EV’s are not good for the environment!
That headline or similar claims have been floating about the media for some time now. A 2014 study by the University of Minnesota among others found that EV’s can contribute to global pollution if the source of the electricity they use is not clean. Why the headlines don’t read, “Coal Fired Power Plants are a Threat to Civilization” instead of lambasting EV’s is no mystery. Most of the articles quickly get to this point but headlines lambasting coal fired power plants don’t draw the eyeballs that anti-EV banners do and media of all sorts depends on attracting eyeballs for validation. The potential number of EV’s on the road is far greater than the number of power plants so why not focus the cleanup at the source.
The fact is that EV’s are good for the environment. You can power them with wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and yes, fossil fuel. But whatever the source EV’s don’t go around spewing CO2 and other pollutants into cities towns and the countryside. If clean up is required it can be done at the source.
Additionally, if you choose to power your EV with sustainably derived electricity you do away with the need to transport explosive and toxic materials around the world in ships, trains, trucks and pipelines and avoid all the spillage associated with that transport. EV’s don’t require mountaintop mining, deep sea oil drilling or other destructive extractive processes.
Technologies are already available to scrub pollutants from power plant stacks but that would add to the cost of electricity. Most consumers would rather pretend that the hundreds of billions of dollars, pounds, rand, yen, etc. added to global health costs by the fossil fuel industry do not exist and that the rise in power cost would be far more onerous than the heart disease, lung disease, lower intelligence in offspring and many other problems associated with fossil fuels.
And by the way, if fossil fuel companies were required to clean up their messes the price of fossil fuels would be quite a bit higher than the price of sustainable energy. This cost adjustment would drive the sustainable industry, technological improvements would follow rapidly due to the increase in research funding and the world would be a much cleaner place.
EV’s are not the problem, the problem our insistence on “cheap” energy no matter what the true cost.