Electric Cars And Driving Sustainability

author avatarPaul Hadley
15th November, 2019
Filed under Car Topics

In recent times, there have been a lot of talks about climate change and driving sustainability. One of the elements that have been pointed out as a significant contributing factor to climate change is transportation. As of 2018, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere reached the highest it has ever attained in 3 million years. Having pointed out transportation as a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, one of the solutions recommended for sustainability is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

This has given rise to the invention and wide adoption of electric cars (electric vehicles (EV)) as a sustainable alternative to combustion engine cars that are widely in use. The use of electric vehicles is seen as an essential way of slowing climate change and making our planet a healthy place to live. Electric cars fight climate change by powering transportation with electricity, not fossil fuels.

With each passing day, more and more people are choosing to drive sustainably. In 2018 alone, the sales of EV grew at a rate of 68%.

Do Electric Cars Really Drive Sustainability? If Yes, How Sustainable Are Electric Cars?

The truth remains that when it comes to climate change, greenhouse emission and environmental sustainability, electric vehicles are preferable to petrol or diesel cars. The science is clear; electric cars are powered by electric motors that pull current from a rechargeable battery or other portable sources of electricity. Once the vehicle is moving, there are no chemical reactions, only an electric one. All these are possible; thanks to the power the vehicles’ rechargeable batteries have in them as a result of previous charging. With this basic concept of electric cars, it’s evident that no carbon or other types of greenhouse gases are produced. No greenhouse gas emission means no climate change. One can liken this to the “rechargeable” mobile phone, which we all know doesn’t produce any form of greenhouse gases.

How Sustainable Are Electric Cars?

According to experts, no car will ever be 100% clean and sustainable. We just have to go with the best alternative, which at the moment are electric cars.

There have been many studies on the benefits of electric cars, its sustainability and its impacts. These studies conclude that electric cars, though sustainable, are not 100% sustainable. When you think of it, the processes involved in manufacturing these cars are mostly non-sustainable. Besides the source of energy that runs electric car production facilities, the metals and other critical raw materials used in their production, consume large amounts of energy, and often, toxic substances are involved in the manufacturing process.

Car rentals and other companies say they include electric cars into their options mix but there are not many clients who prefer this type. “In the US, we work with electric car brands such as the Toyota Prius as well as different Tesla models, but we haven’t noticed that clients were eager to pick these cars specifically,” — says representative of GetTransfer, a transfer bookings and chauffeured car rentals service.

Furthermore, the adoption of electric cars comes with the introduction of charging points to power the rechargeable batteries of electric vehicles. The power sources in these charging points are mostly petrol or diesel engines, which produce the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Additionally, a wide adoption of electric cars will lead to an increase in electricity grid in many places. When this happens, the numerous power transmission lines will affect vegetation, wetlands and other natural areas. Consequently, electric car use, can indirectly contribute to climate change.

What’s The Way Forward To Make Electric Cars More Sustainable And Realize Their Full Environmental Benefits?

For electric cars to drive optimal sustainability, there’s a need to adopt every environmental sustainability means in their production, use and scrapping.

First, there is a need to ensure that the electricity supply used for producing and recharging electric cars comes from renewable sources like wind, solar etc. This is vital because the source of power for recharging electric car batteries is the most significant factor hindering the optimal sustainability of the electric car innovation. Furthermore, it’s essential to produce and use these cars to last more years. In so doing, we can reduce the scrapping turnover, because the more the number of scrap cars, the more the impact of these cars on the environment.

Additionally, when there is a need to scrap an electric car, we should make the most of its materials. Reusing, remanufacturing and recycling of both the cars and their components should be encouraged as a way of saving our environment and driving sustainability. The end of life phase of electric cars is important because these cars contain lots of metals and other critical raw and toxic materials that consume large amounts of processing energy. Recycling the battery, for instance, and using it in a different application, can reduce the overall environmental impact significantly.

Furthermore, because of the impact of too many electric cars on the electricity grid, people are encouraged to use public transport systems and car hires. This way, the negative effects of a high electricity grid on the environment will be reduced.

Though the use of electric cars is currently the best way to drive sustainability, it’s not 100% sustainable. Consequently, there is a great need to make electric cars’ sustainability impact as optimal as possible by adopting the recommended ways to make electric cars more sustainable.

author avatar Written by Paul Hadley

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