Are electric vehicles really environment friendly?

They seem to be if we go by no emissions as compared to fuel fed vehicles. But don't they emit bad vapors in the air, too when the batteries are being recharged? And in the long run, what happens when billions of batteries die out and needed to be replaced? Where do you dump them or what's left of them? They would surely pollute big time. So is it really a good alternative against fuel fed vehicles?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, they are. The batteries are fully recycleable, for starters. The following quote is about hybrid batteries, but the same applies to electric vehicle batteries:

    "Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery."

    http://www.toyota.com/about/environment/technology...

    Electric cars are refueled (batteries recharged) from the power grid, which does create greenhouse gas emissions. However, because the efficiency of these power plants and electric engines is much greater than the efficiency of burning gas, you still get a large overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The greener the power grid (more renewables like solar, wind, water power), the lower the emissions created to refuel an electric vehicle.

    ICE = gasoline car (internal combustion engine)

    HEV = hybrid gas-electric car (uses gasoline to recharge batteries)

    EV = electric vehicle (plugs in to recharge batteries)

    "EVs reduce CO2 by 11%-100% compared with ICEs and by 24%-54% compared with HEVs, and significantly reduce all other greenhouse gas emissions, using the U.S. grid mix. If all U.S. cars were EVs, we’d reduce global warming emissions. Using electricity strictly from coal, EVs still would reduce CO2 by 0%-59% compared with ICEs (one analysis found 0% change; six others found reductions of 17%-59%) and might produce 30%-49% more CO2 than HEVs (based on only two analyses). On the other hand, if electricity comes from solar or wind power, EVs eliminate all emissions. Using natural gas to make electricity, emissions fall in between those from coal and renewable power."

    http://www.pluginamerica.com/images/EmissionsSumma...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Batteries have a recycling system in place already to capture the heavy metals .

    Lead acid batteries used to have some vapor emissions but the new gel packs do not have that problem.

    The other thing to remember is that when the batteries are no longer giving you the range you'd like in your electric vehicle you can still use them in your house to store the electricity from your photovoltaic panels. You would have solar panels if you had an EV wouldn't you? Free power paid for by the savings in gas in a few years.

    Source(s): Also remember that the electricity generated at night is never all used. The excess is shunted to the ground and destroyed. Using that electricity to charge up at night is not only non polluting but cheaper than daytime power.
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  • emmet
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Any replace gas technologies that will improve the generating requirement above modern replace and growth production isn't environmentally friendly. It takes a good number of capability and components to make a sparkling motor vehicle, much greater for an electric powered motor vehicle using fact the conventional public does no longer settle for a "Batteries no longer coated" coverage. The batteries could additionally might desire to be recycled each 2 years which is composed of much greater capability and a few extra components. All of this represents a large carbon footprint. additionally, the place is the electrical powered energy from, maximum electrical energy in the present day are the two from coal or organic gas. A gas motor vehicle engaged on Fischer Tropsch guy made gas made by potential of bio-mass gasification could be carbon unfavourable while an electric powered motor vehicle charged on coal produced electrical energy could be carbon valuable for this reason if so, the gas motor vehicle could be greater environmentally friendly. the main environmentally friendly selection gas selection could artwork with modern automobiles and distribution networks as a manner to steer away from the environmental expenses of adjusting the motor vehicle fleet and of making new infrastructure. this boundaries the alternatives to bio-butanol, bio-diesel, and guy made fuels. of course, motor vehicle manufacturers choose the electrical powered, hybrid and hydrogen routes as they get to make and sell greater automobiles. the conventional public will in all probability circulate with the environmentally risky electric powered, hybrid and hydrogen innovations using lack of understanding and merchandising efforts even nonetheless the technologies to offer biomass derived guy made fuels have been around for the greater appropriate area of a century and has been shown on scales as large as finished countries (WWII Germany, and embargoed South Africa).

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  • fred
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Electric motors are far more efficient motive force than infernal combustion because of basic laws of physics.

    So even if the electric comes from fossil fuel, it needs much less than a petrol car.

    consider generators use unrefined fuel close to source, so no tankers, pipelines, filling stations, refineries ... all very "dirty" compared to a very efficient national grid. batteriy vehicles could improve the grid efficiency further by storing "off-peak" from renewables (the wind still blows at night) and selling it back at peak periods.

    Power plants are continusly monitored & maintained for optimum load and temperature and emmision levels; most car journies the engine never gets warm enough, never in optimum gear etc

    An electric car generates maximum torque from 0rpm so low transmission losses, regenerates electric slowing down, no energy used when stationary.

    Modern Li-ion batteries, are easy to manufacture & recycle; (unlike an infernal combustion engine complex alloys, transmission clutch, oil ...& catalyctic exaust , or the particulates & Nox, Co2 etc)

    lifetime is getting to be near that of the car >10 years, recharge in 10 minutes, no gassing ...

    http://www.altairnano.com/markets.html

    Also evs are just more enjoyable, fun and pleasent to drive http://www.teslamotors.com , than the clunky, noisy, high maintenance, smelly things the big car makers foist on us with multi-million $ ad campaigns & lobbying to stop aternatives. http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com

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  • Bob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes.

    They don't emit "bad vapors" when being recharged.

    And the batteries can be recycled. Toyota has been doing that with Prius batteries for years. They are designed to be recycled.

    David J is right tthough. Electric cars will only be truly beneficial when we have alternative energy power plants.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Both of the points you raised are not valid. Modern batteries--e.g. the ones used in laptops, cellphones, etc--do not emit vapors, toxic or otherwise. The batteries for an electric car are simply larger versions. And disposal of old batteries isn't a real problem--in fact, since they would normally be switched out at a service station, its almost certain they would be sent to processing facilities. So there'd be LESS impact on the environment than alll the batteries people use now and mostly just throw in the trash--where they end up in landfills.

    There is one legitimate problem with electrics--not with the cars themselves, but with the source of power. Although electrics are environmentally clean, much of the gain we make by using them is lost because we still rely heavily on coal powerplants to produce the electricity in the first place. So--in addition to pusing for alternatives like electric cars, we also need to push for alternatives to coal/oil as a source for electric power. Fortunately, with the current breakthroughs in solar power (which is lowering prices to competitive levels) and nuclear (where progress is dealing witht he safety issues) we have the means to shift away from coal-based power.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Not here, they aren't.

    Electric vehicles run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. In many areas of the world, electricity is generated by hydro or other more innocuous sources. In Alberta, we use dirty coal to generate electricity. That is, coal with a huge sulphur content, releasing H2S into our environment. We have one of the highest asthma rates in the world.

    Now, we also have access to abundant underground and biogas methane sources, being one of the world's oil producers, as well as cattle ranching. If we used that to fuel our electricity, electric cars might make sense. Even though our winters are some of the worst of all the world's cities, and they are most unreliable in serious cold. Therefore, our solution currently would be better for diesel or natural gas or some such, eliminating the need for octane for cars and the problem of winter running, rather than switching to electric...

    Always consider the local source of electricity. Some areas use nuclear, for heaven's sake. Building more of those plants is most certainly not a better choice than gasoline to fuel vehicles...

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  • BAL
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Batteries present one issue, but also think about where we get the energy to charge the batteries. Our electrical power is largely generated from coal and it is filthy, so using electricity to power cars will require more coal consumption and probably natural gas.

    Or we could conceivably each have solar cells installed at out homes to charge our cars -- except our cars are at the office during sunlight hours, so we would have to store the solar energy to charge our car batteries in another array of batteries at home.

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  • GABY
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The batteries are not the real problem. Batteries are recycled. They do give off Hydrogen gas when charged, but is not a problem as long as area is well ventilated and no sparks near battery.

    The main problem with electric cars is they can't make long trips, and because you are charging them with electrical power most of the pollution is just moved to the location of the power plant. Most power plants are coal, oil, or gas. This is good for the cities but from a global warming perspective it doesn't help.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I've read that driving a Hummer is actually better for the environment than driving a Prius. This is because batteries are extremely toxic and because Prius batteries are made in Canada and therefor must be shipped to Japan to be installed. When all is said and done, the environment actually is worse off. If you want to reduce emissions drive a clean diesel and more importantly DRIVE LESS!

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