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Electric Cars – Not as green as you think

Electric Cars – Not as green as you think

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Electric vehicles seem to have a lot of advantages over cars that run on petrol or diesel. E-cars don’t emit climate damaging or health harming gases. But beyond that, electric cars aren’t the perfect solution or the greenest solution for several reasons. Because of the complex batteries they use, it currently takes more energy to produce an electric car than a conventional one. And, disposing of those batteries creates an environmental hazard.
The production of electric vehicles currently poses the biggest environmental problem. According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, it takes more than twice the amount of energy to produce an electric car as a conventional one. Some reports suggest 13.7 tonnes of CO2 is produced in developing an electric car, out of which 6.8 tonnes of CO2 is generated in developing the battery for an electric car – whereas a total of 6.5 tonnes of CO2 is generated in developing a conventional car.
The viability of an electric vehicle depends upon how your electric vehicle is charged. If you use coal-fired power plants or thermal power plants to produce the electricity, then you are not all that far away from a traditional diesel/petrol based vehicle in terms of greenhouse gases.
Norway is the leading country in Europe for electric vehicle sales. However, as the sales of electric cars have gone up, the use of public transport to get to work dropped by 80 percent so the benefits of converting to e-cars would be limited if it resulted in more personal car ownership and that is not a situation we can afford in the over-crowded Indian roads.
Concerns have also been raised regarding the disposal of batteries used in electric vehicles once the battery has completed its term in the vehicle. Whether lead-acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries, these batteries also contain toxic chemicals which would this create a new environmental crisis if not disposed off correctly.
So while they are not “ZERO EMISSION” vehicles, electric cars are still better for the environment and for the climate than conventional vehicles. But, in order to look at Electric cars as a solution to our increasing pollution and depleting natural resources we need to ensure the following:E-cars must use electricity which is produced from renewable sources of energy. Using renewable sources will produce up to six times less carbon emissions over their lifetimes than a petrol car.
Governments should focus on electrifying public transport before promoting sole-car-ownership of electric vehicles.Proper infrastructure development with regards to the disposal of electric vehicle batteries must be in place before we begin production of E-cars on a large scale. The key in the coming years will be figuring out how to make these new electric-vehicles even more eco-friendly.

Source: indiatoday.intoday.in
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network

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