And You Thought Electric Cars Are the Best Bet for the Future?

Before proceeding further, I would like to acerb affect aloft my readers that what I’m adage in this commodity is not that some austere flaws about EVs accept just been discovered. I’m not saying, for example, that EV technology is unsound, by any means! Neither am I adage that the claims of EV manufacturers are too tall. The achievement claims of electric cars are astute and accede able-bodied with what were promised. Then, what is this commodity aggravating to get at? Whatever is meant by this ‘dark side’? The acknowledgment to these questions is that beforehand assessments of EVs accept absent out on demography a from-a-grassroots-level, holistic appearance of the absolute EV ecosystem – not just that allotment of the life-cycle amid accomplish and retirement. In fact, that allotment life-cycle of EVs amid accomplish and retirement is accepted to us, and we apperceive that EVs accept anesthetized all assessments of this allotment with aerial colors. However, if one changes one’s angle to cover the absolute EV ecosystem, and again carries out a holistic analysis, those ‘dark’ facts will anon become apparent. Now, let’s yield a bout of what experts accept begin in this matter.


The array of an EV is by far its heaviest and a lot of big-ticket part. The array of the Tesla Roadster, for example, accounts for added than a third of its weight.

To accommodate the aforementioned burden to users, the weight of the almighty abundant array is fabricated up for by abbreviation the weight of added parts. In adjustment to aftermath light-weight EV parts, aluminum and some carbon composites are primarily used.

Energy accelerated accumulation processes are complex in the accomplish of the aloft light-weight materials. The activity so used, comes from activity accumulation processes that accept an associated carbon brand e.g. thermal activity is usually acquired from the afire of atramentous or added deposit fuels and the GHGs released, bidding in agreement of CO2 equivalents is the carbon footprint.

The end user, getting the EV ecosystem in this case, needs to accept albatross for the associated carbon footprint. By consequence, the EV industry is not ‘clean’ as supposed. It does accept a cogent pale in all-around warming, admitting indirectly, attributable to its assurance on the abstracts mentioned above.


To date, charging EV batteries application solar activity is added cher compared to filigree sourced charging (which, in turn, receives electric ability from accepted sources viz. hydro, thermal, nuclear, wind & tidal). This agency that no amount what added claims ability be made, the per-mile amount to accomplish an electric car will be college than that of a gasoline/ agent powered one. Consequently, the EV will be an airedale carriage advantage until such time as solar activity becomes cheaper than activity from accepted sources.


Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) that is produced in baby quantities if EV batteries are manufactured. This gas is 23, 900 times added powerful, if compared to CO2 in agreement of its all-around abating potential. In added words, just 1 tonne of sulfur hexafluoride, on entering the atmosphere, will aftermath all-around abating furnishings according to 23,900 tonnes of CO2. (View data of SF6? If yes, bang this link. It will yield you to Section 2.10.2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes’ Appraisal Address #4 (2007) blue-blooded “Direct All-around Abating Potentials”)

Energy accelerated processes are complex in the abstraction of raw abstracts that are acclimated in the accomplish of EV batteries as able-bodied as for their artifact and assembly. This activity charge is met by afire ample amounts of deposit fuels, that, in turn, aftermath their allotment of GHGs.

As a result, if all-embracing accomplish of EV batteries commence, cogent quantities of the analgesic GHG, SF6, will be appear into the atmosphere forth with added GHGs produced by the afire of deposit fuels. The net aftereffect on all-around abating is accepted to be about ZERO so that there will not be any arresting arrest in all-around warming.


Highly specialised magnets are acclimated by the absorption motors that move EVs. They contain, a part of added substances, attenuate apple elements dysprosium (Dy-66) and neodymium (Nd-60). (For data of attenuate earths, you may appointment the Ames Lab website of the US Department of Energy.) While the apple contains acceptable quantities of these elements to sustain EV accomplish for several years into the future, they are begin at bounded locations that are so banish that economical accomplish is rendered acutely difficult. To bout the projected appeal of electric cars over the next 25 years, Massachusetts Convention of Technology (MIT) advisers appraisal that mining of these attenuate earths will accept to acceleration by 2600 and 700 percent, respectively, during the aforementioned period.

China is the world’s arch ambassador of attenuate earths. And that country has afresh approved to ban exports of these substances. Thus, whether the EV and/or its accessory industries will be able to put their act calm in time to aftermath acceptable quantities of these attenuate earths at economical prices is still a big, changing catechism that faces the EV industry.


Trashed EV batteries, if recycled properly, do not affectation any accident to the environment. Failure to be austere in this matter, however, will advance to absolution of a amount of baneful chemicals into the environment.

The exact data of these chemicals and their furnishings on the ambiance accept not yet been advised on annual of assertive difficulties in accomplishing so. However, by cartoon parallels with e-waste and solar industry waste, we can adumbrate that abnormal auctioning of EV batteries will aswell advance to ground-water contamination, irreversible ecology accident and added bloom hazards arising from the assimilation of baneful compounds of lithium, nickel and chestnut in the environment.


When apropos about the EV industry accomplished the aerial of the US govt., US Congress commissioned an appraisal by the National Academies of Science to access all-embracing allegation acclamation anniversary affair (you can download and appearance the abounding address of the appraisal by following this link ). The assessment, data of which were appear in 2010, took a holistic appearance of the absolute EV ecosystem and summed up the furnishings of car construction, ammunition extraction, refining, emissions and added factors for electric and gasoline powered cars separately. It came to the sobering cessation that “health and ecology amercement (excluding abiding acute effects)” acquired by EVs are college if compared to gasoline-powered cars.

The above, austere cessation of National Academies of Science is accurate by an absolute abstraction on electric cars agitated out by the Norwegian Convention of Science and Technology. The after-effects of this abstraction were appear in the Journal of Industrial Ecology (2012) of the selfsame institute. Prof. Anders Hammer Stromman, one of the authors, states that “Across the added impacts advised in the assay including abeyant for furnishings accompanying to acerbic rain, aerial chapped matter, smog, animal toxicity, ecosystem toxicity and burning of deposit ammunition and mineral resources, electric cars CONSISTENTLY accomplish worse or on par with avant-garde centralized agitation engine vehicles, admitting around aught absolute emissions during operation”. (You can appearance a accordant extract of this abstraction at the BBC website, by searching for “business-19830232″ beneath “news”.)

We see from the aloft that investigations of two independent organizations of blemish accede viz. US’ National Academies of Science & Norwegian Convention of Science and Technology. Therefore, it is abundantly bright and aloft agnosticism that EVs DO accept a adverse side. As a consequence, the EV industry faces a austere and ambiguous approaching unless it turns over a new blade afterwards accumulation some path-breaking abstruse improvements.

To sum up, use of EVs is not traveling to aftereffect in any cogent arrest in all-around warming, as was already touted. Nor a safer, less-polluted environment. Until solar activity becomes cheaper than activity from accepted sources, there will not be too abounding takers for electric cars with the aftereffect that gasoline/ agent powered cars will abide to boss the roads. The consistent aftereffect on apple burning of petroleum will be just a bordering bead – no big savings, really, as was already expected!

Looking at the pluses, at locations area automobiles are the primary could could cause of pollution, one can apprehend to be able to breathe cleaner air if billions & millions of gasoline/ agent powered cars are taken off the anchorage for good. And, of course, at places area automobiles are the aloft could could cause of babble pollution, a quieter environment.

Future advancements in technology ability able-bodied about-face the negatives above. However, as it stands, you will not become any cleaner or greener by switching from your present car to an electric car today!