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How “Green” are Electric Cars?

Previously published May 31. 2021

Previously published May 31. 2021

Electric vehicles (EV’s) are promoted worldwide because they help fight climate change with their lower CO2 and oil emissions. Electric cars and trucks are expected to replace gasoline-powered vehicles in the next ten years fully. EV’s have received a pretty positive response because they are green and good for the environment, which is true. After all, it is assumed that advertised products as being “green” are necessarily environmentally friendly. But is this always the case? For instance, the common belief is that electric cars run on batteries and not on gas or fossil fuels, so they must be environment friendly. But one must look under the hood to fully understand that how the cars run is only one aspect of their impact on the environment and comprehends the implications of consuming a “green” product from its manufacture and distribution to its consumption.


The truth is that electric cars are not entirely environmentally friendly, and they come with their negative environmental impact. The manufacturing of EV’s involves processes that consume large amounts of fossil fuels as the cars are heavier to make and because coal is burned to charge the vehicles. EV batteries are mainly tasked with the use of electric grids that produce electricity from fossil fuels. The batteries of electric vehicles are made of lithium, cobalt, and several other rare elements. Mining them from the earth can cause severe environmental damage and releases harmful gasses into the atmosphere. The result is a “green” product that causes much damage to the environment to be created.


The good news is that, even though electric cars are not entirely “green” products for the reasons discussed above, they still are “greener” than gas-guzzling cars. EV’s produce fewer global warming emissions than gasoline-powered cars and are overall better for the environment, though still an imperfect solution. EVs can be made “greener” by introducing better mining and manufacturing practices, utilizing renewable energy for electric grids, and reusing the rare elements left behind in old batteries. With a bit of creativity and some well-thought-out tweaks, we have the potential to limit the harmful environmental damage of electric cars.

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Aneesh Raghavan
Aneesh Raghavan, Website Manager

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