Lesson 6 – EV vs. ELV

Welcome to the sixth lesson of our online course on end-of-life vehicle recycling and environmental challenges. In this course, we will study a parallel between electric vehicles vis-à-vis classic internal combustion vehicles as well as their importance in environmental challenges.

It is known that Electric Vehicles (EVs) represent the future of the automotive industry in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and a better level of living comfort worldwide. This phenomenon is fueled by the emission targets set by the European Commission, which estimates that by 2030 there should be at least 30 million electric cars on the roads in EU countries, not including hybrid ones.

The bodies of millions of clean electric cars that will be on the world’s roads in the coming years will hide a “dirty battery”, because the lithium-ion batteries that equip the vehicles are produced in some of the most polluted places in the world. Research shows that although the vehicles electric cars have no CO2 emissions on the road, they are responsible for more carbon dioxide than conventional cars.

To build a car battery – which weighs 500 kilograms – CO2 emissions are 74% higher than to produce a conventional efficient car, if it is manufactured in a factory powered by fossil energy (according to Berylls’ findings).

At least one thing is certain: if an electric car is charged with green electricity, it does not produce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions during operation. But an electric car’s carbon footprint doesn’t just start when the proud new owner pushes the start button for the first time. This footprint already starts in the production process.

Electric cars in Europe emit almost three times less CO2 on average than equivalent petrol or diesel cars. That’s according to a new online tool developed by T&E that allows the public to compare the lifecycle emissions of an electric vehicle with fossil fuel vehicles.

Sustainability in the automotive industry covers everything from research and development and engineering to supply chains and supporting a circular economy.

For example, about 80% of a vehicle is now recyclable. The remaining 20% were usually sent to landfills. Experts agree that reusing and reselling these non-recyclable materials should be a key sustainability goal for manufacturers. This return to zero-waste production is supported by the use of materials that can be recycled and reused again and again.

Earth’s resources are limited. So using them effectively is essential. “Closing material cycles can decouple economic growth and resource consumption, as well as reduce dependencies,” says circular economy expert Dennis Christian Meinen.

In conclusion, the aim of the circular economy is to preserve the value of products and materials for as long as possible.

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