It is a fact well known that a car is essential for any family with working members. The number of cars is growing each day, and as the number grows, so does the need for something environmentally friendly. Cars exhaust a toxic gas which ends up going everywhere around us, including the atmosphere. Not only is it toxic for a human body, but it also damages the greenery, affects the growth of trees, plants, etc. So, the engineers have come up with a solution – create an environmentally friendly car that will not work on fossil fuel, but electric energy instead. And so, the electric cars were invented.
What’s so good about electric cars
Powered usually by lithium-ion batteries, they are not only eco-friendly, but also easy to maintain and cheap to drive. Their lifetime expectancy is set for approximately 150,000 kilometers (93,205 miles), and with one charging, they can go as far as 160 kilometers (100 miles). Electric cars have brought a whole new point of view when it comes to a way of transporting on a budget. And these figures are based on low cost electric cars, such as Nissan Leaf. High-end and expensive cars such as Tesla models provide far better performance, albeit for a lot more money.
But, something else has been bothering the scientist lately – exactly how good the environment are these cars, and are they as cheap and friendly as we think they are?
The other side
Taking into consideration that they have rechargeable batteries, a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research has done a complete assessment on the lithium-ion batteries used by the electric cars, to check if the batteries are really as friendly to the environment as the car manufacturers say. They came to a conclusion that lithium-ion batteries are not as friendly to the environment as suggested, and here is why.
The rechargeable Li-ion batteries need to be constantly recharged, in order for the car to keep working and going the distance, and so, where does this energy come from? It takes a lot of energy to recharge a car, and this energy is gathered either from coal-fired power stations, or from hydroelectric power stations. This is where the problem was spotted.
If the energy used to recharge a car comes from coal-fired power stations, the electric cars do more damage to the environment than normal cars, since the energy used to power them is gathered in a way that damages the environment by dispensing a lot of toxic material into the air. This gas damages the atmosphere, and all the nearby greenery. The energy gathered in this way is also not so cheap and not enough, so more and more power stations working on coal are produced. This way of creating energy for the electric vehicles is not profitable for the environment in any way, and is doing more damage than good.
Is there a solution?
On the other hand, if the energy source used to power electric vehicles comes from hydroelectric power stations, then the environment stays clean and non-polluted. This way of energy gathering is much friendlier for the environment, since using the power of rivers is free, and does not release toxic gas into the atmosphere, plus it is much cheaper and the process can be repeated infinitely, as long as the rivers run.
So, the conclusion of the experiment was that the electric vehicles can be environmentally friendly if powered by a hydroelectric-gained energy, and not so friendly if the energy comes from coal-driven power stations.
Electric cars are also easier to recycle, and even their components can be used for many things. However, even if you are not driving an electric car, you can reduce your dricing-related carbon print. If your tires get damaged or worn out, don’t dump them; there are better ways to use them. Dumped tires are not very friendly for the environment, and are far better used as a backyard swing, or as recycled rubber. Also, the li-ion batteries should never be disposed improperly. It is highly advised to recycle them, which will result in significant money return.
In the end, how good is it to have and drive an electric car? You can never be sure which energy source is used to power your car, and you probably won’t bother asking. But, if you need a car for short city errands, then the electric car should be taken into consideration, for it is still cheaper, and environmentally friendlier than a conventional car.