Are Electric Cars Really Greener?

Trying to be green and eco-conscious around some of life’s bigger purchases isn’t easy. Two of the most expensive things most people will ever buy will be their house and their car and unless you are directly involved with the creation or building of either of those it’s not likely you’ll be able to make them 100% eco friendly.

You can however make sure they are sustainable. If you are buying a house then ideally you would buy an older property (not a new build that’s been put in on previously green fields) and make sure you do as much as you can to it to make it greener and more sustainable – things like upgrading the boiler, fixing drafty windows and doors so you don’t waste energy and so on.

When it comes to cars, buying second hand from a company such as fort used car centre is the more sustainable option but it might not be for the reasons that you think: let’s take a look!

Wait, hang on, I thought new cars especially electric or hybrid cars are greener and cause fewer emissions?

Technically yes, newer cars generally do emit less CO2 day to day than their older counterparts but that’s not the whole picture.

Running emissions aren’t the only type of emissions caused by cars – a lot of the dangerous emissions are caused in the production process and contribute to the cars ‘lifetime emissions’. In fact, Toyota did a study in 2004 which found that over 28% of a cars CO2 emissions were created during the manufacturing and production process! Let’s not forget about the ores that need to be dug out of the ground to make the cars metal or the rubber for the tires and plastic for the dashboards and trimmed plus the transportation of parts from around the world.

Related: Water Conservation: 15 Tips to Reduce Your Usage

It’s not just emissions we have to look at either, there’s a bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to the modern technology of electric cars…the batteries.

The batteries that run electric cars use rare-earth elements such as cobalt and lithium. The demand for electric cars has increased, meaning the demand for these elements has too and in turn the need to mine and source them. A lot of the time these elements are found in underdeveloped countries where there is not a great infrastructure or a sustainable (or ethical) workforce which can raise more issues.

When it comes to charging electric cars surely it only makes sense to make sure you are using power that was sourced properly? Can you tell if the electricity you are using was created by solar panels or a wind farm? If the power you use to charge an electric car comes from burning fossil fuels then is it really much different to driving a regular car around?

Once an electric car battery ‘dies’ or stops working effectively there’s not currently a way to recycle it properly, thankfully there are a lot of companies work on trying to remedy this but until they do we’ve got piles of these batteries stacking up with no use.

So, is an electric car really better for the environment? Not really, or at least not at the moment. With the advancing technology over the next decade or so that may well become the case but for the time being, buying second hand is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re being sustainable.

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