Q15. The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles? (15m) – Environment & DM
Electric vehicles (EV) use one or more electric motors for propulsion instead of an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). They have gained popularity worldwide due to reduced carbon emissions, benefits over traditional combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and reduced costs led by R&D, like Tesla Cars, Tata Nexon.
According to IEA, EVs markets are seeing exponential growth across the world and the sales exceeded 10 million in 2022. Their demand and usage has increased across the globe.
Contribution in reducing carbon emissions
- Reduced Tailpipe Emissions: EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, unlike internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) that emit pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM).
- Decreased Carbon Intensity of Electricity: As the electricity grid becomes cleaner and incorporates more renewable energy sources, the carbon footprint of EVs decreases.
- E.g, in regions with a high proportion of renewable energy, like parts of Europe, charging an EV can result in significantly lower emissions.
- Lifecycle Emissions Reduction: over their lifetime, EVs produce fewer emissions than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, even when accounting for manufacturing and disposal.
- Important for Net Zero Emissions
- Reduced Dependence on Fossil Fuels: EVs are not reliant on fossil fuels for operation. This reduces dependence on oil imports and enhances energy security.
- Renewable Energy Integration: EVs can be charged using electricity from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power, further reducing their carbon footprint.
- E.g.in some regions of Germany, surplus wind energy is used to charge EVs when demand is low.
Benefits compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles
- EVs have lower carbon emissions than ICEs: from 66-69% lower in Europe, to 60-68% in the U.S., 37-45% in China (the three current global EV powerhouses).
- Energy Efficiency: Electric motors are more energy-efficient than internal combustion engines. EVs convert a higher percentage of the electrical energy from the grid into vehicle movement.
- Can be up to three times as efficient as ICEVs on a “well-to-wheel” basis, considering the entire energy supply chain.
- Lower Operating Costs: They require less maintenance because they have fewer moving parts (no oil changes, fewer brake replacements).
- The average annual maintenance cost of an EV is approximately 35% less than that of an ICEV.
- Quiet Operation: EVs are quieter than ICEVs due to the absence of noisy internal combustion engines.
- Instant Torque: Electric motors provide instant torque, which means EVs offer quick acceleration and responsive driving performance.
- Regenerative Braking: Many EVs feature regenerative braking systems that capture and store energy during braking. This energy can be used to recharge the battery, improving overall energy efficiency and range.
As technology continues to advance and more renewable energy sources are integrated into the grid, the environmental benefits of EVs are expected to become even more pronounced, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation system.
They’ll play a significant role in achieving INDCs under the Paris Deal and target of Net Zero Emissions. Initiatives like FAME, E- Amrit Portal, NEMMP will pave the way for India’s faster transition to EVs.
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