Fast-rising YouTube channel Like Tesla dug into details behind the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced, when looking at the full cradle to grave life cycle of an electric vehicle and an internal combustion vehicle, and found that the process to manufacture an electric car actually produces more GHGs upfront than a comparable gasoline powered car.
The production of an electric vehicle, especially one with a larger-sized battery pack like Tesla’s Model S and Model X, requires a significant amount of energy during the manufacturing and supply chain phase. It’s one of the main reasons why Tesla decided to in-house the entire battery manufacturing process at the Gigafactory.
Internal combustion vehicle advocates often stop there, citing EVs as producing more emissions than they claim. But one major point they fail to acknowledge is that vehicles with an internal combustion engine have just begun their journey into a lifetime of producing GHGs at the tailpipe with every mile driven. Like Tesla looked at the life of an internal combustion vehicle and found that they produce 160,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 82,000 pounds of GHGs for a Tesla Model S.
Electric vehicles also get cleaner over time as the use of renewables are introduced into the grid. Electricity can also be produced on site at ones home through a solar system. A survey found that 4 out of 10 EV drivers in California, the largest market for EVs, have solar panels on their roofs while another 44% are planning to install them in the near future. This trend is being seen across the nation and around the globe as solar costs have plummeted in recent years.
What about the use of rare earth metals? Tesla took a proactive stance on not using rare earth metals:
“Tesla does not use rare earth metals in our batteries or our motors. Typically rare earth metals apply to DC motors, which use magnets. One of the reasons we use an AC induction motor is it does not require magnets, which often contain rare earth metals.” -Tesla
Tesla also recycles the metals used in its battery packs. Umicore battery recycling technologies recovers the vast majority of metals that went into the production of Tesla’s lithium ion battery packs.
Check out Like Tesla’s video which does a great job breaking down the environmental impact of driving a Tesla compared to an internal combustion vehicle.