Where do the environmental costs of electric vehicles come from?

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One of the recurring rumors about electric vehicles (EVs) is that they are worse for the environment than gasoline or diesel cars unless they are running on renewable electricity. The discussion concerns “total so-called “life cycle” emissions.” .

Do the rumors have any weight?

The first thing to assume when considering this question is that if you run an electric car on grid power, it’s only as clean as the grid it’s running on. So what does that mean for vehicle-related emissions, given that the majority of Australia’s electricity still comes from fossil fuel sources?

Dr. Jennifer Rayner, director of advocacy at the Climate Council, says it remains low in most situations.

“Even if you’re powering your EV from the grid, which may be using a combination of multiple power sources, it’s still much cleaner than driving a gasoline-powered car that emits the exhaust gases associated with internal combustion engines. There’s research that shows it’s an engine,” she says.

universe We spoke with Reiner about the latest episode of . expose mistakesa new podcast where science journalists investigate myths and misconceptions.

Rayner cites an assessment of the vehicle life cycle by the International Council on Clean Transportation. The study, carried out in Europe, the US, China and India, found that EVs emit “by far” fewer greenhouse gases during their life cycle.

In the US and Europe, EVs were 60-70% cleaner than comparable conventional cars, while in India and China, which have power grids that rely heavily on coal, they were 19-34% and 37-45% cleaner, respectively. .

It’s also worth noting that all of these statistics are changing rapidly, especially in Australia.

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“Right now, we’re literally seeing the grid getting cleaner and cleaner by the day,” Rayner said.

In 2022, 32% of Australia’s total energy will be generated from renewables, up from 29% in 2021. Renewable energy varies greatly by state. Tasmania and the ACT use 100% renewable energy (or close to it), compared to just 6% in the northern region. The territory’s energy mix was renewable.

What about other emissions associated with electric vehicles?

“It’s absolutely true that the EV manufacturing process can produce up to 80% more emissions than an equivalent gasoline vehicle,” Rayner said.

These extra emissions primarily come from your car’s battery. It is made from precious metals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt, all of which require energy to mine.

“But throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle, the majority of emissions come from driving the vehicle,” Rayner says.

Is this the end of the story about the environmental impact of EVs? Well, not completely. There are several other ways that can have more or less impact on the environment.Please listen for details expose mistakes.

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