Tuesday 10 November 2020

Are EVs the answer? No – but they are part of the journey

Are EVs the answer? No – but they are part of the journey

Anthony Hinde, is Managing Director at Gronn Kontakt UK, a charging company with a huge presence in Norway and a growing one in the UK.

We got together to talk about the common misconception that electric cars are automatically 100% greener than driving a petrol or diesel motor. Anthony, a clear fan of EVs, does admit that they are not a panacea for our transport issues.

“If we’re looking at an EV today and asking, how green is it? We are looking at the three aspects of the life cycle. We’re looking at the manufacturing, the operation and the disposal of the vehicle, “ he says.

“Today making a mid-sized EV will create a higher carbon footprint than a mid-sized ICE (internal combustion engine) car and the reason for that is the battery. It’s made of rare earth metals and the production of the battery does produce more greenhouse gases. I do expect those emissions to come down over time.”

But once it’s made, is an EV ‘cleaner’ than a fossil fuel motor over the years? Anthony believes so.

“During the life cycle of that car even if the electricity is generated by traditional grid methods, there is a significant offsetting on the amount of CO2 and greenhouse gases produced by the vehicle and in addition to that, you have to say, in terms of clear air quality – zero tailpipe emissions – if your generating power with a wind turbine or solar panel, like Statkraft do in the UK, then that is one great advantage.”

Everyone would probably recognise that, simply walk past any high street during a traffic jam, you choke on fumes. A packed road full of EVs is far better in terms of particulate emissions and air quality. But the biggest issue with an EV, at least now, is what to do with their batteries at the end of the car’s life.

Anthony admits this is a problem at present.

“Recycling batteries is a very labour-intensive process at the moment. Reuse of batteries for power storage, secondary back up, I think is a thing we’re going to see a lot more of. I think that’s a much better use for them rather than developing new batteries for grid-scale storage or back up for buildings.

“I’d like to see the batteries that are no longer suitable for vehicles being used for those processes. And I think the cars will be designed in a way that makes recycling ever-easier. So, we will see things becoming greener along with the energy mix of the UK becoming greener. “

He concludes: “So, although EVs are not the answer, they are certainly part of the journey.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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