Study: Electric Cars Hurt the Environment
At least in areas that burn fossil fuels for electricity
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 5, 2012 9:34 AM CDT
A Tesla Model S drives outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., Friday, June 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – Buying a Model S or a Leaf might not be the proverbial tree hug you thought it was. Electric cars actually harm the environment more than their gas-powered counterparts in many places, a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has concluded. That's in part because electric car production "proved substantially more environmentally intensive," the report said, according to the BBC. "The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles."

That higher production cost might pay off if you live in an area powered by clean electricity sources—particularly if the car stays on the road a long time. But if your area gets its power from fossil fuels like coal or lignite, "it is counterproductive to promote electric vehicles," the report said—they may even wind up causing more carbon emissions than gas burners. In addition, electric car batteries require toxic minerals like nickel, copper, and aluminum, increasing the potential for acidification.

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Showing 3 of 86 comments
Oct 11, 2012 2:28 PM CDT
Buy a horse, let it eat lots of agro-grown grains, let it dump wastes into local rivers, and enjoy the 'green house gas' output of your new organic transport ! Or, you could just have solar panels on your house, a well maintained battery bank, and charge up your car every night with power collected 'free' from the sun. Sol is the ultimate power, and the sooner people embrace the very living energy that powers the whole planet - the better.
Oct 9, 2012 9:49 PM CDT
Study: Electric Cars Hurt the Environment? Duh!
Oct 6, 2012 9:28 PM CDT
The current consumer electric vehicles are not what I would call a successful alternative, yet, and yes most people with half a brain already knew they were no cleaner in the long run (why do you think the batteries are made in china). But in-terms of performance, With a big enough electric motor and enough Li batteries they can make some awesome torque and are always in the power band. There is a white Datsun 1200 in Oregon, modified electric, that runs low 10s through the 1/4 mile, that smokes my Corvette easily. But of course it has no real top end and once the batteries get low it has to stop for awhile to recharge, at that point I just wave good bye. But every time I am in traffic and I can smell the exhaust of the car in front of me, especially an old carburetor car, I can't help but wish for cleaner cars. And Bio-diesel is a joke, try sitting behind one of those and you can't breath because it stinks so bad.