This article was originally published on Thred Media.
Electric cars are the future of commercial automobiles.
Most developed nations are pledging to invest heavily within the next few decades to curb carbon emissions — and new evidence appears to suggest they’re the better option compared to diesel and petrol vehicles when it comes to cutting down on waste too.
The study by Transport and Environment reveals that traditionally fuelled cars use a significantly higher amount of resources to be produced and maintained, from production to eventual scrappage.
Only 30kg of raw material will be lost over the lifecycle of a lithium-ion battery used in electric cars. By comparison, over 17,000 litres of oil is used in a fossil fuelled engine over the same amount of time.
This finding is important because it challenges many valid criticisms of electric vehicles and the environmental dangers of a lithium gold rush.
There are significant hazards and pitfalls that could arise from an intense need for lithium and a ramp up of cobalt and nickel mining, but Transport and Environment argue these costs are far outweighed by our current oil extraction methods. To put things into context, one fossil fuel car burns enough resources to stack oil barrels 25 storeys high — while an electric car uses a football sized amount of raw materials in comparison.
The good news is that electric cars are definitely here to stay, and if most countries around the world adopt them as standard, we could see oil usage fall exponentially.
Keep in mind too that battery technology is expected to become more efficient and cheaper to produce in the coming years, requiring less raw materials. High recycling rates of scrapped cars may help to lower the demand further.
Battery cars are predicted to use 58% less energy than petrol cars over their lifetimes and emit 64% less carbon dioxide, according to the study.
Whichever way you look at it, electric cars are far better for the environment than your grandad’s old wagon he keeps in the garage. It may be a while yet before we’re all sporting Teslas and queuing up at charging stations, but it could be closer than you think.