrol or diesel-powered car?

Electric Vehicles Batteries

Electric Vehicles reduce air pollution

Electric cars also have no tailpipe emissions, and therefore, it is estimated that an electric car powered from today’s electric grid could emit between 15 per cent to 40 per cent less CO2 over its lifetime than a similar-sized petrol car. This is significant because road transport is responsible for over 22 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions and unsurprisingly, cars produce the vast majority of this.

For example, although diesel cars release 20% less CO2 than petrol cars, they still produce particles dangerous to health. The premature deaths of a staggering 5,000 people a year were found to be due to emissions from diesel cars across Europe. In contrast, all-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which can help improve air quality in urban areas. When Paris banned fossil-fuelled vehicles from the city centre, air pollution fell by 40 per cent, and noise pollution halved.

Similarly, a study by Northwestern University in the US found that even when EV electricity is generated from combustion sources, electric vehicles have a net positive impact on air quality and climate change; “We found that EV adoptions reduces net carbon emissions and has the added benefit of reducing air pollutants, thereby improving public health.”

The advancements in technology mean that battery recycling, rapid public charging and ecological benefits can allow EV’s the chance to displace fossil fuels as the main source behind the world’s transport systems.

Of course, replacing the billions of petrol cars which roam the road with electric vehicles won’t happen overnight, but many analysts are predicting that an all-electric future is becoming increasingly inevitable. Sales of EVs are booming around the world, with 70% growth in 2018 alone as well as multiple EU countries signing EV targets into their law, with France and the UK both aiming to ban the sale of fossil-fuelled cars by 2040.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.