We know that electric cars are much better for the environment in terms of emissions, as they produce up to 43% less than traditionally fueled alternatives. Even when the electricity has not been generated sustainably, electric cars have lower climate impacts during their lifetime than those with internal combustion engines. These are encouraging findings are a great incentive to make your next car electric, but what about the manufacturing of these “green vehicles”? If we all ditched our current cars and went electric overnight, what would the energy requirement of building these cars be, and how does this impact the planet?
Electric vehicles and conventional vehicles are manufactured in a similar way when we think of the body of the car. The materials used for this part of the car are very similar, if not the same, and so, during this stage of the manufacturing process, there is not a significant difference in energy requirements.
The main difference in EVs are their lithium-ion batteries and this is where we run into a few problems. The raw materials needed to make the battery include cobalt, nickel and graphite which need to be mined, thus requiring a lot of energy to obtain. We have spoken before on this blog about the impending environmental and political disaster surrounding cobalt mining. Similarly, we are currently using lithium quicker than we can acquire it. We have plenty of reserves of lithium but extracting it is very time consuming and it has required significant investment to ensure supply is there for years to come.
Taking this into account, manufacturing a medium-sized EV with an 84-mile range results in about 15% more emissions than manufacturing an equivalent petrol vehicle. For larger, longer-range EVs that travel more than 250 miles per charge, the manufacturing emissions can be as much as 68% higher than an equivalent petrol vehicle.
While these figures may seem disappointing, as soon as electric vehicles are in use, they can make up for the emissions produced during their manufacturing within 6 to 18 months. Beyond that, they continue to outperform conventional vehicles until the end of their lives, proving to be the much more environmentally beneficial choice in the medium to long term.
Looking into the future, EV manufacturers have been researching ways in which they can optimize their production methods to reuse batteries of cars at the end of their life which could further increase the environmental benefit of EVs. Also, as electricity becomes cleaner with the development of solar and wave power sources, the difference between EVs and conventional cars will only grow. While there is evidently more to be done to make the industry cleaner across the board, switching to electric is still the best option to create a greener future.
If you are an individual or business owner and you are looking to switch to electric, please get in touch. A member of our team would be happy to any questions that you have. Call us on 0141 280 8890 or drop us an email at email@example.com.