background image

Are electric cars really better for the environment?

author image

By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Washington Post or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Electric vehicles (EVs) are being scrutinized for their environmental impact due to the minerals required in the production of their batteries
• The extraction process for the minerals often comes with human rights and environmental concerns, prompting debates about the true benefits of EVs

🔭 The context: Despite the demand for minerals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel in EV batteries, they require significantly less overall mineral extraction compared to ongoing fossil fuel consumption
• In 2020, clean-energy needs amounted to 7 million tons of minerals, whereas the fossil fuel industry extracted 15 billion metric tons in 2019

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Despite the immediate environmental and social challenges associated with mineral extraction, EVs present a smaller environmental footprint than fossil fuels
• With the increasing efficiency of EV batteries and the potential to recycle them, EVs offer a more sustainable future

⏭️ What's next: Efforts are being made to create more transparent and ethical mineral supply chains
• Researchers and manufacturers aim to reduce dependence on critical minerals, with companies like Tesla already reducing or eliminating cobalt in their batteries
• Furthermore, recycling initiatives are gearing up to process a majority of EV batteries in the coming decades

💬 One quote: "The transition to low-carbon fuels is not a magic bullet with no negative outcome... But it’s much less harmful than if we stay with fossil fuels. That’s the conclusion.” (Sergey Paltsev, senior research scientist at MIT)

📈 One stat: Currently, only about 5% of lithium-ion batteries across all products are recycled in the U.S., but projections hint that the vast majority will be recycled or repurposed in the future, potentially cutting EV mineral demand by about a third

Click for more news covering the latest on green tech

Did you enjoy this illuminem voice? Support us by sharing this article!
author photo

About the author

illuminem's editorial team - providing you with concise summaries of the most important sustainability news of the day.

Follow us on Linkedin, Twitter​ & Instagram

Other illuminem Voices

Related Posts

You cannot miss it!

Weekly. Free. Your Top 10 Sustainability & Energy Posts.

You can unsubscribe at any time (read our privacy policy)