Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?


Do electric cars really help the environment?
President Obama thinks so. So does Leonardo DiCaprio. And many others. The argument goes like this: Regular cars run on gasoline, a fossil fuel
that pumps CO2 straight out of the tailpipe and into the atmosphere. Electric cars run
on electricity. They don’t burn any gasoline at all. No gas; no CO2. In fact, electric
cars are often advertised as creating “zero emissions.” But do they really? Let’s
take a closer look. First, there’s the energy needed to produce
the car. More than a third of the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric
car comes from the energy used make the car itself, especially the battery. The mining
of lithium, for instance, is not a green activity. When an electric car rolls off the production
line, it’s already been responsible for more than 25,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide
emission. The amount for making a conventional car: just 16,000 pounds. But that’s not the end of the CO2 emissions.
Because while it’s true that electric cars don’t run on gasoline, they do run on electricity,
which, in the US is often produced by another fossil fuel — coal. As green venture capitalist
Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.” The most popular electric car, the Nissan
Leaf, over a 90,000-mile lifetime will emit 31 metric tons of CO2, based on emissions
from its production, its electricity consumption at average U.S. fuel mix and its ultimate
scrapping. A comparable Mercedes CDI A160 over a similar
lifetime will emit just 3 tons more across its production, diesel consumption and ultimate
scrapping. The results are similar for a top-line Tesla, the king of electric cars. It emits
about 44 tons, which is only 5 tons less than a similar Audi A7 Quattro. So throughout the full life of an electric
car, it will emit just three to five tons less CO2. In Europe, on its European Trading
System, it currently costs $7 to cut one ton of CO2. So the entire climate benefit of an
electric car is about $35. Yet the U.S. federal government essentially provides electric car
buyers with a subsidy of up to $7,500. Paying $7,500 for something you could get
for $35 is a very poor deal. And that doesn’t include the billions more in federal and state
grants, loans and tax write-offs that go directly to battery and electric-car makers. The other main benefit from electric cars
is supposed to be lower pollution. But remember Vinod Khosla’s observation “Electric cars
are coal-powered cars.” Yes, it might be powered by coal, proponents
will say, but unlike the regular car, coal plant emissions are far away from the city
centers where most people live and where damage from air pollution is greatest. However, new
research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that while gasoline cars
pollute closer to home, coal-fired power actually pollutes more — a lot more. How much more? Well, the researchers estimate that if the
U.S. has 10% more gasoline cars in 2020, 870 more people will die each year from the additional
air pollution. If the U.S. has 10% more electric vehicles powered on the average U.S. electricity
mix, 1,617 more people will die every year from the extra pollution. Twice as many. But of course electricity from renewables
like solar and wind creates energy for electric cars without CO2. Won’t the perceived rapid
ramp-up of these renewables make future electric cars much cleaner? Unfortunately, this is
mostly wishful thinking. Today, the U.S. gets 14% of its electric power from renewables.
In 25 years, Obama’s Energy Information Administration estimates that number will
have gone up just 3 percentage points to 17%. Meanwhile, those fossil fuels that generate
65% of U.S. electricity today will still generate about 64% of it in 2040. While electric-car owners may cruise around
feeling virtuous, the reality is that the electric car cuts almost no CO2, costs taxpayers
a fortune, and, surprisingly, generates more air pollution than traditional gasoline cars. I’m Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen
Consensus Center.

About the Author: Michael Flood

15 Comments

  1. There is not a single electrical car in the world that can match the VW 1 liter Diesel/Hybrid car for environmental impact. The sad thing is politicians and religious fanatics stops progress.
    117 MPG on diesel and 260MPG if you have charged the 5.5KW battery.
    The sheer technology of this just knocks the socks off anything like the Teslas, new large battery pack EVs where they produce and haul 100KW battery packs around for a rainy day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4sTW_tg7CE

  2. Most people are very easy to fool. And you can sell them almost anything, as long as they believe to be good people when buying crap. EVs are all about virtue signalling. CO2 is not a problem to begin with. That's where the entire narrative of "being a good person" falls apart. In terms of efficiency, using batteries to drive cars is the most stupid way to move stuff around. The power density of today's batteries is approx. 0.4 MJ/kg and that of gasoline 43 MJ/kg. Even if you change that by involving ever more special chemicals and rare earths, you will never come even close to fuel. But you will exploit nature to try it. The most harmful way to handle nature today is "environmental protection". It's doing exactly the opposite of what it promises.

  3. Electric cars are green depends on where u live & shove the car to charge,California & Norway 2 nem a very few… they should take a look at KERS(keniticEnergyRecoverySystem) used in F1 & porsche 918spyder and shove it in electric cars so no more charging.. Go regenerative braking.. Thu its still very xpensive

  4. I don't see why climate change is such a big deal. The earth's climate has been in a perpetual state of change since it developed.

  5. So my very technical analysis of this video, do to the fact that I am a highly educated, and highly intelligent individual, and a genius also. I have come to the very complicated and highly researched conclusion on this topic, that >>> you dont get something for nothing🤓🤓🤓

  6. A comment was made here about how a person is way more environmentally friendly because his family has 2 electric cars and they charge them with their roof panels. Then some one said well how do you think the batteries are made? . So I think the solution is to harness the batteries in dildos because they can make them like those flashlights that you shake up and down and it powers it up. Can you imagine how much power can be made without having to manufacture those solar panels? That is environmentally friendly and I challenge anyone to come up with s better idea🤓

  7. This video is full of lies! Fake sources! Here you can watch a serious analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RhtiPefVzM

  8. Wow,I was just about to say that I for once disagree with PragerU. But I guess I don t entirely. CNG is going to make US electricity much cleaner than the current coal based mix. And my next car with massive electrification ( all electric, or Extended Range EV) will give me north of 100 mpgE, 4 times than what I currently get, with massive savings on fuel, at very comparable purchase prices to an ICE car ( i.e. Cadillac ATS versus Tesla 3 )
    But my main consideration will be that I get 350 hp and even more torque from Tesla, unmatched by the competition. EVs are the future. Great video.

  9. My plug in hybrid has 184,000 miles. That's double the 90,000 miles they assumed would be the lifetime of the cars. Additionally the batteries get recycled when the car's service live is over so this video is full of terrible assumptions.

  10. I was just curious, could you pack any more strawman arguments into your videos?

    This was by far one of the dumbest and ill-researched videos I have ever seen.

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