Think Again About Electric Cars

While they may seem environmentally friendly, electric cars are anything but.

Electric cars arent as ecofriendly as they seem.

The Wall Street Journal

Electric cars aren’t as ecofriendly as they seem.

Jameson Kowalski, Columnist

Electric cars are being considered one of the only ways to save our environment from climate change. Electric cars have existed since the 1890s, but modern electric cars didn’t become popular until around 2016. Despite the veneer of environmental concern, electric cars  are responsible for a decent amount of pollution. These cars don’t deliver on the promise of being an environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles.

To charge the vehicles, owners use home chargers or find locations around cities. Though the cars are powered by electricity and the chargers are electric, they still are powered by fossil fuels. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 61 percent of the energy produced in 2021 in the United States was produced by fossil fuels, coal, and other natural gasses. Only 20 percent of the energy generated was from a renewable source. This means that the process to get energy to the car requires a power plant to burn coal and release greenhouse gasses into the air. That’s bad, but it isn’t the only bad part about them.

The batteries, lithium ion batteries, require a dangerous mining process that isn’t good for the environment. Before the batteries can even be produced, lithium needs to be mined. The process for extracting the lithium is something that is frowned upon deeply. According to Green Tech Media, many mines used to collect lithium operate illegally without a government knowing about them. These mines are especially prominent in South America and Africa. Additionally, these mines operate using the unpaid and forced labor of children and adults.

There are still worse things about lithium mining. Euronews states that the process of extracting lithium can cause large amounts of environmental damage such as soil degradation and water shortages. Along with that, there is a loss in biodiversity, leaving ecosystems damaged. All those changes help to exacerbate climate change. The people who live near these mines don’t have a stable or healthy water source, and they are at risk of the soil collapsing underneath them.

Altogether, electric cars seem like they could be the way to a greener future, but they don’t actually provide any change. They indirectly produce the same, if not more, pollution than a normal gas car. The process to manufacture them is neither humane nor safe for the environment. And the cost of maintenance outlasts what they should be worth. The best option, for an environmentally friendly car, at the moment would be hybrid cars, or a more fuel efficient vehicle.

People shouldn’t give up on electric cars though. Renewable energy costs are going down, and the amount of solar panels and wind turbines has increased. That helps electric car chargers become more sustainable and better for the environment. Production facilities are also focusing on going carbon neutral, eliminating emissions. While the technology isn’t the best at the moment, the future is bright for electric cars.