Elon Musk is deeply concerned about how automobile emissions are destroying the world as we know it and hence, the man is a fervent proponent of electric cars (and also, hence Tesla Motors). But are electric cars really as green as we think? Well, you don’t need Adam from truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything to tell it is not quite so. First of all, where do you think the electricity that your lovely Tesla Model 3 needs is from? The grid, of course and where did the grid get the electric energy from? Obviously, the power plants. Now, the source of the electricity pretty much determines whether the electric car you drives is mostly green or not.
If the grid’s electricity is from the good’ol coal burning plant, which U.S. has an abundance of them, then your spanking new Tesla, or whatever electric vehicle you may have, is hardly consider ‘green’. The cars may not contribute to carbon emission but the source of the energy required to drive them does and if more folks drive electric the result would pretty much the same as gas-powered cars. While it is true that air quality will improve, but it won’t be good to the planet as a whole unless the sources are green too like, you know, from wind farm, solar sources et cetera.
That said, green sources are theoretically ideal (and awesome), but their yield at this point leaves much to be desired. So when it comes to the question of are electric cars as green as we thought, the answer is not quite for now. It will be when the day comes when mankind can totally dependent on green energy without the green energy sources competing with the scarce usable land we have. Even then, there’s another contradicting issue and that’s concerning the making of cars which the process in itself is a substantial carbon emission generator.
The key is not changing car like you change clothes. When more people feel compelled to change car often, the demand fuels the manufacturing which will inevitably bumps up the carbon emissions. That means, the world maybe better off if you keep driving your trusty gas or hybrid ride as long as it is still efficient (get your car serviced regularly!). It seems like owning an electric seems counterintuitive, but it is not entirely true either. This is where Tesla Motors’ Powerwall and Solar Roof comes into play. If you could generate enough green energy to power your home and your electric ride(s), then you’d be really slashing your carbon footprint. Then again, that’s only beneficial to our good’ol little blue marble if many people do so.
Anyways, we shall say more and leave it to Adam to ruin treehuggers’ dream.
P.S. We are in no way against electric cars. We love all manner of things in electric, but we just thought that manufacturers should do what Tesla Motors is doing: considering the bigger picture rather then solving the immediate issues. Just saying…
Image: screengrab from YouTube video.