Electric vehicles are getting more and more common. EVs accounted for 5.8% share of all new vehicles sold in the US in 2022, up from 3.1% in 2021. In King County, by contrast, market share in 2021 was 11.7%, more than 3 times more than the national average.
For most types of vehicles, although the upfront cost may be more, the lifecycle cost of the using the vehicle is less. Accelerating the conversion to electric is one of the key ways we can reduce greenhouse gases.
The State has begun to take steps toward electrification. It is building out more recharging stations on state highways. It has mandated Clean Fuels, so that gas powered vehicles pollute less. And it has set a goal that all vehicles sold in the state in 2030 will be electric, as well as a regulatory requirement that after 2035 no new fossil fuel vehicles will be sold. As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, there is now a sizeable rebate on EV purchases.
We need to accelerate adoption in each of these areas:
We need publicly accessible recharging infrastructure so that people who cannot recharge where they live may use electric vehicles, and so that people taking trips can recharge as they go.
Small Freight (Amazon, UPS, FedEx)
We drive less for shopping, but require more delivery vehicles. The delivery vehicles need to be electrified.
Taxis as well as cars used for Uber and Lyft should be electrified.
Governments should lead the way and electrify their vehicles.
EVs have a higher carbon cost than gas-powered cars (ICE) because it requires more emissions to manufacture the car, specifically to make the battery. This is true. Batteries are manufactured in China, where much of the power is from coal. But since the emissions from driving the vehicle are so much lower, this extra cost is equalized under average use after about a year and half, or up to 2 years for an SUV. After that, the EV saves a lot on GHG emissions. Indirect emissions account for only 26% of overall emissions from the light vehicles in the US.
EVs are powered by coal-fired electricity and therefoore cause more climate pollution then gas-powered cars to drive. This is not true, because the electric engine is so much more efficient than the gas-powered engine. Even if the battery was recharged on 100% coal-powered electricity, it would still cause less emissions than a gas car. But, of course, our electricity, nationwide, is only 22% coal, and that percentage is decreasing. In fact, the percentage of renewables in the grid is growing rapidly, so the car is will run cleaner the day you buy it, and will improve over time.
EV batteries require rare earth minerals whose mining causes environmental destruction in places where standards are lacking and labor protections are non-existent. This is true. However, you have to compare this to the destruction caused by the mining of fossil fuels. A gas-powered car requires vastly more mining to support it than an EV. Furthermore, it is likely that we will be able to recycle the EV batteries, and so they may only require extensive mining at the beginning of the transition.
In the Media
You're Being Lied to About Electric Cars from Motortrend.
YSE Study Finds Electric Vehicles Provide Lower Carbon Emissions Through Additional Channels, a Yale School of Environment paper in Nature Communications.
Report from AAA on the annual cost of a new vehicle: news flash, the average yearly cost of a new car over 5 years is $10728, including maintenance, fuel, licensing & finance. They report that "electric vehicles have the second lowest annual ownership costs behind small sedans", mostly a result of fuel savings and lower maintenance costs.