According to a new report coming from the University of Minnesota, those thinking about buying a battery-operated vehicle because it has a low impact on the environment, might actually need to think the matter through.
The study’s authors point out that when a battery-operated electric vehicle owner charges his car using energy generated from coal, he actually could create nearly four times as much soot, also raising the amount of CO2 sent into the atmosphere. “It’s kind of hard to beat gasoline,” says study co-author and engineering professor Julian Marshall. While detractors constantly build up a bad reputation – especially among environmentalists – for the traditional internal combustion engine that uses gasoline, the study claims that a “lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean,” are actually worse or no better than gasoline.
According to the study, which naturally focuses on the United States, and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, BEVs (battery-electric vehicles) have the potential to create 86 more deaths from air pollution than traditional rivals. That’s because 39% of the electricity used in America is generated through burning coal – especially on the eastern side of the country. Using natural gas to produce electricity would cut in half the number of air pollution fatalities and further down the road, “green” energy sources, such as wind, solar or hydro would lower by three-quarters the air pollution deaths.