How environmentally-friendly are electric vehicles?

The more I read the less convinced I am about the supposed environmental benefits of electric cars.

Volvo has said that the energy used to create them is far in excess of that for a petrol or diesel car so you need to drive around 70000 miles before any benefit is seen and that is assuming that the electricity used hasn't been created by a coal/gas fired power station, which makes the 'benefit' marginal at best.

Diesels still produce around a third less CO2 than petrol cars and NOX is now much reduced and does break down unlike CO2 (not easily anyway).

Then there's the life span, when the battery dies that will almost certainly write the car off meaning you'll have to buy another built with huge amounts of energy again.

Petrol or diesel engined car can carry on forever, if it doesn't rust, in theory, surely that's a benefit (except to the manufacturers)?

Electric cars really are only any use in big cities.

Are the batteries recyclable? If not there's only enough lithium for 20 years at most.

Asked on 18 November 2021 by 206SP

Answered by Sarah Tooze
You are not alone in questioning the environmental lifecycle benefits of electric vehicles. However, there are probably just as many advocates of EVs as critics.

Regarding, battery recycling - there are various trials looking at ways to give batteries a second-life in stationary energy storage and manufacturers are also investing in recycling plants.
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