An electric car to help the environment looks like the perfect alternative to fossil fuel. The electric car does not produce any toxic exhaust fume, that’s great. But the electric car uses more energy to move than a car running on petrol or diesel.
Energy and Power Plants
In the process to produce electric energy, energy from one source needs to be transformed to the next, and this uses an x-amount of energy extra. In the normal process from fossil fuel to electricity the fossil fuel is burned, the heat produces steam which turns the turbines to produce the electricity needed to create electricity in AC. Then the process to turn AC into DC takes an extra amount of energy too, and in the storage process (battery) energy is lost as well.
So, in the chain to supply the electric car with the fuel it needs lots of energy is lost. Much more energy than when the fossil fuel is transformed into power on the spot as in combustion engines. More energy means more CO2 into the environment.
Not from the car itself, but from the plant producing the energy to fuel the car.
Solar and Wind Energy
Electric cars would be perfectly fuelled by solar or wind energy, this would be ideal, because solar and wind power are free, and do not harm the environment.
Of course nuclear energy would be another option, however this would put other pressure on the environment as nuclear energy is not completely clean. It does not produce CO2 but it produces long time nuclear waste, with which for this moment we still do not have a solution.
However the reality is that only a tiny part of our world wide energy production comes from solar and wind energy sources. It will take decades before we learn to harness these two energy sources to the perfect fuel and power our world wide electrical car fleet.
The solution is to drive less. Having a car is convenient, but we do not need one. You can reach any city in this world without your own car. Using a car for every kilometer of transport is unnecessary. Walk, skate, bike to your short distance destinations. Car pool when you can and find alternatives to your personal transport. Train, boat, plane are all options to use the same transport vehicle and save the environment.