Monday, December 18, 2017

Electric cars and climate change

Many hail electric cars to be "green". Slow down climate change by induced global warming. Save the planet by reducing carbon emissions and its footprint, and thus the greenhouse effect. But this would be too easy. It's an equation, and all depends on the variables to fill in.

To be "green" the electricity has to be from renewable sources, such as solar, wind. Also hydro-electric should count, as its turbines spin when ever water flows. May be even nuclear, as it does not produce carbon emissions. But it has other disadvantages. How to do dispose spent fuel? Or disasters like in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

So it mainly depends on where you charge your electric car. What are the means used there to produce electricity. If using fossil fuels by a coal fired plant, oil, natural gas or petroleum, or bio fuels like heavily used in Brazil, this isn't really "green". It might be "greener" though if the electric car has a higher mileage than a car with combustion engines using the same energy (efficiency).

Also take take into account is the manufacturing. As of 2017 the manufacturing of an electric car emits more carbon emissions than of a conventional car.

I say we are on the right way. But as mentioned it highly depends how the electricity is created where an owner of an electric car plugs it into the grid. If it is from (mainly) hydro, wind or other renewable, also nuclear, energies where you plug it into the grid, you do something positive at the end. If your grid's electricity derives from fossil fuels you probably not. Taking here in account the costs of an electric car you might be better of with a conventional with a low fuel consumption. At least until your grid feeds from renewables.

Technologies have to improve too, and they will. Emitting less carbon on the manufacturing. Building better batteries giving electric cars a longer range. And of course the sources of which the electricity is produced has to more and more come from renewable forms.

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