Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Fast Feed

Electric Cars Do More Harm To The Planet Than Previously Thought

New research suggests that electric cars are not the environmental panacea that they are thought to be. A report from a team at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology claims that the vehicles fail on three fronts: production; charging; and their eventual demise.

The length of the vehicle's life has an impact on its carbon footprint—those with a life of around 200,000 km improve on gas and diesel engines by around 28% and 19% respectively. Halve the mileage, however, and an EV's effectiveness decreases by anything between 9% and 14%. But it is the source of the electricity used for charging the car that is the problem. Using an EV in a country which relies heavily on fossil fuels for its electricity will, unsurprisingly, increase greenhouse gas emissions. Using the car in Europe, however, saw benefits of around 10%, compared to traditional combustion engines.

EV production is, says one of the authors of the report, more environmentally intensive than the traditional automotive industry. Breaking a vehicle up at the end of its life is also more hazardous, as the batteries and motors use toxic materials such as nickel, aluminum, and copper.

[Image via Creative Commons on Flickr]