Let’s take a look at the EV industry, an area that has garnered significant attention, but one that many consumers are still hesitant to explore themselves. More specifically, let’s dive into five key ways that the EV industry, today and every other day, directly combats the most important environmental issue: climate change.
1. Significantly lower carbon life-cycle emissions in an electric vehicle’s lifetime
Not only do EV’s lower your individual carbon footprint, they more largely lower the automotive industry’s impact on the environment. Gas powered vehicles emit more than twice the amount of pollution in their lifetime as EVs.
The carbon life-cycle for EVs is even lower for states moving away from high-emitting sources of electrical power. Want to see how your state is doing? The Department of Energy offers a look into each state’s electricity sources, broken down by percentage, here.
If you already own an EV, you may be looking to find ways to further minimize life-cycle emissions. You can do this by using electricity generated by non-polluting renewable sources like solar and wind. More information on buying and making electricity can be found here.
2. Significantly lower direct emissions day-to-day
Smog and other pollutants are a large part of owning a gas powered vehicle - they are not for EVs. Even hybrid vehicles have significantly lower direct emissions because they rely less on gasoline.
Lower direct emissions means cleaner air for you and the living things around you.
3. Clean(er) battery production
Lithium batteries, the most common for EVs, can be reused and recycled, elongating their lifespan and lessening their impact on the environment.
The average lithium-ion battery can retain up to 70% of its charging capacity and companies like Nissan and Audi Environmental Foundation use old batteries to power other things, including solar nanogrids.
North America’s largest capacity lithium-ion battery recycling company recently opened a fully functional facility operating with a zero-waste process.
Rest assured, although EV batteries need replacing, that doesn’t mean they have to sit in a landfill.
4. Many EV manufacturers use green materials
There has been a push to use recycled materials in the EV industry and several major manufacturers have made it a reality. The Nissan Leaf, for example, is made of almost 25% recycled materials. The Toyota Prius uses bioplastics for a number of interior features.
Eco-friendliness can extend beyond low emissions - there are many EV companies putting the environment first in what they use to make the car.
5. Improvements will continue to be made - the goal is well aligned
The EV industry has come a long way in a remarkably short amount of time and this trend is likely to continue, with major concerns continuing to be addressed.
Here are just a few exciting investments being made:
- A 2019 study illustrated battery production continues to improve, with estimates showing 2-3 times cleaner production than in 2017. Manufacturers are investing in glass, lithium metal, lithium sulfur, sodium, graphene, and zinc air.
- A $2M project is in the works to provide new design tools and best practices for car makers that will make using recyclable materials at the forefront of the manufacturing process. Dubbed “The Clean Sheet Project,” this University of Michigan initiative will help make the automotive industry, as a whole, greener.
- Polestar, founded by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding, aims to create the first carbon-neutral car by 2030.
This Earth Day, we’re grateful for the strides the EV industry has helped to make towards a cleaner world. We look forward to continuing to be a part of the fight against climate change.