Most consumers already understand the answers to the question of why cars are bad for the environment. However, with more and more electric cars making their way onto the market, you may find yourself wondering just how great these cars are for the environment. Sure, there are quite a few noted benefits, but with every good positive, there is bound to be a negative. So, what are the reasons why electric cars are bad for the environment?
Are Cars Really Going Green?
The short answer to this question is a resounding yes. The goal for many vehicle production teams is to start going green by helping manufacture cars that help cut back on harmful emissions. Since the first electronic cars hit the roads in the early 2000s, consumers were left wondering just how environmentally friendly these vehicles truly were.
As time has gone on, the production of electronic cars has improved, and more and more of these vehicles are on the road. In fact, as of 2018, nearly 5.1 million electric cars were on the road worldwide. If electronic cars are helping cut back on vehicle emissions worldwide, then why exactly are so many people are inquiring into why electric cars are bad for the environment?
Reduced Road Emissions Leads to More Power Plant Emissions
While trying to address the question “Why are cars bad for the environment?” the primary topic of discussion was just how traditional emissions were affecting the environment and global climate change.
Traditional vehicles emit carbon monoxide, smog, and a variety of other toxins that are detrimental to not only your health should you breathe it in, but to the environment as a whole. For example, the burning of these fossil fuels releases nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, and this contributes to the formation of both acid rain and smog.
Electronic cars were designed to help minimize and potentially stop the burning of fossil fuels as a means of transportation. The problem here is that as the production of electric cars continues to rise, more studies are suggesting that power plant emissions are rising, which is one concern when it comes to answering the question, “why are cars bad for the environment?”
So, while road emissions are beginning to improve, the emissions produced from the creation of electronic cars are posing a potential problem.
Battery Production Poses a Potential Problem
The batteries that are required for electronic cars are made up of several different metals and other materials that must be taken out of the ground. That process alone requires the use of fossil fuels to help mine those materials, and as the demand for these batteries grows, so does the production demand.
One such material that is in high demand is lithium. According to some sources, lithium consumption is expected to quadruple by 2025. Not only does the process of extracting these materials produce harmful emissions, but its process can leave the countries in which lithium is produced with tainted resources.
For example, in Chile, the production of extracting lithium involves using 500,000 gallons of water per ton of lithium. This water is a valuable resource to farmers in the area, and in Chile, this water is diverted from local food production. What’s more, any water that is returned from this process bound to be tainted with a variety of chemicals, making the water hazardous to the locals.
That’s not the only reason why many believe these cars are bad for the environment. The current treatment process to help speed up the cleaning of the water used during the extraction process requires the use of burning fossil fuels, defeating the entire purpose of using these lithium batteries in some people’s minds.
Are the Risks Worth the Rewards?
While there are several different reasons as to why electric cars are bad for the environment, more studies need to be done to determine just how harmful these effects truly are and if there are alternative methods to help address them.
So far, studies have shown that electric cars significantly reduce the damaging effects of traditional vehicle emissions. Until further scientific research is done, there is no way to tell if electric cars are any worse for the environment than traditional cars.
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