electric cars, not so green? Three proven arguments

Cars on the corner?

A common argument is that these electric vehicles will emit as much greenhouse gases as thermal vehicles because the electricity they use is itself produced by power plants that use fossil fuels such as coal.

But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an electric car charged in St. Louis, Missouri—one of the states most dependent on coal for electricity—produces an average of 247 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile

And when the entire life cycle is taken into account, from the production of raw materials for batteries to disposal at the end of their service life, internal combustion vehicles still emit much more CO2 than electric vehicles, expert organization International concluded. Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) in fat study.

Dirty mining

Battery manufacturing is an energy intensive process as some components are mined and raw materials need to be transported around the world to be assembled and sold. Their processing is expensive.

According to a widely shared Facebook post, 227 tons of earth would need to be excavated to extract the metals needed for a single electric vehicle battery. This estimate appears to be based on an analysis published in 2020 by the Manhattan Institute, a climate skeptical research group.

However, according to some experts, these figures are misleading. “That’s a gross overstatement,” said Peter Newman, professor of sustainable development at Curtin University, Australia. According to him, it all depends on the region of exploration and the type of battery.

Mining has other negative consequences: 70% of the cobalt, one of the components of batteries, comes from, for example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where children are exploited in the mines. Access to components also creates strategic supply issues, many of which come from China, according to the International Energy Agency.

However, drilling for oil wells, with its significant environmental impact, is not the best solution, according to Georg Beaker, an ICCT researcher.

“In any case, it is clear that the social and environmental impacts of global warming are catastrophic and much larger than mining for batteries,” Bicker says.

Risk of “getting stuck in the snow”

After a snow storm in Virginia, US, in January, people shared messages on Facebook claiming that electric cars risk breaking down in traffic, leaving passengers without heating inside and lengthening the rows of cars again. Several fact-checking organizations have attempted to verify this claim and have not found any support for these claims.

The issue of overconsumption of electric vehicles during the cold season is debated among experts, with some arguing that combustion engine vehicles end up consuming more because they have to keep the engine running to heat.