Aside from the potential to replace fossil fuels, EVs are gaining popularity due to the benefits they provide in terms of enhanced energy efficiency and reduced local pollution. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns about meeting future energy demand for charging electric vehicle batteries, which would ideally come from renewable sources. More crucially, the supply risks of critical material resources utilised in EV batteries, as well as the emissions associated with their extraction, highlight the issue of EVs' long-term viability. To that purpose, it's important to comprehend the most likely future scenario for the use of material resources in EVs.
Governments throughout the world are enacting policies, primarily in the form of financial incentives, to encourage the use of electric vehicles and investments in charging infrastructure. Most policies, however, are not equally focused on tackling the issue of resource sustainability.
With the introduction of rechargeable batteries at the turn of the century, electric vehicles became more popular. EVs, on the other hand, were quickly replaced by ICEVs. EVs couldn't compete with mass-produced ICEVs, which were cheaper, faster, and could run for longer periods of time. EVs did not resurface until the 1990s, thanks to the invention of energy-dense and lightweight lithium-ion batteries. For more than a century, lead-acid batteries have been the major energy storage option, but their hefty weight in comparison to their limited energy storage capacity could not meet the needs of electric vehicles (EVs) that needed to travel at higher speeds and over longer distances. Lithium-ion technology has proven to be a game-changer, as it provides greater energy density.
For propulsion, electric vehicles use an induction motor to convert electrical energy to kinetic energy. They are outfitted with an energy storage battery unit. The energy required to charge EV batteries and run the EV's motor can come from a variety of energy sources, which also define the EV's kind. Battery electric cars (BEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are the three types of EVs now available.
Different Types of Electric Vehicles
- Compared to conventional ICEVs, EVs have a number of technological and performance advantages. Induction motors are preferable in terms of engineering due to their increased energy efficiency. When compared to ICEVs, which have a maximum tank-to-wheel energy efficiency of 30%, EVs have a wall-to-wheel efficiency of more than 77 percent. Induction motors are also more reliable than internal combustion engines since they have fewer components. This means that EVs have a reduced risk of failure and lower maintenance costs than ICEVs.
- EVs produce substantially less noise due to the lack of an internal combustion engine. EVs have no tailpipe emissions and contribute virtually little air pollution to the local environment because no exhaust gases are emitted during their use. Furthermore, unlike combustion engines, EVs operate better in high traffic and congestion since there is no need to keep the engine running. As a result, the production of energy for recharging the battery, which is dependent on the local energy mix, is a major source of pollution from EVs.
- EVs also provide a way for many countries with no fossil fuel reserves to become oil-independent and construct flexible infrastructure based on renewable energy sources. Countries like India, which are less industrialised but have tremendous economic growth potential, are also attempting to take advantage of the economic opportunities that EVs present by producing EVs and batteries locally. Along with the various technological and environmental benefits that EVs provide, these projects can help capture potential economic gains and create local jobs.
- Costs play a major role in market adoption and customer approval. Electric vehicles are more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles. As a result, it's no surprise that the vast majority of electric vehicles are sold in countries with high GDPs.
- EVs are still improving in terms of performance and convenience compared to ICEVs. The combination of short-range capacity and a lack of charging stations is a barrier to EV adoption, particularly for personal vehicles.
- To encourage public acceptance of EVs, adequate charging infrastructure throughout road networks is required, in addition to improvements in battery technology.
- Increased demand for electric energy is directly proportional to increased EV sales. Electric vehicles will not be "zero emission" until the electricity used to charge them is also "zero emission." When fossil-based electricity is used to power electric vehicles, emissions are sent upstream to the energy production stage. For EVs to be genuinely emission-free, energy production must be free of fossil fuels.
- Even though electric vehicles have no exhaust pollution and may run on renewable energy, their manufacturing has a huge impact on the environment. This is primarily due to the more difficult extraction of the materials used in EV batteries. The most significant stage in terms of energy use and other aspects associated to the primary production of critical and important metals like cobalt and nickel is material extraction and manufacturing of EVs. Furthermore, some of the raw resources on which the EV system is based face supply challenges due to geopolitical factors rather than their scarcity.