Which is better for Earth: an electric or gas-powered vehicle? The answer to this question might seem blindingly obvious: Of course electric cars must be better for the environment, because they don’t have exhausts and so don’t emit greenhouse gasses as they drive. However, electric vehicles (EVs) aren’t perfect, and they come with their own set of polluting problems. Notably, their batteries contain components, such as lithium, that require a significant amount of energy to source and extract.
But battery production is just one part of an electric car’s life span. A 2014 study published in the journal