The environmental and sustainable advantages of electric cars are irrefutable, as we have already discussed in this space of TecMundo. But there are always critics who argue that “it’s not like that” and that the manufacture and maintenance of batteries for these models would be as polluting for the planet as combustion cars.
Ledo mistake. In addition to this line of reasoning not taking into account the manufacture of combustion models, only the refinement of fossil fuel represents about a third of the emissions of a common vehicle before it even reaches the gas tank. Burning fuel is also problematic, as it converts only a small portion of the energy stored in each milliliter into motion.
This skewed look also does not take into account the rampant development of new battery models, highlighted in the European and Asian markets, which show a resistance and price equation until 2025 in batteries and their values in the comparison between electric vehicles and combustion, according to a recent magazine report Four wheels.
Industry giants like Tesla are already working on different designs for electric car batteries to be launched in the coming years. The new manufacturing processes for these batteries will use less water, less energy and exchange lithium for silicon, the most abundant element on the Earth’s surface.
Another naive argument by those who say that electric cars are worse for the environment than conventional ones is battery recycling. The big question is usually: what to do with batteries when they become “addictive” and need to be changed?
Although they are no longer used to power an electric car, old batteries of this type of vehicle still have a long life when directed to other applications. It is already common for off-grid homes to use old batteries from Tesla and Nissan cars to store solar energy for use at night. The parts can also be inserted into large energy storage stations that serve as a backup for public networks in large cities, especially in Australia.
Even with these alternatives, it is important to remember that modern electric car batteries do not need to be changed frequently. Lexus expects its latest models to be able to run up to 10 million kilometers on the same battery. Other estimates suggest that the consumer should only begin to be impacted by the loss of autonomy of a battery of this type after 10 years.
The difference of the Lexus UX 300e is the battery with cooled air. (Source: Auto Mania / Reproduction)
It is worth remembering that, with the advancement of technology, some models already have the capacity to charge their batteries from 0 to 80% in less than 1 hour. The structure for changing batteries has also been stimulated, as is the case with the Chinese automaker NIO, which reached the mark of 500 thousand battery changes in 2020. Free of charge for the company’s direct customers, the service can also be done for third parties with a fee charge per kWh.
With the increase in the scale of production, the prices of batteries have fallen, on average, 15% per year, if we take into account suppliers (almost all Asian) like Panasonic, LG Chem and CATL.
The date considered “tipping point”, defined as 2025, takes into account the study by consultancy J.P. Morgan, which predicts that the share of electric and hybrid vehicles in the market should reach 30% in the year cited.
The scenario would also mark a reduction in battery costs and an increase in the infrastructure needed for recharging, which would further attract the average consumer. Not to mention government subsidies, which are already being offered, such as the exemption from IPVA for electric vehicles in Paraná and other Brazilian states.
Abroad, Norway uses profits from the sale of oil to subsidize the purchase of electric cars for the end consumer. With this, the Nordic nation uses the final breath of the oil market to make its fleet totally independent of fuel in a few years.
This whole scenario is a reality both for giants in the segment, such as Tesla, and for Brazilian energy distributors, such as Copel, which is already a leader in high-speed chargers in Brazil. Increasingly safer and more sustainable, ensuring more autonomous and efficient engines, batteries will become more of an attraction than a liability for the consumer and the environment.
Beto Marcelino, biweekly columnist of TecMundo, is an agronomist, founding partner and director of government relations at iCities, which organizes the Smart City Expo Curitiba, the largest event in Brazil on smart cities with the seal of FIRA Barcelona.