Amber asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 5 years ago

How is electric cars any better than gas cars for the environment?

Isn't charging an electric car like leaving all your lights on? How is it necessarily any better?

8 Answers

  • 5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The short answer :

    You are correct if we use fossil fuels to generate the electricity it would be roughly the same for both electric cars and gas cars.

    The long answer:

    Typical thermal efficiency for utility-scale electrical generators is around 33% for coal and oil-fired plants, and 56 – 60% (LHV) for combined-cycle gas-fired plants. [1] Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 6.5% in 2007 [2] giving an efficiency rating of about 37% for fossil fuel by the time it gets to our homes.

    Electric vehicles convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels. [3]

    So the total efficiency for fossil fuel energy as the source of the electricity is about 22%, only slightly higher than gasoline vehicles. A fair statement would be that in the case of using fossil fuels as the primary source of energy for both cars and generating electricity the energy used would be roughly the same.

    I didn't count in non CO2 producing sources for generating electricity such as nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar. While coal plants are being replaced with more cost efficient and less polluting natural gas fired power stations as well as non polluting wind and solar. It should be obvious that an electric car is currently less bad for the environment than an internal combustion engine and due to the shift in cleaner electricity sources, the electric car is expected to improve even more over time. Although you could argue that some coal fired plants could be closed because they are no longer needed to charge the electric cars.

    Solar on the roof is already cheaper than buying it of the grid [4] and some utility companies are now taxing people who feed the excess energy back into the grid (taxing the sun), using that excess solar energy to charge the vehicle would be make economic sense and would be non polluting.

    I hope that this helps.

  • 5 years ago

    Electric cars are better for the environment because it is more efficient to have power generated at a central location (electric power plant), than 1,000 separate internal combustion engines.

    However, other posters are correct that there is still an environmental impact, of course. There is no energy "free lunch" the power has to come from somewhere.

    The exact impact would depend on - how much it's driven, and how the electricity used to run it is generated.

  • 5 years ago

    More reliable due to less moving parts.

    More efficient due to simpler design.




    Can be charged at home

    Range is a bit of a problem but if you are using it for short journeys should be OK.

    Banned in half the US States because electric cars are conspiracy against the car and fossil fuel companies. So good luck people. Climate deniers want to keep us dependent on the supply chain of the oil companies so the oil companies can continue their $$$ billion a day profits.

    Wake and smell the coffee people... No accident oil companies ARE the most proftible in the world.

  • 5 years ago

    Electricity is not a source of energy. It is just a way of moving it about.

    So the energy for an electric car has come from somewhere else. If it comes from a fossil-fueled power station then it causes just as much pollution and CO2 as anything else.

    It does have the effect of moving the pollution, though. Instead of it being where the car is it moves it to where the power station is. So this should make towns and cities cleaner - assuming the power stations are elsewhere, of course.

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  • Kano
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    No it is worse.

    Power stations that supply the electricity are about 35% efficient add in the losses from transmission lines, battery charging inefficiency, and battery inefficiency, and an electric car uses up a lot more fossil fuel than a conventional one.

  • 5 years ago

    There have been at least two university studies done in the past. They found that a Prius creates more pollution than a Hummer He when counting everything from manufacture to dumping the vehicle at the end of it's useful life.

  • 5 years ago

    Electric cars reduce air pollution but considering all of their faults, they are not any better than gasoline cars. Although they are creating solar cars.

  • Mike
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    Tesla electric cars charged by diesel generator. Looks like you could have just bought a diesel car.

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