This talk will challenge the popular perception that Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are environmentally friendly. They are not.
It argues that we are inappropriately rushing the market introduction of these vehicles.
BEVs are commonly sold under the guise of being ‘Zero Emissions,’ an assertion that is not true by any definition. Brake pads produce emissions, as do tires and even interiors under sunlight. The electricity that powers BEVs is generated by power plants, 64% of which burn fossil fuels in the U.S.—fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Even more importantly, there are significant CO2 emissions created during the manufacture of the battery pack, meaning that in order to offset the carbon created during the production process, a BEV must drive 40,000 – 100,000 miles before being environmentally comparable to a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, which combine much smaller batteries with efficient internal combustion engines, have been shown to be a much better option for lowering global CO2. Unfortunately, they do not receive the same marketable ‘kudos’ or policy backing as full BEVs. We are headed down the wrong path by rolling out BEVs before making the manufacturing and electricity generation CO2 neutral.
Dr. Graham Conway is a Principal Engineer in the Automotive Division at Southwest Research Institute. For the last ten years he has been immersed in evaluating automotive technologies and consulting for car companies and suppliers.
This gives him unique insights and perspectives on the industry. He is passionate about making vehicles more efficient to ensure the future of the planet and has a message to share about some common misconceptions about electric and non-electric vehicles.