How will electric cars help the environment? The media and global governments have been stressing the need to combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. Car companies have capitalized on this go-green initiative and started producing electric cars that are no longer dependent on gasoline, but why are these cars any different from the car you're driving today?
Standard cars must burn gasoline in order to run. The gas creates a series of explosions, or combustions, in the car's engine, which give it the energy to fly down the highway or roll into your driveway. The unfortunate side effect of this process is the byproduct of carbon dioxide gas, abbreviated CO2, which is pumped out of the exhaust pipe. The CO2 that is produced is also a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases are gases that get stuck in our atmosphere, making it harder for the sun's radiation to escape, causing the temperature to increase. A rise in temperature could lead to global climate change, wild weather and contaminated air.
Enter the electric car. Electric cars seek to reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by relying on electricity instead of burning gasoline. Electric motors create magnetic fields that spin a rotor which in turn rotates the axle of the car, causing motion. All of this is done without any emission of CO2. Fewer CO2 emissions means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The pros and cons. Electric vehicles are costly and less efficient than their gas-burning counterparts. However, in the US, cars and other vehicles account for 26% of the country's carbon emissions. If we were to shift to relying on electric cars as our main form of transportation, we could greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and perhaps minimize its negative effects on us all.