Hybrid vehicles feature several different designs, including ones that run off of on-board generators, diesel and fuel cells. The electric vehicles (EV) with plug-in batteries feature eco-friendly characteristics, and according to Green Car Congress, an estimated 2 million hybrid cars will be sold by 2015. However, there are always pros and cons to weigh, and you have to wonder whether electric cars really conserve. One aspect that is really helping sell EVs is their efficient fuel consumption. The increased fuel efficiency reduces dependency on oil, which means fewer oilrigs and drilling that harm the environment. Decreased greenhouse gas emissions are also a positive for the planet. So, where is the “but” in all of this? The downside is that EV batteries are constructed from heavy metals such as copper and aluminum, and these materials have to be mined and processed. In addition to the mining, there are also disposal issues. These concerns may be secondary environmental impacts, yet they are still present. In order to resolve the battery disposal issue, car companies like Toyota have instituted return programs and even extended warranties. This helps ensure that the batteries are recycled and made into new batteries and prevents landfilling. Nevertheless, there will still be consumers who improperly dispose of these products, which can cause potential contamination of groundwater and soil. Another issue that is overlooked is how these vehicles are powered. Even though emissions don’t come from the tailpipe, they will still be coming from other electric power sources, including smokestacks, nuclear reactors, etc.. Exceptions include EVs powered by wind or solar power, but coal-fired power stations are more common. As you can see, there is still quite a debate surrounding EVs. Overall, these alternative modes of transportation can do more conserving than harm if, and only if, consumers and manufacturers alike act more responsible. Driving an EV causes less pollution than the standard gasoline-powered car, and its sustainability can be more pronounced if proper battery disposal and renewable energy is a part of the equation as well.
Do Electric Vehicles Really Conserve Resources?
If you are wondering whether electric vehicles ultimately conserve, weigh the pros and cons.