If you are a particularly eco-conscious person and want to do your part for the environment and climate change, then you may be considering purchasing an electric vehicle.
However, in recent years, electric cars have come up against criticism about how energy efficient they actually are, largely due to the production cost and power associated with each unit, and in particular the Lithium batteries required to run the vehicles.
This article explores whether electric vehicles are the future of green motoring (well, aside from horse and cart!) and whether you should consider purchasing one.
The History Of The Battery
Whilst electric cars have only recently gained popularity in modern-day society, they are no new thing, in fact, the first electric car can be dated back as far as 1801. However, it is only in very recent years that the battery itself has become efficient enough to power a car for any length of journey.
The difficulty with the Lithium battery we use today, which is powerful enough to run 200 miles on a single charge, is that they are super expensive and take an awful lot of power to produce. This power comes from the grid (burning fossil fuels) so critics argue that electric cars are no more sustainable than combustion engine cars, Instead, the pollution is simply being pushed to the power plant.
Whilst there is an element of truth to this (a lithium battery is far more draining on the environment to produce than a standard car battery), there are so many more factors to consider when it comes to whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than their petrol/diesel counterparts.
The truth is that companies are working very hard to improve the output of these lithium batteries all the time, and they are dropping in price year on year due to the intense research coming into making them more environmentally friendly and cheaper to produce.
In addition, more and more countries are now getting their power (or at least a portion of it) from more sustainable sources like wind and solar, and there is a continued move towards this, meaning over time, the impact of lithium battery production on the environment should be minimal.
As electricity becomes cleaner, the more environmentally friendly electric vehicles will become.
This is good news for anyone interested in buying an electric car, as right now the average electric car could set you back up to £40,000. As the price of the battery reduces, so will the price of electric vehicles, making them more affordable.
Aside from the battery, what other considerations are there when it comes to the ecological impact of an electric car vs a combustion engine car?
Well, the truth is, they are not perfect and electric vehicles are still babies, but in the last 10 years, they have made such advancements, and continue to do so, and therefore EVs will be the leading green transport in the coming years.
Many studies have been done on the impacts of electric vehicles in comparison to diesel and petrol engines on the environment, and it has been found that over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime, an electric vehicle has about half the impact of a combustion engine car.
This is primarily because they are substantially more efficient. Traditional engines only convert around 12-30% of the energy used into actual power, whereas an electrical vehicle in comparison converts around 77%!
Electric vehicles also emit zero carbon emissions. This is hugely beneficial to the environment, both on a global warming level, but even for cleaner air and our health. This is why road tax for electric vehicles is free of charge.
Electric Car Charging
You have likely noticed more and more charging stations popping up all over the country, including supermarkets, shopping centres, and garages. This is a step in the right direction, as it is encouraging more people to make the all-important switch.
However, with oil prices being at an all-time high at present, electric vehicles become even more attractive. On average, 100 miles driven in an electric vehicle will cost 3 times less than 100 miles driven in a combustion engine car.
If charging an electric car is a concern, LV Electrix has a useful guide on charging an electric car. The site has more info on smart charging meters, which will charge your car at off-peak times when the electricity from the grid is at its cheapest, which means even more money is being saved.
Whilst there has been criticism over the production of electric cars being more expensive than traditional engines, many studies have now shown that electric vehicles are the greener option, and thus, countries worldwide have committed to electric vehicles being the main mode of transport moving forward.