Robotics And Machine ANalytics Laboratory (RAMAN LAB) Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur

Are Electric Vehicles Truly Saving the Environment?

There are several reasons to support the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) worldwide, but one of the most compelling is its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that emanate from petroleum-driven vehicles. If EVs are to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, their batteries must not be charged with electricity generated from the combustion of fossil fuel. Electric cars rely on regular charging from the local electricity network. The power plants providing that energy aren’t emission-free.

In 2016, 68% of global electricity originated from fossil fuels, 5.2% from winds and solar and the rest from hydro energy and nuclear fission. As a global mean, two-third of the electricity for an EV still comes from fossils fuels, but that fraction varies widely among countries. EVs in Norway and in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Quebec are charged by pure hydroelectricity, making them utterly clean hydro-cars. French EVs are largely nuclear-fission cars. But in most of India, China and Poland EVs are overwhelming coal cars. currently EVs can be climate positive or climate negative depending on where they are located.Electric-Vehicles

And even if EVs all ran on renewable source of electricity, greenhouse gases would still be emitted during the production of cement and steel for hydroelectric dam, wind turbines and photovoltaic panels and manufacturing of the vehicle. These are not arguments against adoption of EVs but implications of the new technology must be appraised and understood before accepting it.

1. Barkenbus, Jack. “Electric Vehicles Climate Saviors, Or Not?.” Issues In Science & Technology 33.2 (2017):    55-59. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.


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