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The benefits of electric cars for the environment

Electric cars rely on batteries to get moving, leaving behind the fossil fuels that their petrol- and diesel-powered counterparts use to get on the road

a kid putting a freshly picked pumpkin in the boot of a car, closely followed by his mother

By switching to a battery-powered electric vehicle (EV), you’ll be reducing the amount of CO2 released into the environment as you drive, as EVs don’t release any tailpipe emissions at all.

Of course, the mass-scale manufacturing of EVs and the used batteries can be a concern for those who want a true green driving experience. The supply chain for getting the materials needed for the process isn’t as green as we might hope, but this is improving over time as batteries get smaller but more efficient.

Many EVs are now made from recycled materials to try and counteract some of the stress on the planet that manufacturing might cause. Lots of manufacturers are now aiming for a ‘net zero’ emissions figure as they try to offset the emissions released by removing the same amount from the atmosphere.

Are electric vehicles better for the environment?

Electric vehicles are better for the environment when it comes to driving – they don’t use non-renewable fossil fuels to run or release CO2 into the atmosphere.

The manufacturing process is where some people may have concerns, as it can be taxing on the environment to mass-produce the EVs themselves. This is changing over time and likely will not always be the case, as manufacturing processes become cleaner and start to rely on renewable energy sources for production.

Can electric cars be recycled?

Once an electric car has come to the end of its life, some parts are able to be recycled. In some cases, EVs are often easier to recycle as they don’t have those oily engine parts that need depolluting. Parts of the vehicle might also be reused in other cars.

Lots of batteries from EVs are also easily repairable, so a fault doesn’t instantly mean it will be chucked away. When they truly reach their end of life, old batteries are often recycled and used for domestic solar energy storage. This means that they rarely end up stuck in a landfill, and many manufacturers can even recycle the batteries on-site.

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Electric cars vs fossil fuel

In the long run, EVs do less damage to the environment on a daily basis. They don’t release CO2 into the atmosphere like fossil fuel-powered vehicles, so really do contribute towards a greener driving experience.

In fact, most of the impact that EVs have on the environment comes from the manufacturing process, whereas petrol and diesel models continue to release CO2 while they’re on the roads.

While some EV manufacturing processes aren't the best for the environment, they do make up for that by being overall greener to run on an everyday basis.

Is electric car manufacturing bad for the environment?

All mass-manufacturing processes can be harmful to the environment and not 100% eco-friendly, but electric vehicle manufacturers do put in some work to counteract this.

Manufacturing an EV requires the sourcing and transporting of materials even before the building begins, and just like fuel-powered cars, this can be taxing on the planet. The batteries in EVs are made from materials like lithium and nickel that require mining to get hold of, which is not the best for staying environmentally friendly.

On the flip side, the environmental impact of electric vehicles really slows down after they end up on our roads. Thanks to the lack of exhaust fumes, they don’t release CO2 into the atmosphere while out and about.

Manufacturers often put effort into keeping the EV building process as sustainable as possible. Some even have in-house recycling for used batteries, but the lifespan of the batteries also helps towards a more renewable driving experience. You’re usually very unlikely to have to replace the battery of your EV, depending on the age of the car.

Are electric cars the best choice for a greener drive?

Although the manufacturing process of electric vehicles still creates greenhouse gases that aren’t great for the environment, switching to electric is the greener choice.

Electric driving is still relatively new on the wider market, so it’s likely that the process will get even greener as time goes on. Many manufacturers are looking into renewable ways to mass produce EVs and are investing in recycling processes and schemes that help take the edge off.

Once on the roads, the lack of exhaust means that your EV won’t be releasing those harmful gases into the atmosphere. The lifetime of the batteries is lengthy too, so you shouldn’t need to worry about them cluttering up landfills.

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