Are Electric Vehicles as Environmentally Friendly as we Thought?


We all know that electric vehicles are the way the government wants us to go. They are considered as environmentally friendly because obviously they don’t use fuel. However, a study that was recently conducted by a scientist in Norway has revealed that some electric cars are actually having a greater impact on global warming compared to conventional cars. This is surprising considering most of us by electric cars in order to help the issue of global warming and save money in the long run. For most of us the savings we make from these vehicles are very welcome when it comes to paying for maintenance and motor insurance.

The Study

The focus of the study was in two main areas: how electric vehicles and their batteries are manufactured and how the electricity used to power them is generated. Guillaume Majeau-Bettez is from the Norwegian University of Science who has written part of the report and he has said, “The electric car has great potential for improvement, but ultimately what will make it a success or failure from an environmental standpoint is how much we can clean up our electricity grid – both for the electricity you use when you drive your car, and for the electricity used for producing the car.”


One of the results found was that the amount of energy needed to create electric vehicles is what causes such a high impact on the environment compared with conventional cars. This is because of the energy and resources needed to create the lithium ion batteries. However, having said this there is another variable factor which is depending on which country the car is being driven in. This is because the electricity is generated in different ways so some countries could be more efficient in this area than others. Other variable is whether the batteries are being charged during the day or evening. This is because at night the electricity is less dependent on coal making it more environmentally friendly.

One example of this is that in England the electricity generated from coal fired power stations increased by 40% last year. Whereas in Norway most of the power is generated by hydroelectricity which means that electric vehicles perform much better emissions wise that conventional cars.

Majeau-Bettez goes on to explain “For a European average power generation mix, and if you use your car for 150,000km, you could hope for a 25% improvement in global warming impact relative to a gasoline car. It seems that the UK has a more intensive coal and natural gas mix so the benefits would be somewhat less than that.”

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