The short answer is yes, electric vehicles (EVs) are in fact better for the environment as opposed to ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles). Thanks to government subsidies and competitive car markets, EVs are becoming much more affordable and more practical. This is of course, good news for the consumer. However, EV’s aren’t yet quite as inexpensive as some lowest-cost conventional cars, so why do people buy electric cars? Many people want to live greener lives and the environmental aspect will motivate them. But EVs are also fashionable and they’re fun to drive.
One great difference is something you can see right away, EVs have no tailpipes which means no emissions. This of course, is only true for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), which solely run on an electric charge. Hybrids however still have an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), but the MPG is often much greater and the vehicles operate more efficiently, so even they are much better for the environment.
When looked at side by side, EV’s are clearly better for the environment when compared to ICEVs or even Hybrids. Why?
There is no direct emission from the vehicle into the air, but the energy has to come from somewhere… to really understand if electric-only vehicles are more eco-friendly, it’s important to track the source of the electricity. Electricity is created in a number of ways; some methods are more eco-friendly than others. The renewable environmentally friendly methods include solar, wind, hydroelectricity, which all have absolutely zero carbon emissions. However, there are some not so eco-conscious methods of generating electricity. This includes the burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal, the latter being the most harmful to the environment. However energy used for EVs that is generated for the grid is still much cleaner than energy generated in a dirty internal combustion engine of a car or truck.
If you want to know how much of an impact your power generation causes you’ll have to do some research. It truly depends where you live to determine how much better for the environment your electric car is rather than your conventional gas car. If your electric-only vehicle is powered using electricity that was generated using solar or wind power then you’re golden! Feel great because your travel experience didn’t pollute the planet.
If your electric-only vehicle was charged using electricity that was generating using coal, that’s not as good, however it’s still much more eco-friendly than driving an ICEV. The reason being that electric vehicles operate extremely efficiently, much more so than ICEVs. According the US Department of Energy, EVs are able to convert anywhere from 59% to 62% of their energy to actual miles driven. This power is coming from the electrical grid. Conventional cars however, are only able to convert anywhere from 17% to 21% of their energy to physical miles. This is by far less efficient, which means that EVs are and always will be miles greener than ICEVs. Additionally, clean renewable power plants are in the works.
Bottom line: Driving an EV is better for the planet than driving an ICE or ICEV. If you want to know how green your EV is, the best way is to find out how your city’s electricity is generated, which can often be a mixture of a few different methods. Due to their overall tremendous efficiency and positive impact on the environment, electric vehicles are the future and it’s great to see that many are already and all should certainly be moving in that direction.