Why dont you check out how lithium batteries are made, and get back to us?
Math time! I need justification for everything I do, because I apparently am not allowed to enjoy things, so this is old hat.
(sources at the end)
I own an electric motorcycle that has a 15 kwh battery.
According to an article from Chalmers University of Tech, 160 grams of Li is needed per kwh, so I have 5.3 lbs.
An MIT blog states that 2200 lbs. of Li mined releases 33,000 lbs. of c02.
This means that 1 lb.
of Lithium mined = 15 lbs. of c02
. So a total of about 80 lbs.
I could go into details of manufacturing, but the same MIT page says that an 80kwh battery (Tesla) will release anywhere from 5,300 lbs. to 35,000 lbs of c02. Therefore, my battery would then release between 994 lbs to 6567 lbs.
of c02 to manufacture. We're going to use the high end of that number, to play "fair." I believe that this number also includes extraction, but then again, extraction is only
80 lbs of c02.
Now, let's talk about gas:
Extracting a barrel of oil releases 939 lbs. of c02. Refined, this makes 20 gallons of automotive gasoline. Therefore, we create 46 lbs
of c02 to extract one gallon of gas. (eia.gov)
The refining process can go from 6 lbs. to 200 lbs. per barrel. This means .3 lbs
of c02 to refine the gas. (sciencedirect.com). Let's call that negligible, in favor of gas.
EPA.gov states burning a gallon of gas releases about 20 lbs.
Add those two numbers, and we have 66 lbs
. of c02 generated per gallon driven.
Let's go back to electric for a bit:
It is difficult to say how much c02 is released when using an electric vehicle, because it depends on where you get your electricity. We have a very Don Quixote-like set up in North Texas with our wind farms, but not everyone has that, so we will use $$ as our metric instead.
Each "tank" costs me $2 to charge at peak rates, and I get about 100 miles on "holy shit fast" mode. Using current $3/gallon cost, this means I am getting the equivalent of 150 miles per $3, or 150 miles/gallon equivalent.
If I were to try to make that equal to car consumption (it's not), then I'm using 5 times less fuel than a gas car, which would mean I'm "burning" 4 lbs.
of c02 per gallon, instead of 20.
Let's use high school Algebra!
c02 of electric = battery manufacture(constant) plus 4lbs. per gallon.
c02 of ICE engine = 66lbs per gallon, or
E(g) = 6567 + 4g
I(g) = 66g
Interestingly, this means that at 106 gallons, the gas powered car will have reached the environmental impact of the battery, and then will keep going at a much faster rate.
I don't know how much gas you use, but I try to be relatively environmentally friendly. I carpool, I live close to where I work, I combine trips, have a 30 mpg+ car, etc. Still, I put in gas once a week, not including vacations, entertainment, etc. At 10 gallons a fill, I pass the equivalency mark at 11 fill ups. That's 3 months.
This is with the math favoring heavily on the side of gas.
This ALSO doesn't include the extra fuel used for transporting the gas from the refinery to the gas station.
It also doesn't account for the fact that you have to drive your car to GET gas, using even more fuel.
This also doesn't take into account the oil needed to lubricate the engine, the oil in the transmission, differential.
While antifreeze doesn't release c02, it isn't environmentally friendly, and I know way too many shade tree mechanics that just pour that on the side of the road.
Gas also isn't recyclable - batteries are. And yes, I'm aware that a large portion of the LiPo and LiOn battery isn't recyclable. It's still more than 0%.
Also, very few people have an oil well in their backyard. Almost anyone can get some sort of electrical generating set up at home. Wind, solar, gerbil,etc.
Of course, all these comparisons are skewed, particularly when comparing a motorcycle to a (very) fuel efficient car. Though it's sad that 30 mpg is considered very fuel efficient in Texas.
And we (US) are particularly good at modifying statistics to fit whatever story we want to create to make ourselves feel special. Or, at the very least, any excuse for us to not get off our lazy asses.
Let's just let people enjoy things, shall we?
It depends exactly where and how the battery is made—but when it comes to clean technologies like electric cars and solar power, even the dirtiest batteries emit less CO2 than using no battery at all.
Provides information on how the calculations are used to convert greenhouse gas emission numbers into different types of equivalent units.
An introduction to crude oil and the products that are produced from crude oil refining.
This page answers questions about GHG emissions from passenger vehicles and how these emissions are measured and calculated.