The Pollution of Electric Cars
The Pollution of Electric Cars
The Pollution of Electric Cars

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has estimated that the greenhouse gas emissions of electric cars are around 30% lower than the emissions of petrol and diesel cars, taking into account the energy currently used in EU countries and the entire life cycle of the vehicle, including their production process.

It Is Just A Beginning

Throughout its all-time using cycle, a typical electric car in Europe already produces less greenhouse gases and air pollutants than any standard petrol or diesel engines. Emissions are generally higher during the production phase of electric vehicles, but this is more than offset by lower emissions during the lifetime of electric vehicles, according to a report released by the European Environment Agency at the end of last year about the electric vehicles, their life cycle, and the circular economy.

Talking in Numbers

The European Environment Agency estimates that greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles are about 17-30% lower than the amount produced by petrol and diesel cars, depending on the energy currently used in the EU and the entire life and using cycle of a vehicle from the phase of production until the utilization. It is estimated that emissions from a typical electric vehicle could be reduced by at least 73% over its entire life cycle by 2050.

Electric vehicles also have many benefits for local air quality, as their emissions on the roads are zero. Of course, electric vehicles emit particulate matter because, like any other vehicles, they are driving on the roads and have tires and brake pads. However, the increased usage of electric vehicles reduces the pollution of noise, especially in big cities where car speeds tend to be low and traffic tends to be very intensive.

Impact on Climate Change

The report of European Environment Agency also emphasizes the positive impact of electric cars on climate change, air quality, reduced noise, and ecosystems compared to conventional cars. According to the report, the result of comparison between the standard cars and electric vehicles is less favorable for electric vehicles if we evaluate the impact of electric vehicle production on ecosystems and the use of toxic substances. This impact is mainly caused to the extraction and processing of copper, nickel, and critical raw materials that are used for making electric cars and their engines. However, the impact could be reduced by using the model of circular economy that encourages re-use and recycling, especially of batteries.

The overall pollution produced by all vehicles is still high in Europe, as the use of electric transport is still gaining the popularity over the standard vehicles and the percentage of usage is relatively low. Effective implementation of the principles of the circular economy could lead to much better environmental performance, efficient management of end-of-life vehicles, re-use, and recycling of toxic substances. According to the latest data, the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in the EU have been growing since 2014. The transport sector continues to be an important source of air pollution, especially from particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.

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