Local Air Quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, personal automobiles are collectively the single greatest polluter in our country. Even with advances in catalytic converter technology, petroleum powered cars continue to release pollutants into our communities through tailpipe emissions. Because these emissions are released at the street level, they negatively impact the air that we breathe on a daily basis.

All-electric vehicles, such as the Mitsubishi "i" and the Nissan LEAF, are zero-emission vehicles that do not contribute to local air pollution. It should be noted that some portion of the electricity used to power electric vehicles is produced at energy facilities (e.g. coal-fired power plants) that do pollute through emissions. However, those emissions are released at the point of production, which is typically located far from populated areas.

Ability to "Green the Electric Grid"
EVs pull their fuel from the electric grid, which is a greener alternative than imported oil. Electricity generation is directly influenced by local, state and national public policy and regulation. The same cannot be said about imported oil, which is not under our direct control.

Over the last several decades, public policy has helped to reduce emissions produced by power plants. In recent years there has been a big push to support renewable energy sources, which are now producing a growing percentage of our country's electricity. This trend toward "greening our electric grid" will further reduce the environmental impact of EVs.

A Need for Increased Electricity Production?
A common concern with EVs is that their widespread deployment will lead to the need for more energy production facilities in the United States. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, America's power grid could accommodate converting approximately 84 percent of all conventional vehicles to EVs right now. How is that possible? Because the primary time to charge EVs will be off peak, when there is excess capacity and waste in the electric grid. The U.S. Department of Energy study also excluded the contribution of renewable electricity production, which is growing rapidly and producing a higher percentage of electricity in the grid. Therefore, it is not expected that EVs will create a need for new or expanded energy facilities any time in the near future.

Source: IMPACTS ASSESSMENT OF PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLES ON ELECTRIC UTILITIES AND REGIONAL U.S. POWER GRIDS

Impact of EV Batteries in the Waste Stream
Conventional vehicles use a lead-acid battery, which is highly toxic and damaging to our environment. Even with its low value as scrap, the recycling rate for lead-acid batteries is reported to be approximately 98 percent in the United States.

Most EVs use advanced battery chemistries with metals such as Nickel and Lithium Ion. These metals are more valuable than lead, and since the batteries are quite large, the value of the spent battery packs will be such that the recycling rate is expected to approach 100%. This fact, combined with government regulation of battery disposal, will help ensure EV batteries do not have a negative impact on our environment.
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