While Elon Musk is investing in plans to get humans to inhabit the Martian land might be a step into an uncertain future, on the other hand, the dream of electric cars whizzing on the streets is practical and happening for the Tesla CEO.
With the onset of an electric power dominated era, people are looking forward to investing time and money into this new technology.
Let's take a look at this from a better perspective, you're planning on buying a new car and you want to go for a more eco-friendly option that way you can drive home an awesome car while doing your bit for the environment and for that we tip our hats to you. With the many brands offering to take you the distance into a more sustainable future electric cars seem to be the way to go, but exactly how green are they?
It's important to know that each stage in the manufacture of an electrical vehicle contributes to a certain percent of the world's pollution. Let's take a step back and look at the methods that are used to generate electricity which later ends up powering electrical vehicles most commonly in the form of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Most of the electric energy used by EV's come from the burning of coal, fossil fuels, natural gases, and petroleum. It is estimated that a 1000 miles road trip in an EV that requires 33 kilowatt-hours to travel 100 miles like a Model S Tesla would require 286 pounds(130 Kg) of coal to be burned at a power plant.
While results on the road seem to be promising as there is no emission of greenhouse gases and with features like:
Coupled with a sweet acceleration of 0-60mph in 2.3seconds it cuts a nice deal but putting into perspective the amount of coal and natural gases burnt paired with the necessity of using rare metals on the body to manage the weight of the car as it needs to be light-weighted puts a bone in the way of success for the electric cars.
It is known that the burning of fossil fuels leads to the production of greenhouse gases which is a major factor in the global warming crisis furthermore the procurement of rare metals has devastating consequences on the terrain from where the metals are extracted. Shedding some light on the situation of the extraction of rare metals - we are informed by several case studies of the damage incurred on the mining sites such as one case in the Jiangxi mines in China where the workers dig deep into the Earth's surface and pour ammonium sulfate into them to dissolve the sandy clay. The mud is then hurled out in bags and passed through several acid baths the remaining of which is baked in a kiln, leaving behind the metals that are used for the body panels on cars.
So we come to a consensus that the EV's still have quite a bit to overcome considering their eminent carbon footprint denting the eco-friendly name tag they promote. A question arises - What are the other practical and renewable energy sources?
There is a long list of energy sources that come to mind, such as:
The potential change
The most widely used renewable energy source is Hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity accounts for more than 18% of the world's total installed power generation capacity and an assuring 54% of the global renewable power generation capacity. Now with the electric cars coming into the market as potential competitors to petrol and diesel engine variants the continued burning of coal for the generation of electricity may not be the best way to move forward. At this point, the use of hydroelectricity can prove to be a viable step to reduce the carbon footprint. This energy source is clean and very reliable, some hydropower facilities have the tech to go from zero to maximum output making it all the more desirable. Given the numerous advantages, it poses a question on why these EV companies don't adopt the comparatively better alternative.
In the path of every innovation and discovery stands the mighty barrier of challenges. Though hydropower plants provide the benefit of being more eco-friendly it still has it's fair share of drawbacks:
laborers are prone to casualties
The limited resources do concern the facilitation of hydropower in mass operation, while our technology is developing at a rapid pace we must be aware of the fact that a lot of this technology is still being tried and tested out, which implies that we are certain to encounter failure. I don't mean failure in the sense of discouragement. Failure is to be taken as an opportunity to learn but for the manufacturers of these electric vehicles it is more than just a step, it is a movement that they must initiate in unison, taking into perspective the pros and cons.
In the path of every innovation and discovery stands the mighty barrier of challenges.