Are Electric Cars a More Sustainable Method of Transport Than Diesel or Petrol Powered Cars?

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Are electric cars a more sustainable method of transport than diesel or petrol powered cars? In this Case Study, I explored whether electric cars are as eco-friendly as they claim to be, providing a sustainable method of transport that could significantly reduce our carbon footprints if we all ditched the convectional vehicles, and changed to electric cars. I found many arguments both for and against electric cars. Electric cars are powered by an electric motor which draws its power from an on-board battery pack which acts as an energy store for the car.  Energy is measured in joules. A joule is a very small amount of energy so a domestic electricity metre measures the energy in kilowatt hours. Stoical Energy Transferred = Power x Time (Joules, J) (Watts, W) (Seconds, S) (Kilowatt hours kWh) (Kilowatts, kW) (Hours, H) Source; GCSE Core Science revision guide (Information collected from GCSE Science revision guide 13:26hours) Batteries are charged by simply connecting the vehicle to a mains power supply, and are usually need to be charged overnight (or 7-8 hours) for a full charge. Electricity is a secondary source of energy. This means that the electricity is generated elsewhere from another energy source, in the case of an electric car, the primary source (where the electricity first comes from) is from coal powered power stations. Some people believe that coal powered stations, release the same if not more emission of harmful gas into the atmosphere. Conversely, others feel that they do not pollute, and save money, whilst reducing the Carbon Footprint, that would otherwise be increasing if a petrol or diesel powered vehicle was used. Fors

Electric cars produce no CO₂ emissions when they are running, and neither do they emit nitrous oxide or produce other harmful particle emissions either. Regular fossil fuelled road transport accounts for around one fifth of all global greenhouse gas emission. Emissions from the combustion of a diesel or petrol powered engine, are carbon based fuels, which release, unpleasant and potentially dangerous fumes. Electric cars, on the other hand, do not produce any waste gases when on the move. In Europe, where electricity is produced in a number of different ways, electric cars do offer environmental benefits when compared with cars with internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles powered by the present European electricity mix, have been found to offer a 10% to 24% decrease in their global warming potential relative to conventional diesel or petrol vehicles. An electric car consumes energy, at a level far less than that of petrol or diesel powered cars. As well as this they are extremely cost effective. The purchase price of electric cars is significantly higher than that of diesel/petrol powered vehicles, but this is all outweighed when the cost of running the car is taken into consideration. Electric cars run longer, faster and more efficiently than convectional vehicles. Against

Electric cars are only at “zero emission” if they get their power from a renewable source. Coal powered power factories, along with other sources used to provide for electricity for these electric cars do not provide this, as they tend to use non-renewable. Whenever fossil fuels, such as coal are burned they increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere.

Charging an electric car only uses 3% of renewable resources, the colossal amount of 97% comes from resources such as coal; which are non-renewable, a percentage that is not much better than a normal car. An option here is to use a green tariff for your electricity supply which will lower the carbon intensity of your electricity supply. Electric cars run off batteries made from...
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