Are electric cars really as "clean" as they say they are?
This is a question that has been on many critics' minds with the emergence and recent popularity of these cars. They're looking at anything, from the overall vehicle to the battery and manufacturing concerns.
Electrical cars don't emit health-harming nitrogen oxide or climate-damaging greenhouse gases. They're quiet, easy to operate, and seem to have a lot of advantages over cars that run on gasoline or diesel.
So how eco-friendly are these cars?
A study done in China compared the electric cars to ones with an internal combustion engine and found that the battery produced for the electric cars produced almost 60 percent more CO2 by just simply creating the rechargeable battery for the car than the production of the gas taking engine. Not only that, but even disposing of those batteries could create an environmental hazard just by itself.
Of course, depending on how far you have to go, is taking a car (even one supposedly better for the environment) always the better choice? And, how do we know the difference between the two? What is the difference? What about electric bikes? The reality is that there are so many options, its hard to really find a starting point and every situation is different.
On the other side of the argument, there are studies out showing that electric cars are better for the environment. This is because of the idea that electricity can come from renewable energy sources, such as natural gas, instead of coal or even places like California that has a high usage of hydropower.
Natural gas is a great source in itself, as far as how much greenhouse gas or CO2 it produces, but the problem is that it has a lot of downfalls. in one of my environmental classes this year, we did one case study a week. One of the case studies I did was on fracking. From that, I learned just how destructive something like extracting natural gas can actually be for the environment.
So, while natural gas is a pretty decent alternative as far as CO2 emissions go, it's still not the most viable source for cleaner energy.
But, getting back to cars, if natural gas isn't the best answer for electric cars, then what is? In many cases, it depends on your personal opinion.
With all of the debate surrounding the cars themselves, it's really hard to truly know, but at least now you might know a bit more than you did before.