Electric Vehicles

The hype that electric vehicles are environmentally preferable to petrol-powered cars is untrue.

Electric vehicles typify the gullibility of consumers. Widely considered a “green” alternative to cars fueled by gasoline, EVs instead are more damaging to the environment over the life of the vehicle.

Foremost, electric cars create more carbon emissions than regular cars. While EVs aren’t spewing pollutants out their tailpipes, the manufacture of electric vehicles and their energy pull from electric power plants – mostly driven by fossil fuels, especially coal – gives EVs an equivalent or even larger carbon footprint.

EVs are powered by batteries that contain lithium, along with other rare earth elements used in various parts. The mining of these metals results in much higher environmental degradation than conventional cars.

On the back end, the pollution toll of disposing electric vehicles is considerably worse than petrol vehicles, as EVs leach more toxic compounds.

2/3rds of automobile contamination arises from tire, brake, and road dust. Tires release 100 times the pollution of tailpipes in gasoline-powered vehicles. 78% of ocean microplastics are from tires. Electric vehicles raise as much dust and emit 20% more tire pollution than regular cars, as an electric vehicle is 1/3rd heavier than its petrol counterpart. Further, because electric cars are heavier, EVs wear through tires 30% faster than conventional vehicles. Rubber plantations are a major motivation for tropical deforestation.

The plain fact is that powered vehicles running down roadways is environmental devastation incarnate. Roads themselves are a disaster to ecosystems. Powered vehicles are an additional insult to the initial injury.

References:

Jasper Jolly, “Do electric cars have an air pollution problem?,” The Guardian (26 March 2024).

Fred Pearce, “How mounting demand for rubber is driving tropical forest loss,” YaleEnvironment360 (4 December 2023).

Jim Robbins, “Road hazard: evidence mounts on toxic pollution from tires,”  YaleEnvironment360 (19 September 2023).

Ana Swanson, “The U.S. needs minerals for electric cars. Everyone else wants them too,” The New York Times (21 May 2023).

Anges Chang & Keith Bradsher, “Can the world make an electric car battery without China?,” The New York Times (16 May 2023).

Carolyn Gramling, “There’s good and bad news with California’s electric vehicle program,” Science News (12 May 2023).

Hiroko Tabuchi & Brad Plumer, “How green are electric vehicles?,” The New York Times (2 March 2021).

Tom Standage, “The lost history of the electric car – and what it tells us about the future of transport,” The Guardian (3 August 2021).

Polly Cunanan, “Electric cars: how much they really cost (the environment),” Eco Warrior Princess (13 September 2018).

Environmental aspects of the electric car,” Wikipedia.

Jonathan Lesser, “Are electric cars worse for the environment?,” Politico (15 May 2018).

Climate explained: the environmental footprint of electric versus fossil cars,” The Conversation (15 October 2019).