The era of debating whether electric vehicles are environmentally friendly or not is long gone. There may be only a few remaining skeptics who staunchly oppose EVs, but the scientific consensus and global political trajectory are unequivocal – a transition from fossil fuels to electricity.
In this article, we shall refrain from discussing the reasons why electric vehicles are superior. Instead, we will examine why electric vehicles with longer range are, in fact, less environmentally friendly compared to those with shorter range. Additionally, we will explore the question of whether they should be subject to prohibition.
The environmentally friendly operation of electric vehicles vs. environmentally unfriendly production?
It is widely agreed upon that the operation of electric vehicles is environmentally friendly and practically emission-free. Logically, battery-powered vehicles emit zero local emissions because they do not release any pollutants into the atmosphere. However, we must consider the wear and tear of materials, particularly tires, which unfortunately harm the environment regardless of the propulsion type.
What is not entirely clean, however, is the production of electric vehicles, specifically batteries. Production is energy-intensive and involves working with various environmentally hazardous materials. The ecological impact of individual electric vehicles depends on whether smaller or larger batteries are manufactured.
Therefore, not all electric vehicles are equally environmentally friendly. Those with larger batteries promising longer range consume more materials during production and have higher energy consumption due to their increased weight, making them slightly less efficient. Additionally, the disposal of batteries is costlier and has a more significant impact on the environment.
Wouldn’t it be better to manufacture electric vehicles with shorter range and hybrids?
Scientists and engineers at Toyota have an interesting perspective on this matter, known as the 1:6:90 rule. This means that the same amount of rare materials needed to produce electric vehicles with longer range can be used to manufacture 6 plug-in hybrids or 90 full hybrids.
⚡Toyota's 1:6:90 rule. The amount of raw material needed to make a 🔋long-range EV could instead be used to make 6 🔌plug-in electric hybrid vehicles or 90 hybrid vehicles. The carbon reduction of those 90 hybrids over their lifetimes is 37 times as much as a single battery EV. pic.twitter.com/SgwZEv3H4u— Ludditus ex-Béranger🌷🇺🇦 🇹🇼 (@ludditus) May 29, 2023
Hence, the question arises: Wouldn’t it be better to manufacture electric vehicles only with shorter range and hybrids? Conversely, should electric vehicles with longer range be banned or restricted due to their “environmental unfriendliness”? Certainly not. We believe that any form of restriction or market subsidization is fundamentally flawed, regardless of the intentions. It is better to allow the market to let customers decide what is best for them. After all, electric vehicles have numerous advantages, and their environmental benefits are undeniable. Do you agree?