Electric cars use energy stored in rechargeable batteries as opposed to burning gasoline in their engines. By not producing any emissions (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) electric cars are praised for being eco-friendly. But how ‘green’ is the process of recharging a battery?
To determine if electrical cars are better for the environment than traditional gasoline powered automobiles there’s one main thing you need to understand: the only way an electric car is truly a zero-emissions vehicle is if 100% of its’ electric power comes from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources. This is a key factor because many states today still rely on coal power to meet a majority of their electric needs.
“If more electric cars hit the roads, then [states] will require an increase in electricity production to charge the batteries. In many cases, states may resort to increased coal production since they already utilize their coal-powered plants to begin with. Coal plants alone are a major contributor to widespread pollution problems” Rachel Krech of Yahoo! News.
Unless you live off the grid, nearly everyone with an electric car is currently relying on fossil fuels for their electricity.
“In order to make electric cars truly green and emission free, states will need to keep up with establishing and building green power plants, including the increasingly popular and viable option of wind power. If states can keep pace with electric cars by building more renewable energy power plants, then electric cars will certainly pave the way to a clean and green future” Krech.
In the end electrical cars are still better for the environment compared to gasoline burning cars. However, until more green power plants are created – your electric car isn’t as green as it appears.