According to statistics, around 78 million motor vehicles were produced in the world in the year 2020. Imaging the emissions from manufacturing of that much number of vehicles to expiry and then from their dumping. The transportation sector accounts for a quarter of global Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions. Road vehicles are a major contributor among all means of transportation. The reason is the rapidly increasing mobility and private ownership of vehicles. Since all vehicles rely on fossil fuels, the reduction of GHGs emissions has become a challenge for the world.
Electric transportation –electric cars, trains, and buses- is a simple alternative that helps to reduce emissions. Electric transportation is an important building block of decarbonized future. Vehicles powered by electricity are convenient alternatives to fossil-fueled vehicles and significantly reduce CO2. As a result, global warming will reduce.
A shift towards green transportation will help to reduce global warming. But the management of waste from fossil-fueled vehicles is a challenge.
This article will give you an insight into electric transportation and its contribution to maintaining the temperature of Earth. Moreover, the life cycle assessment (LCA) of traditional vehicles and EVs would help to understand the situation. Before that, let’s understand how transportation is linked with global warming.
Transportation and Global warming:
With the dawn of the industrialization era, the consumption of fossil fuels has increased. The manufacturing of vehicles emits a large number of pollutants in the air. Since they are fueled by coal, oil, or natural gas, the pollutants are also added to the environment each day. In the year 2017, only the transportation sector of the US contributes 27% in GHGs emissions. These gases persist in the environment for a long time and absorb incoming solar radiation. Resultantly, the temperature of Earth increases that affects human life. It not only affects the human but alters the functioning of the whole ecosystem.
There are no tailpipes emissions in EVs. So, electric vehicles are considered the cleanest mode of transportation. They are better for the environment than other options. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean electric transportation has zero carbon footprints.
Electric Transportation and Global Warming:
Electric transportation is an emerging technology that produces fewer emissions than conventional vehicles. However, paperwork in Germany shows that CO2 emissions from electric vehicles are slightly higher than those of diesel engines. The emissions, in the case of electric vehicles, are usually from the manufacturing of batteries and their assembling. Electronic vehicles use a pack of lithium-ion batteries. When charging up, a chemical change takes place in the battery that produces electricity when the car drives on the road.
Electric cars produce fewer GHGs and improve the quality of air in your town. Pure electric cars produce no carbon emissions when present on the road. One electric for a year can save 1.5 million grams of CO2 -equivalent to 4 return flights from Barcelona to London. Electric cars are quieter so produce almost no noise pollution. Although the manufacturing of electric cars consumes a lot of energy, it’s still a greener option. The reason is the reduction in emissions over the lifetime. About two-thirds of emissions from electric vehicles is only due to manufacturing of battery. But, an EV battery can last for 20 years and can be recycled also.
Transportation and Global warming
Electric Transportation and Global Warming
Life Cycle Assessment of EVs
Management of Vehicles
Life Cycle Assessment of EVs:
Life cycle estimates of EVs show that they are probably the best solution to combat climate change is fueled by renewable resources of energy. Otherwise, it produces almost similar emissions. A study has shown that in the year 2050, every second car in the street will electrically be driven. It would reduce the CO2 emissions by 1.5gigatones per year. That shows that electric vehicles have the potential to meet the SDGs. Life cycle assessment of electric vehicles shows that they produce emissions at three phases:
1. Manufacturing phase
2. Use phase
3. Recycling phase
A study about car emissions in China shows that the manufacturing of cars with an internal combustion Engine emits 10.5 tons of CO2. In contrast, the manufacturing of electric cars emits 13 tons of CO per car. The manufacturing of electric cars also includes the manufacturing of batteries.
Electric car’s emission is far less than traditional cars if powered by renewable resource of energy. So the countries like France and New Zealand, where renewable energy accounts for 90% and 84% respectively in the energy mix, can get benefit from EVs. Emissions from an electric car in New Zealand are 25g CO2 per km. On the other hand, traditional cars emit 251g of CO2 per km.
Lastly, the recycling phase also emits carbon dioxide. Estimated emissions from the recycling of fossil-fueled vehicles are 1.8 tones while 2.4 tones from electric vehicles -including recycling of batteries.
Overall, fossil-fueled transportation produces more emissions throughout life as compared to electronic transportation. Research conducted by European Energy Agency shows that electric vehicles produce 17-30% fewer emissions than diesel or patrol cars.
Management of Vehicles:
Management of already existed fossil-fueled vehicles is still a challenge. Around 80% of the cars are recycled in the US and Canada that provide sufficient metal to produce 13 million more vehicles. So, recycling not only reduces footprint but also helps to utilize the vehicles in the most suitable form. Tires are single-used products made from a petroleum source. In 2019, 3 billion automobile tires were produced worldwide. Although the world has been shifting towards a green transportation system, these tires are a continuous challenge for the environment. A sustainable and cost-effective method for the management of already produced waste would help to combat climate change. Otherwise, the transportation waste -emissions and solid waste- could no longer help to meet the targets of global warming.
Industrialization has increased the emissions that result in the degradation of the environment. Global warming is an outcome of environmental degradation. The transportation sector accounts for high carbon emissions. Shifting from fossil-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles is the best possible solution. It works well in countries that have a high percentage of renewable energy in their energy mix. A shift towards green transportation will help to reduce global warming. But the management of waste from fossil-fueled vehicles is a challenge. Recycling is the only solution to being the waste in the loop and minimize the impacts on Earth.