Electric Cars Claimed To Be Environmental Threats


According to a recent report, electric cars may produce much more pollution compared to conventional internal combustion vehicles. The said study was undertaken by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which found greenhouse gas emissions had increased dramatically because of the use of coal as fuel to produce electricity.

It also said that electric car factories emitted more toxic waste compared to conventional car factories in the report published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. On the other hand, the study also found that electric cars still made the sense.

The study focused on the life cycle impact of conventional and electric vehicles. The researchers considered how the production, the use and the end of life dismantling that affects the environment, as explained by study co-author Professor Anders Hammer Stromman.

He said, “The production phase of electric vehicles proved substantially more environmentally intensive. The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles.” The study compared how conventional cars are made, as well as the production of batteries and electric motors that require a lot of toxic minerals like nickel, copper and aluminium.

Professor Stromman added, “Across the other impacts considered in the analysis including potential for effects related to acid rain, airborne particulate matter, smog, human toxicity, ecosystem toxicity and depletion of fossil fuel and mineral resources, electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation.”

One recommendation would be to use electricity generated by low carbon sources which can then reach “the potential for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and exposusre to tailpipe emissions”. This though, may not be achievable especially in regions where fossil fuels are the main generators of power and electricity, as this would result in more harm than beneficial effects.

The report stated, “It is counterproductive to promote electric vehicles in regions where electricity is primarily produced from lignite, coal or even heavy oil combustion.”

One such region that would benefit would be Europe, where electricity is created in a different number of platforms. Electric cars would offer the benefits to the environment compared to what internal combustion engines would do. The report said, “Electric vehicles powered by the present European electricity mix offer a 10% to 24% decrease in their global warming potential relative to conventional diesel or petrol vehicles.”

The report said that longer the period an electric car remains mobile in Europe, the greater its beneficial effect over conventional cars. The report found, “Assuming a vehicle lifetime of 200,000 km exaggerates the global warming benefits of electric vehicles to 27 to 29% relative to petrol and 17 to 20% relative to diesel. An assumption of 100,000 km decreases the benefit of electric vehicles to 9 to 14% with respect to petrol vehicles and results in impacts indistinguishable from those of a diesel vehicle.”

The life of an electric car depends greatly on its battery life and this is the major expense in maintaining these vehicles. The technology though is getting better and this can result in electric cars having a longer service life. Even as the technology for conventional cars improve, these though do not remain constant as the report found, “A more significant reduction in global warming could potentially be achieved by increasing fuel efficiency or shifting from petrol to diesel. If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle for its environmental benefits, first check your electricity source and second look closely at the warranty on the batteries.”

Carbon Footprints for Electric Vehicles Differ


In a recent report by the Union of Concern Scientists, to be released on Monday, there is a significant difference between the amount of greenhouse gases resulting from the charging of the electric vehicles battery arrays.

These greenhouse gases are primarily carbon dioxide and these contribute to the climate change. These gases trap heat, leading to an increase in the global temperatures affecting the weather, as well as other environmental factors.

The report is entitled “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States”. The study used the electrical power requirements of a Nissan Leaf as the basis for comparison. The Leaf sets a logical baseline and what differs is the source of electricity as well as the greenhouse gases produced in the production of that electricity.

The study found that in Los Angeles, Ca., there is a low level of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, about the same levels as an internal combustion engine car running on gasoline having 79 miles to the gallon. On the other hand, the same vehicle in Denver would result in the production of greenhouse gases to enter the atmosphere, similar to vehicles such as the gasoline fueled Mazda 3 currently rated at 33 miles per gallon by the Environmental Protection Agency. This makes a major difference, as the California Nissan Leaf is hailed for its efficiency while the Denver Nissan Leaf’s carbon footprint is enlarged because of the electrical utilities that powers to charge the batteries.

Simply put, the effect of electric vehicles on the amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment spanning a wide range of sources, with variations as to the power producers that charges them.

The report takes into consideration the full cycle of energy production, called the well to wheels analysis. It identifies the areas where the electric utility relies on a variety of sources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, or other renewable sources in order to power generators. The potential for electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is great, but where power sources use the burning of a high percentage of coal, then despite the latest technology, may not be any different than the latest internal combustion engine models.

When current gasoline prices hover around U.S.$4 per gallon and with the increased production of electric vehicles, such as the Ford Focus and the Honda Fit, together with plug in hybrids such as the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius PHV and the Ford Fusion Energi, either already available or soon to become available, the study provides a better picture of the current energy landscape. The information that can be derived from the study can help car purchasers make better decisions for the future.