Available in a selection of sleek designs, electric vehicles are produced by many of the world’s most popular car manufacturers, such as Toyota, Hyundai, Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW, Kia, Audi, Nissan and Tesla. Charging stations are being installed in locations across the country to cater to the rising number of electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads. As well as an increase in the number of people buying these cars, more motorists are now choosing to lease an electric car.

If you’re thinking of leasing your next vehicle, you may want to consider an electric car as they come with many benefits. Along with being cheaper to run, quieter and easier to maintain, they’re recognised and praised for being energy efficient and less harmful to the environment than diesel or petrol-powered cars.

However, do these vehicles deserve their reputation for being kind to the planet? In this blog, we look at whether or not electric cars are actually better for the environment, how they may help to reduce pollution in the atmosphere and whether they’re capable of doing harm to the planet.

Are electric cars greener?

Electric cars use a stack of batteries to power a motor. By using electricity instead of petrol or diesel, the air pollutants that are emitted through the exhaust pipe are eliminated. The gasses that petrol and diesel cars produce are harmful to the atmosphere, so by reducing or entirely eliminating this through the use of electric cars, both the environment and the health of the population is likely to benefit in the long-term.

According to energy provider EDF, a petrol or diesel car produces the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a year as four return flights between London and Barcelona. Although electric vehicles are also responsible for CO2 emissions because the production of the electricity they use generates this gas, they are generally considered to be greener in this regard. In fact, a study published recently in the journal Nature Sustainability found that even where electricity generation involved considerable amounts of fossil fuel, there was still a CO2 saving compared with conventional cars. As such, opting for an electric car can help to reduce global warming and make the air cleaner for pedestrians, cyclists and anyone else who is exposed to it.

an electric car being charged at a charging station.

How do electric cars reduce pollution?

When large quantities of petrol and diesel cars pass through urban areas, the level of pollution in the air tends to be high. These vehicles release a cocktail of substances into the air via their exhausts, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and airborne particles of metal and soot. As this is an ongoing problem, replacing even a single petrol or diesel car with an electric vehicle will play a small role in reducing emissions and environmental damage

Although electric cars aren’t capable of reversing the effects of harmful emissions, they cause far less damage, making them a preferable alternative to conventional vehicles.

Are electric cars bad for the environment?

While electric cars are often hailed as being less harmful to the environment, it’s important to be aware of whether they create no damaging side effects or are in fact responsible for some level of pollution.

It’s true that electric cars don’t have exhausts and therefore don’t emit harmful substances into the environment in this way. They do still create some degree of pollution though from brake and tyre particles. Their real impact however comes before they have even left the dealership forecourt. The manufacturing process of the batteries that feature in these vehicles may cause greater emissions than the production of the traditional internal combustion engines that feature in petrol and diesel cars.

Over the lifetime of an electric car though, the increased level of pollution that may have been caused during the manufacturing process should be offset. To find out more about electric cars, check out our guide to these vehicles.