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Saving the environment might require a lot more work than driving an electric car.

Electric cars have been swooned over by environmentalists for decades because of their environmentally conscious build and use of energy. The cars run on a battery charge instead of fossil fuels, which makes their CO2 emissions a lot less than their gas-driven counterparts.

The impact of electric cars on the world at large could be a lot more than previously thought. Although fully electric vehicles don’t omit certain emissions, such as direct (also known as tailpipe) emissions, there’s still a release of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The advantages are clear

The advantages of driving an electric car when it comes to impacting the environment are widely accepted and for good reason. A fully electric vehicle doesn’t require any fill-ups at your local gas station, thus doesn’t release any of the harmful fumes that come along with burning fuel.

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Because of this lack of fuel burning, the electric car doesn’t damage the environment as much as one that blows burnt fumes out of its tailpipe. Personal advantages of driving electric are saving money on gas, helping to contribute to the protection of the environment, and the availability of incentives from electric car companies offering deals.

Many forget about the disadvantages

Aside from electric cars costing more than traditional vehicles, there are many other disadvantages. Charging the battery to full can be a long and taxing process, especially if you’re late for work or stopped at a rest stop halfway to your long-distance destination. The least amount of time you’ll wait for the charge is 40 minutes. At most, you could need overnight to achieve a full charge.

Electric cars also produce greenhouse gas emissions, because they are still expending some energy, even if it’s from a battery. Unless you’re using zero-emissions electricity, you’re still going to be contributing to pollution and gas emissions whether you drive an electric car or not. Most EV’s (electric vehicles) emit upwards of 4,000 pounds of greenhouse gases that are equivalent to CO2 per year.

Hybrid versus electric

A hybrid vehicle uses both battery-powered technology and a gas engine to power the car, getting both the best and worst of both worlds. The car can run on both engines at the same time, or it can use one or the other, depending on the driver’s preferences, the amount of gas in the car, and the amount of battery power it has left.

Because the hybrid vehicles use both gas and battery-powered engines, the emissions that come from the engine are both greenhouse and fuel-based.

Although the electric part of the car does decrease your own personal emissions, the gas-powered engine is still contributing to the overall problem. A fully electric vehicle has a smaller impact on the environment because it eliminates fuel emissions altogether.

The lifecycle of electric cars versus fuel-powered

The lifecycle of cars depends greatly on a number of factors. Manufacturing costs and energy usage for electric cars are virtually the same as their gas-powered counterparts. The use of land, the emissions released due to the large scale of manufacturing, and the direct emissions from the use of the vehicle were all factors taken into account in one study done by the ADAC.

When it comes to the usage of the car, the differences are quite obvious. Electric vehicles will always win out when it comes to fossil fuel emissions because they don’t have any. Getting rid of your car when it’s finally out for the count has also been measured, and the disposal of the vehicle is a very similar process in terms of scrapping the materials. The only difference in the electric car is that the ion battery used is recycled and the fuel engine is not.

The cost of the car may make people shy away

It’s no secret that electric cars tend to be more expensive than traditional vehicles, especially the newer models such as Tesla. The prices for electric cars range from $24,000 for the most basic version of the Smart TwoFour all the way up to almost a million dollars for the Rimac Concept One, a Croatian car that sits at the top of the luxury pile.

When a traditional hybrid or fuel-powered vehicle can come in well under that price, some with advanced fuel systems that lower emissions, splurging that much on an EV can put some people off. Hybrid vehicles have become one of the more popular choices because of their environmentally conscious systems and their price point.

Is there a superior electric car

Not all battery-powered cars are made the same and not all of them have the same impact on the environment. In fact, every electric car will have a different impact based on several different factors including how often they’re driven, how far, and even where they are driven.

The EV you choose to drive will depend greatly on what you’re looking for in a green vehicle. If longer drive time is a big concern for you, you’ll need to take that into account when picking a vehicle as the charges on various vehicles vary greatly. You’ll also have to take into count the ride of the vehicle, the feel and comfort of the vehicle, and of course, the emissions released from each car.

What’s the Green score

Each EV is given a Green Score, the number that takes into account all those factors, and gives them an overall rating for how good they are for the consumer and the environment. The best EV’s, or the cars that have the greatest overall impact on the environment, are the BMW I3, the Nissan Leaf, and the Hyundai Kona Electric, both with scores over 70.

The EV’s with the lowest green score on the market are Kia Niro Electric, Tesla Model 3, and the Ford Fusion Energy Plug-In, all with scores in the 50s. The cars that follow in the ratings from 0 to 50 are all gas-fueled vehicles or hybrids, so the worst EV’s on the market aren’t much better than traditional fossil fuel engined vehicles being produced at the same time.

How big of a dent are they putting in the global issue

There has been a lot of debate about how impactful EV’s are on the environment as of late. The number of emissions they release from coal are no doubt lower than traditional engined vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that they are that much better than traditional cars.

Because almost a third of the energy used for electricity in the US is powered by fossil fuels, the EV impact isn’t as low as some are led to believe.

That, coupled with the fact that EVs do still release their own type of emissions in the form of greenhouse gasses and air pollutants, makes electric vehicles a bit better than traditional engines on the environment, but not by much.

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