The debate whether electric vehicles are better for the environment is officially over: they definitely have a considerably lower carbon footprint than fuel-powered vehicles. While it is true that EVs are far from “zero-emission” (because some greenhouse gases are produced during their manufacture), on the whole, driving an EV is the eco-friendlier choice. Below are just a few ways it can be part of your strategy to lead a lower-carbon lifestyle.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists has shown that the lifetime emissions of EVs are 50% lower than those of fuel-powered vehicles. This figure takes into account the emissions caused by charging vehicles—include those resulting from natural gas drilling/coal mining and electricity losses from transferring energy from power plants to wall plug-in units. It also includes the emissions caused by the process of recharging batteries. With respect to batteries, there is plenty you can do to reduce the greenhouse emissions caused your EV’s battery. One is to increase the battery’s lifetime by not charging past 80%. Another is to use heated or cooled seats and steering wheels instead of heaters and coolers for the entire cabin. A third emans to lower emission levels involves choosing long-lasting batteries. Currently, developers are working on developing lithium-sulphur batteries, which last up to five times longer than current EV batteries.
The World Health Organization reports that poor air quality causes around 4.2 million deaths every year on a global scale. Switching to EVs can help improve air quality and reduce pollution, with one 2022 study showing that EV emissions per km are approximately 71% of the emissions of comparable conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. The findings make sense considering the fact conventional vehicles produce direct emissions through the tailpipe, as well as through evaporation from the vehicle's fuel system, as well as during fueling. By contrast, all-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions.
Renewable Energy Integration
EVs can serve as a means to integrate renewable energy sources into the grid. They can be charged during periods of high renewable energy production, thus reducing the need for fossil fuel-based backup power. What’s more, cars with bidirectional charging (such as the Nissan Leaf and VW EVs from 2022 onward) have batteries that are large enough to power a home for several days. This can be achieved by transferring the electric energy supplied by the vehicle into AC power. Recently, Ford announced that it can provide the required components to make this system work for a home. The system, called Intelligent Backup Power, can be used with the F-150 Lightning. Even the standard version of this battery boasts more power than seven Tesla Powerwalls (which can easily and efficiently power a home).
EVs have a host of benefits for those wishing to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. EVs have lower greenhouse and lifecycle emissions. They do not emit toxins directly in the air. Finally, they can integrate renewable energy sources into the grid and, in some cases, provide all the energy a typical household needs—for various days.