Electric Cars No More Sustainable Than Gasoline Models

N Nadir argues that when toxic battery production and coal-generated electricity is taken into consideration, electric vehicles are just as problematic as gasoline models.

Published: 17-May-2013

One of the more fashionable concepts that one hears among people who regard themselves as environmentalists, is that the world would be much better off if only we could make the electric car mainstream.   Without having engaged in any kind of systematic survey among serious thinkers on the environment, I certainly feel this is the case, although with a little digging, one can see that this is certainly not universally held to be the case, especially if one looks in the primary scientific literature.

A recent article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, for example noted that China already has 100 million electric vehicles and that the health and climate benefits and deficits of these vehicles is decidedly mixed, particularly because of the high externalities associated with China's overwhelming dependence on coal power.    

Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46 (4), pp 2018–2024

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