Electric cars (EVs) are the latest trend in the automotive industry, with nearly every leading manufacturer in the world racing to bring unique EV models to the market. In fact, some manufacturers, like Subaru, Volvo... have committed to only producing EVs by 2030, or the mid-2030s.

As governments around the world search for solutions to climate change, EVs emerge as the obvious answer. In August 2021, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring the gradual conversion of existing Federal, State, and local vehicles, including those of the US postal service, to means of transport. "clean and zero-emissions" convenience

Obviously, the whole auto industry is in a great deal of momentum for change. But some are asking: are EVs really better for the environment than traditional vehicles?

Are EVs really more environmentally friendly?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is also yes, but a few factors need to be considered.

It is indisputable that over its lifetime, an EV will produce less emissions than a traditional petrol car. Unfortunately, the car manufacturing process and the car charging process are not as active.

First of all, manufacturing EVs is an extremely expensive and energy-intensive process. A study by MIT found that manufacturing a traditional vehicle produces less emissions than producing a fuel cell/cell for an EV. As a result, each EV produced has more of an impact on the environment than a traditional vehicle. However, over the course of its operating life, the same EV will produce much less emissions, gradually make up for the initial "mistake" and be more environmentally friendly than a petrol car.

Currently, manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the cost and environmental impact of EV production. For example, Nissan pioneered the use of technologies that allow it to recycle up to 98% of the rare earth elements in EV electric motors, instead of just 50% under current practices.

Another big factor to consider when assessing an EV's environmental impact is the electrical network it uses to charge it. Different countries will have a different way of producing electricity for the grid (in the US, each state can also have a different way of producing electricity!). Some uses of energy are cleaner than others, which means that an EV's impact on the environment has a lot to do with the quality of the electrical network used to charge it.

"If you consider the current situation, in some countries, electric cars are better even with the existing electric grid," said Sergey Paltsev, a scientist at MIT.

As the grid transitions to cleaner forms of energy, the carbon footprint of every EV using that grid will also decrease.

Again, EVs are undeniably better for the environment than traditional cars. However, their environmental protection potential has not been fully exploited. The answer lies in the future

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