Three Arguments That Electric Vehicles Are Better for the Environment

Global warming and natural resource depletion are now being known as two of the greatest environmental concerns The reduction of greenhouse gases emissions such as CO2 and the development of new energy are therefore essential. Thus, electric vehicles are invented to solve these problems. However, there are some studies that point out electric vehicles are not eco-friendly and will pose harm to our environment. What I want to state is that electric vehicles are better for the environment and this essay is a collection of my reasoned opinion. I will argue that electric vehicles should be promoted from three different aspects, which are gas emission during the use of electric vehicles, the components and the cost performance of electric vehicles.

First and foremost, the argument of this essay will start with gas emissions during the use of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions because they are powered by electricity. There are no gases being directly emitted through the tailpipe, evaporation from the fuel system or the fuelling process so it can reduce greenhouse gases production which then leads to the improvement of air quality. Besides that, it can also reduce the combustion of fossil fuel. However, there are some studies which indicate that the use of electric vehicles will produce carbon dioxide. This is because electricity is a secondary energy source which is mainly produced by the combustion of coal and natural gas in the power plant. This process will cause carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, although we know there is no gas emitted from electric vehicles, the generation of electricity will still cause carbon dioxide emission. But compared to diesel vehicles, electric vehicles still can manage to release 25% fewer atmospheric pollutants than mainstream fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Secondly, the components of electric vehicles are also one of the arguments of this essay. There are three core components of electric vehicles which are electric engine, motor controller and battery. Compared to conventional vehicles, electric vehicles are more spacious. This is due to the lack of a large engine. Moreover, electric vehicles also give a smooth drive experience with lower levels of noise. Thus, it can reduce sound pollution. In addition, the efficiency of electric vehicles is better than conventional vehicles because of its regenerative braking. For example, it can improve the efficiency of a fossil-fuel-powered vehicle up to between 21% and 41% but it can improve the efficiency of a electric vehicle up to about 70%.

The last argument that this essay would like to discuss in this essay is the cost performance of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have a low operating price. This is due to the reason that electricity is less expensive than gasoline and it has higher energy conversion efficiency. Electric vehicles do not generate nor waste more heat than mainstream fossil fuel-powered vehicles because they don’t have combustion engines which require tiny controlled explosions to operate. In addition, electric vehicles only need regular maintenance so its costs are lower compare to conventional vehicles. Moreover, electric vehicles can also save money because it has lower fuel costs on average. However, the purchase cost of electric vehicles is higher than conventional vehicles. It is because of the raw materials used in batteries and the process of batteries production. Besides, electric vehicles need more time to charge. Most electric vehicles take up to an hour to charge and that is only enough to power the vehicle to run 25 miles. Not to mention that the maximum range an electric vehicle can travel is about 100 miles. Although the overall purchase costs of electric vehicles are expensive, but governments have given a lot of preferential policies to lighten people’s burdens. For example, in California, the US government also offers a $7,500 tax credit on electric cars.

Batteries are a two-sided blade. Although batteries are the reason why electric vehicles have zero tailpipe pollution, the production of batteries still causes environmental damage. The production of batteries for electric vehicles is composed of rare earth metals. Even though ICTT notes that EV’s do not burn and have no exhaust pipe emissions at all, they still generate some emissions such as carbon emissions through their process of extraction and manipulation. From recycling perspective, the technology of recycling batteries is still developing. In 2017, there is more than 1 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide. After discarding those cars there will be 250,000 tons of discarded battery packs. If those are eventually landfilled, there is a risk of 'heat runaway' which is a chemical reaction that can cause the battery to heat up and possibly even burn or explode. However, governments such as UK government is trying to curb the problem of electric vehicles. For instance, ReLiB fast-start project is now being trialled by the Faraday Institution in order to solve the problem.

In conclusion, I think that electric vehicles should be promoted. From the aspects we had argued, we can know that there are pros and cons of electric vehicles. Although it is posing harm to our environment, but we can’t neglect that it is still eco-friendly compare with other vehicles. Technology nowadays is still not enough to make it perfect, but there are some aspects that we can improve to make electric vehicles better. The development of electric vehicles is a good step toward eco-friendliness. Therefore, I think we shouldn’t give up on electric vehicles easily because anything takes time to improve.  

11 February 2023
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