Written by on April 18, 2023

A twitter post claiming that electric cars are more harmful to the environment compared to conventional cars is false.

”Electric cars are more harmful to the environment than conventional cars,” states the claim.

According to research by the International Council on Clean Transportation, electric cars are better for the environment due to the fact that they emit fewer greenhouse gasses and air pollutants compared to petrol and diesel cars. The research however, further states that the emissions being created during the production of an electric car is much higher than a conventional car, due to the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries which are essential for an electric car. However, it states that this is changing for the better as technology advances.

The current prediction is that an electric car battery will last for about 10-20 years before replacement. Even with electric generation, a research by the European Energy Agency, the carbon emissions of an electric car are about 17-30% lower than driving either a petrol or diesel car.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), explains that despite studies showing that making a typical electric vehicle can create more carbon pollution than a gasoline car due to additional energy required to manufacture an EV battery, still, over the lifetime of the vehicle, total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions associated to manufacturing, charging and driving an EV are typically lower than the total GHGs associated with a gasoline car.

According to the 2022 Union of Concerned Scientists Report which evaluates the lifetime impacts of electric and gasoline vehicles, most vehicles emissions occur when it’s driven, and Evs deliver a benefit that no gas-powered vehicle can, since it eliminates tailpipe emissions, which go a long way in improving air quality and climate goals. The report further states that amount of climate pollution generated by driving an EV depends on the mix of electricity available in the region where it is used, for instance, if the driver lives in an area where most grid power is supplied by fossil fuels, then charging up will have a larger climate footprint than in places where most energy comes from solar and wind.

David Reichmuth, a senior engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists said that even with the current mix of electricity in the U.S.A, driving with electricity is cleaner than gasoline. He says that his research shows that as more renewables have come online in recent years, EV charging has been getting cleaner.

We looked into this claim stating that electric cars are more harmful to the environment compared to conventional cars and found it to be false. 

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck,  International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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