The Other Side of Electric Cars
Electric vehicles can help reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but a new study suggests that, without cleaner sources of electricity, the environmental benefits would be limited.
Wow! You may be wondering how this could be true. The Wall Street Journal released an article on October 10th called “Electric Cars: Less Environmentally Friendly than They Seem”. As soon as I saw that article I knew that it was something that would spark my interest. The author, Daniel Akst, also wrote about how the environmental cost of manufacturing electric cars is worse than manufacturing gas-powered cars:
In addition to dirty sources of power, the environmental advantages of electric vehicles are dampened by the global warming impact of manufacturing them, which is about twice the comparable impact of conventional vehicles.
The article also includes how even if the electricity was generated from a fairly clean source of gas there would only be limited benefits for the environment. Electric cars also can only go 100-200 miles before they need to be recharged. This limitation means that you would have to stop more often to “fill up” only to drive a shorter distance than a gasoline-powered car could go . Electric cars also are lagging behind gasoline-powered cars in convenience. They have heavy chargers, they take 4-8 hours to get fully charged, and 30 minutes for about 80% of a charge. This means that they are less convenient and also less environmentally friendly than they seem.
So which is better? They both have their pros and cons for the environment so it is very hard to tell how the pros and cons would even out. The pro for gasoline-powered cars is they don’t pollute as much to manufacture, but the con is polluting whenever it is producing exhaust. The pro for electric vehicles is that they don’t pollute while driving, but the cons are the environmental cost to make them and also having to charge with power form fossil fuels.