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This article was published on March 1, 2021


30kg of raw materials vs. 17,000 liters of oil — EVs create far less waste than gas cars

By the end of their life, EVs are the less wasteful option

30kg of raw materials vs. 17,000 liters of oil — EVs create far less waste than gas cars


Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Y’know, I thought we’d put this one to bed, but if you need more evidence that battery electric vehicles are better for the environment than gasoline cars, check this out.

According to a new analysis seen by The Guardian, over the course of an EV‘s life, just 30 kg of raw materials will be lost from its lithium-ion battery — once recycling is taken into account. However, in gasoline vehicles, 17,000 liters of oil will be lost, and well, there ain’t no recycling that!

The analysis was conducted by Transport & Environment (T&E), a non-profit organization campaigning for cleaner transport based in Brussels, Belgium.

T&E argued that battery electric vehicles and gasoline cars are often held to differing standards when these kinds of comparisons are made. It noted that oil use is often taken for granted, and an unfair focus is placed on the environmental impact of extracting metals required for lithium-ion batteries.

[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]

In attempts to allay environmental concerns, battery makers are moving to new technologies which require fewer precious metals.

For an EV, T&E says its mined raw materials equates to the size of a football, whereas gasoline cars will burn a stack of oil barrels 25 stories high.

In the interest of fairness, EVs do generate emissions whilst being manufactured. However, once made, an EV doesn’t produce emissions, so over its entire life it can claw back and offset those nasty gases.

T&E also suggests that EVs use 58% less energy than a gasoline car over its entire life, and emits 64% less CO2. Previous research states that the average EV offsets its production emissions within 16 months of ownership.


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