Sunday, December 8, 2019
News The « Green » Electric Car Debate Continues

The « Green » Electric Car Debate Continues

There are those that swear by the electric car, that view us antiquated petrolheads as barbaric puppy-killing, baby-choking monsters and, we might agree with them, to a certain point. The list of issues surrounding this debate is greater than Elon’s number of followers on Twitter.

Depending on what side of the fence you’re on, some concentrate on the emissions emitted from the usage of automobiles while others consider production impacts. When all of this is combined, more questions typically arise than answers.

The problem with the issues is that, hinging on the source of the information, facts vary enormously – sounds familiar don’t it?

2018 Chevrolet Bolt vs. 2018 Nissan LEAF vs. 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

Certain influencing facts are undeniable. How is the used electricity produced? With coal? Hydro dams? Mining Lithium is not environmentally friendly. Nor is drilling for oil. And it gets infinitely more complicated here on in.

While the debate will rage on for years to come, the majority of car manufacturers are fully dedicated to developing and producing more electric cars. Many territories, such as California and Québec, have set goals on EV sales for the near future but one of the principal bugs with all of this is human consumption – this is a subject for a whole other dialogue.  

The one element that seems to be the easiest to understand, and digest, is the size of the battery. Much like the size of an internal combustion engine, the larger the battery, the larger the negative impact on the environment.

In other words, think about a Tesla Model P100D. Its enormous battery is more or less equivalent to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s supercharged V8. The Nissan LEAF’s 40 kWh battery sides with the Hyundai Elantra’s normally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine.

To help you out, here’s a video from Engineering Explained on the debate. It’s long but well worth your time.

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,400 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

2 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t start driving an EV in 2011 because of the environment. In fact, I couldn’t have cared less. It was fun to drive and cheap to lease at the time. My wife was only marginally more concerned about the environment at the time than I was. What sold her was not having to buy gas and cheap to operate. We turned $160/month for gas into $33/month electricity. Driving the exact same distance. Because it was leased, our maintenance costs were $0. We kept our 2nd gas car for longer trips. In February of 2015, after driving the “backup” vehicle only 137 miles in 9 months to keep it running, we got rid of it. It was cheaper to rent a ICE vehicle when needed than keep up a car we weren’t driving. Honestly, nobody wants a ‘green’ car. Except for some hippies who probably can’t afford them anyway. All the auto makers are pushing ‘Green’ EVs and can’t figure out why they aren’t selling. Morons.

    So, here we are on our 4th EV lease and much better educated about the environmental impact of automobiles. Disclaimer: Even IF EVs were really worse for the environment I’m not going to drive anything else as my daily driver. EVER. That said, dozens of published reports from all over the world based on hundreds of studies accounting for now well over a million miles are pretty conclusive that EVs are better for the environment over all. Again, qualification is required: From component parts manufactured to the end of life of the vehicle. Creation to recycling lifespan. 100% battery electric vehicles have a smaller total pollution footprint than a comparable ICE vehicle. The clincher for me was a report released on a Chinese study in 2016. The Chinese had 6 of their major universities study total lifespan pollution for BEVs since 2010. What they found was BEVs charged 100% by coal powered electricity were still 12% to 16% (based on size, weight, battery size) less polluting overall than a comparable ICE. Remember, we’re talking Chinese coal, not the ‘beautiful clean coal’ we use in the US.

    Yeah, after years of people wanting to start an argument about whether or not my car is environmentally friendly and not willing to accept my “I don’t give a $h!#” answer, I’ve been forced to become an expert.

    • The claimed advantages of electric cars depended upon factors which vary all over the map – the mileage of comparable ICEs, the cost of fuel, and how it is produced, both for gasoline and electricity,etc. Whether an electric car is marginally cleaner than an electric, they certainly are liars who claim they are “zero emission vehicles.” And no case can be made that modern ICE cars are about as clean as one would want. CO2 is NOT a pollutant, in fact it is the basis of all life forms and its increase over the past 100 years has been ENTIRELY beneficial – not one single negative can be proven, although reducing its atmospheric level to Civil War levels would be an unmitigated disaster which the global warming alarmists carefully avoid mentioning.

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