The number of cars on the road is projected to reach two billion by 2040 – let’s hope that prediction does not come true or we will all choke to death. Unless of course, everyone buys electric cars, I hear you say?
Yes, electric cars or electric vehicles are all the rage in recent times and yet few if any talk about the actual disadvantages and drawbacks. Not to talk about the dark side of electric cars. Before jumping on the bandwagon of the electric vehicle sect, consider these four stark drawbacks:
The Source of The Electricity
It is cute when people talk about electric cars and seem to think there is no pollution or negative effect on the environment because there is no exhaust fumes. But what most people forget to realize is that the big issue is the production of the electricity. Where is it coming from? If the electricity comes from power stations (coal or nuclear power stations), we are simply transferring the problem to another industry.
It is ironic but power plants actually emit more pollution than cars and coal plants are a leading source of carbon dioxide emissions as well as particulate matter and mercury. For cooling, power plants also discharge an uncontrolled amount of polluted water which can destroy aquatic life.
Unless electric vehicles are running on 100% renewable power such as solar or wind, then electric vehicles are no greener or better for the environment than normal cars.
One study found that, “even if EDVs made up 42 percent of passenger vehicles in the U.S., there would be little or no reduction in the emission of key air pollutants” which “In part, it’s because some of the benefits of EDVs are wiped out by higher emissions from power plants.”
“Another factor is that passenger vehicles make up a relatively small share of total emissions, limiting the potential impact of EDVs in the first place. For example, passenger vehicles make up only 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.”
The Electric Car Battery
One of the key problems with electric cars is the actual battery. The production of the batteries for the electric car produce a substantial amount of carbon dioxide and worst of all the actual raw materials required to make them are very limited.
So not exactly a sustainable way of production that is going to solve anything.
What about the waste, once these batteries reach the end of their useful life? We could end up with 11 million tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries in need of recycling between now and 2030, according to Ajay Kochhar, CEO of Canadian battery recycling startup Li-Cycle.
The Questionable Efficiency
The world is going to need to install countless charging stations if the use of electric vehicles is to be efficient. But then again, actual charging is a time consuming process – not exactly an efficient alternative to normal cars. Not to talk about the high initial cost of purchase or the lack of driving range, which can be as low as 100 – 300 kilometers on a full charge.
The Bigger Problem
The bigger problem is the sheer staggering amount of cars on our roads today and the resources these consume in production, the associated pollution during their usage and the amount of deaths caused by road traffic accidents.
A coherent solution would be to find new ways of transportation that are truly sustainable, not new ways that simply replace a flawed tool with another and do not effectively provide a real solution.