What environmental impact could it have if everyone switched to an EV?
Elisha Keep | 04/05/2022
EVs are becoming more accessible and more public charging points are popping up every day. So let’s dive deeper into the environmental impact of switching to an EV.
At a Glance
It’s clear that EVs will play an important role in reaching climate change goals.
But what would the environmental impact be if everyone switched to an EV?
The UK’s carbon emissions would be cut by 12% if everyone started driving an electric vehicle tomorrow. While that might still be wishful thinking at the moment, it’s not outside the realms of possibility! With the government planning to ban the sale of cars that run on fossil fuels by 2035 it’s a reality that’s just around the corner.
EVs are becoming more accessible and more public charging points are popping up every day. It’s easy to see why electric vehicles are becoming more popular when you think about pollution charges in city centres and rising fuel prices. Let’s dive deeper into the environmental impact of switching to an EV.
How environmentally friendly is the production of EVs?
Let’s start at the beginning of the EV life cycle. Figuring out the environmental impact of the switch to electric vehicles starts on the factory floor. One of the biggest sustainability obstacles faced by manufacturers is the production of batteries.
EVs use lithium batteries which are made using scarce metals. The energy intensive extraction of raw materials combined with supply problems has presented challenges when it comes to electric vehicle production.
However, manufacturers are optimistic and have started to take action. Volkswagen kicked off a scheme in 2019 that aims to see 97% of all raw materials used in new EV batteries reused by 2047. Impressive stuff.
Getting the recycling bug
Recycling and reusing the raw materials used in the production of EV batteries is a big part of reducing the environmental impact of electric vehicle production.
Some super intelligent people are already using bacteria to recover precious materials from electronic waste. It’s clear that making the life cycle of an electric vehicle completely sustainable is something that needs to be considered at design and early production stages.
The real impact happens on the road
The environmental benefits of switching to an EV really kick in when the wheels hit the road.
When a fossil fuel car is manufactured, it has a lifetime of emissions ahead of it. One study conducted in Germany found that EVs have emissions up to 43% lower than diesel vehicles.
The future of EVs is greener
Renewable energy is a key part of the future success of EVs being 100% green. The good news is that renewables are at a turning point. The UK government has cut VAT on green home improvements for the next five years.
The news comes as the IEA (International Energy Agency) predicts that renewables will be the world’s largest energy source by 2025.
These steps being taken to increase the use of renewable energy will see the life cycle of an electric vehicle become even more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Demand for EVs is increasing
More than 50% of motorists aged between 16 and 49 say they’re likely to switch to an EV in the next ten years. More than 4 in 10 of those planning to make the switch intend to do so in the next five years. This increasing appetite for EVs will lend a helping hand to the UK’s drive to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
In fact, electric cars made up 16.1% of all new-car registrations in the UK during March 2022, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A total of 39,315 new EVs hit the country's roads in the course of the month, representing a nearly 79% increase on March 2021. https://www.drivingelectric.com/news/678/electric-car-sales-uk-2022-evs-make-up-16-of-march-registrations
Is the infrastructure in place to handle the demand?
The National Grid estimates there’ll be 36 million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2040. The future of mass transportation is clearly going to be driven by EVs. Logistically, are we ready to meet the demands of this increase?
The first thing to consider is the number of public charging stations available. Zap-Map is a handy app that helps EV users find nearby charging points. They say there are currently over 30,000 charging points throughout the UK at over 10, 000 locations.
The government has committed £1.6 billion to expanding the UK’s charging network. They expect to make 300,000 public chargers available by 2030. This is a huge boost and will be the equivalent of almost five times the number of fuel pumps currently available in the UK.
Are power networks ready?
Suppliers are confident they’ll meet the demand. The National Grid believes the growth in renewable energy and smart metering will provide a huge helping hand in meeting the increased demand.
The flexibility of home charging
As the number of EVs on the road continues to increase, home charging will play a big part in helping infrastructure cope with demand.
Having an at-home charger offers convenience, flexibility and freedom. Home charging comes with the added benefit of being able to control when you charge your EV. This means you can take advantage of off-peak energy rates, making EV charging cheaper and taking the pressure off the grid.
With Egg, you can take control of your energy usage with smart EV charging. Our unique subscription service gives you everything you need for at-home charging for just £30 per month.
It’s clear that EVs will play an important role in reaching climate change goals. There’s some work left to do for manufacturers. Ensuring production is sustainable and less impactful is key to their future success.
Solar and smart home charging are both slowly becoming more accessible. At Egg, we’re leading the way in making it easier for consumers to get up and running with renewable energy and convenient at-home EV charging.
The switch to EVs for everyone won’t happen overnight, but the future of mass transportation is greener and cleaner. If you want to find out more about how we can help you with solar installations or at-home charging, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
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