Electric cars are considered pollution-free as they can help keep our cities and our planet clean. However, a recent study published by the Trancik Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has revealed that electric cars are NOT as green as you think and are worse polluters than petrol and diesel cars.
The study claims that an electric Tesla Model S P100D saloon produces more carbon dioxide (at 226g per kilometer) than a petrol-driven Mitsubishi Mirage (at 192g per kilometer).
Though the MIT study has shocked green energy advocates, it is not the first time a study is raising concerns about pollution caused by electric cars. In 2016, a groundbreaking study conducted by Norway’s University of Science and Technology concluded that ‘larger electric vehicles can have higher life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than smaller conventional vehicles.’
Independent energy experts have also debunked the ‘electric cars are green’ myth saying majority of the energy that charges the batteries of electric cars comes from the national grid.
In the U.K for example, latest figures by the Digest of UK Energy Statistics show that 51% of energy used to charge electric cars comes from power stations that burn fossil fuels such as gas and coal. Nuclear power is responsible for 21% while just under a quarter of the power comes from renewable sources.
Also, experts say mining the huge amounts of nickel, cobalt and lithium used in the manufacturing of batteries comes at an environmental cost.
According to a 2009 study, nickel was the eighth worst metal to mine and process in terms of global warming and pollution.
Villagers who live next to the Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia have reported higher rates of respiratory diseases and birth defects, the study found. Also, lithium extracted from South American deserts results in one ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of lithium carbonate produced, it added.
Nico Meilhan, a car analyst and energy expert, told the Financial Times:
“If we really cared about CO2, we’d reduce car size and weight. If you switch from oil to cobalt and lithium, you have not addressed any problem. You have just switched your problem.”