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Traverse City Mi 49686
Garfield Auto Service Center
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Traverse City Mi 49686
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Are EVs Really Better For The Environment?

April 21, 2021, 12:00 am

Take two cars off the road and dig into them. One is electric; one is gas. Which is actually better for the planet?

Some of the biggest automotive companies in the world are completely retooling their businesses to go all-in on electric vehicles. General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, and others are expecting to make the move to electric over the next decade, and they are investing billions of dollars to get there over the course of that timeline. 

There are other benefits to EVs besides their environmental impact, but time and again, much of the discussion around them comes down to their emissions total: zero. That can be a bit misleading. Some experts prefer to think about tailpipe emissions, or, the carbon emitted during the normal, everyday operation of a vehicle. But what about production? Distribution? And, ultimately, disposal of these vehicles as they become obsolete?

An EV and a RV (regular vehicle, for our purposes here) both generate a lot of pollution when they’re built, including mining for metals, treating and smelting the steel and aluminum, as well as the construction of the various components. EVs get dirty here. They are additional emissions produced to create its lithium-ion battery. Before the cars even leave the factory, an EV produces about 65% more carbon. 

At 5,000 miles, things get a bit closer. By now, an EV has been using electricity from the grid, which is more efficient than even the most advanced internal combustion engine using fossil fuels. Still, it’s not enough time to make up for the battery production, and the EV has produced about 12.9 tons of emissions, with an RV 9.2 tons. 

By 100,000 miles, the tables have turned. Now, the RV has produced over 43 tons of emissions, 77% more than the EV. By 200,000 miles, it’s not even close. The EV will have produced 36 tons of carbon emissions as compared to a whopping 78 tons from a RV. 

So, it takes time, but the EV is a clear winner. For most owners driving the average 15,000 miles a year, it’ll take just over six years to break even in emissions. 

Is an EV on your radar? Let us know!

Posted by Cody Sovis at 12:00 am
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