• Vitor Szuster

The Truth About Electric Cars’ Sustainability

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular each day, and the reasons for that are the sustainability they offer, as well as the possibility of quick accelerations without making nearly as much noise as combustion engine cars. Because of the advertisement strategies used by manufacturers, many people believe that electric cars are 100% sustainable, though there are some concerns about their batteries.


According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Most electric vehicle batteries are lithium-based and rely on a mix of cobalt, manganese, nickel, and graphite and other primary components.”. These natural resources involve carbon emissions in their extraction, and it is important to keep in mind that they are finite. The way lithium is extracted, for instance, puts at risk water supplies in the deserts it is extracted from.


About the manufacturing of batteries, the International Council on Clean Transportation says: “(…)the studies indicate that battery production is associated with 56 to 494 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity (kg CO2/kWh) for electric vehicles.”. Yet another proof showing how electric vehicles are not 100% sustainable.


With that being said, although electric vehicles are not as 100% sustainable as people believe they are, driving an electric car is more sustainable than a combustion engine one in 95% of the world, according to Forbes. Also, it is important to consider how the energy used by these vehicles is produced in each region to really calculate how sustainable they are.


In conclusion, it is and with time will become much better to choose electric vehicles in all senses: not only regarding sustainability, but also considering that, according to Coltura, some EV batteries are already lasting as much as 500,000 miles, more than two times the average combustion engine lasts. That, in turn, means that car manufacturing rates may drop a lot as this type of vehicle becomes more popular.



Works Cited

“Electric Car Batteries And The Environment — Coltura - moving beyond gasoline.” Coltura, https://www.coltura.org/evbatteries. Accessed 8 April 2022.

“EV batteries.” Union of Concerned Scientists, 9 March 2018, https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/ev-batteries. Accessed 8 April 2022.

Hall, Dale. “Effects of battery manufacturing on electric vehicle life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.” International Council on Clean Transportation, https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/EV-life-cycle-GHG_ICCT-Briefing_09022018_vF.pdf. Accessed 8 April 2022.

“Lifetime emissions of EVs are lower than gasoline cars, experts say.” CNBC, 26 July 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/26/lifetime-emissions-of-evs-are-lower-than-gasoline-cars-experts-say.html. Accessed 8 April 2022.


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