Environmental Impact: Electric Vehicles Versus Combustion Engines


Since the release of electric vehicles in the 2000s, there are debates on their environmental impact. On the one hand, it is considered that they produce fewer emissions compared to combustion engines. On the other hand, the increased electricity consumption that is necessary to use electric vehicles seems to be a problem. This paper aims at answering the question of whether switching to new vehicles would be more effective for reducing environmental pollution than using traditional engines.

Manufacturing and Electricity Use

The way of production plays an important role in evaluating the impact of electric cars. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICTT) report, the battery composition and its manufacturing methods identify the level of emissions (Ellsmoor, 2019). Currently, Chinese manufacturers generate 60% more gas emissions compared to those that produce combustion engines (Ellsmoor, 2019). However, the adoption of advanced European and American technologies can address this issue and make electric cars emission free. As for the materials used, coal is one of the most critical factors that have a negative influence on the environment. If a plant uses coal to support its manufacturing processes, it can be even more dangerous to the environment than combustion engines (Tabuchi & Plumer, 2021). Therefore, plants need to move to cleaner options of production. In this case, their carbon emissions would be minimal.

The results of the studies show that electricity consumption is likely to increase if the world shifts to electric vehicles. The anticipated pollution from additional electricity use would increase moderately. In general, even though the increase in the electricity use would happen, the overall level of carbon emissions would reduce by 33% annually (Tabuchi & Plumer, 2021). By replacing combustion engines, it would be possible to significantly slow down the human impact on the climate change. It should be stressed that electric vehicles created using current technology need to be driven for at least five years, so that the level of CO2 emitted during their production and operation would be less than in case of buying a conventional car. Based on these considerations, it can be stated that the production and disposal of electric cars require significantly more natural resources compared to cars with traditional engines.

Today, it is not yet possible to include electric vehicles in the list of vehicles with zero CO2 emissions since it would mean that electric vehicles do not generate such emissions. The reality is that the majority of countries generate a significant amount of emissions during vehicle battery charging, in addition to the CO2 emissions from the production of electric vehicles (Ellsmoor, 2019). According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the world will be a real challenge for energy producers (Ellsmoor, 2019). This disadvantage can be turned into an advantage if the electricity systems would shift faster towards renewable energy, because it would make low energy efficiency less and less important.


To conclude, electronic vehicles are based on a promising technology of reducing carbon emissions to protect the environment. Currently, the production of their batteries and the need to use more electricity to charge them is associated with significant environmental impact. Nevertheless, in comparison to combustion engines, the use of electric cars is expected to significantly reduce emissions due to the adoption of new technologies and the use of cleaner resources.


Ellsmoor, J. (2019). Are electric vehicles really better for the environment? Forbes.

Tabuchi, H., & Plumer, B. (2021). How green are electric vehicles? The New York Times.

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