As global warming is becoming a greater and greater issue, we are trying to develop new technologies that will reduce the amount of carbon and other harmful chemicals being released into the atmosphere. One example is electric cars, which were made to replace vehicles that use gasoline. Since the early 1900’s, people have been using cars to help them commute to where they want to go. However, cars need fuel, such as gasoline, in order to run the engine. The problem is that cars produce harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, which can negatively affect the environment and can cause health problems. As populations continue to grow and more and more vehicles are on the roads, we need an alternative way to power our cars; one that has little or no impact on the environment. So, the solution is simple: replace gas powered cars with electric cars that do not use fuel and produce no harmful chemicals. However, electric cars might affect the environment in a different way.
For a car to work, it needs an energy source to run the motor, which will then spin the tires. With electric cars, the energy is stored in many large lithium ion batteries. One of the problems with lithium batteries is that the minerals used to make them must be mined out of the ground. Lithium is found in a liquid mixture under salt flats. In order to extract the mineral, the mixture is pumped out of the ground and then left to dry. After that, the minerals leftover are then filtered until the only mineral left is lithium. This process is harmful to the environment because around 500 000 gallons of water is needed to get one ton of lithium. In nations where lithium is mined, the chemicals can sometimes pollute the water supply, which is harmful to the residents. If the water is polluted, it can make it harder to grow crops as well, because the water used for farming is filled with chemicals. Furthermore, lithium is not the only minerals used in lithium batteries that needs to be mined out of the ground. Mining for these other minerals can also cause pollution and leave a negative impact of the environment
Recycling Lithium Batteries
Gathering materials to make lithium batteries is not the only source of pollution from electric cars. Once the lithium batteries are used, they must be replaced. Another problem occurs with trying to recycle the used lithium batteries. Most of the battery can be recycled, however few lithium batteries are actually recycled. There are chemicals added to the batteries when they are made to allow them to work better and it is these chemicals which make it difficult to recycle the batteries and therefore the lithium batteries are often thrown into the garbage. Furthermore, making new batteries costs less than recycling used batteries, which means that it is easier for companies to make new batteries instead of trying to recycle used lithium batteries.
Even though making lithium batteries produces pollution and negatively impacts the environment and it is difficult to recycle used batteries, electric cars are still better for the environment than gas powered cars. I believe that electric cars are a step in the correct direction, however they are not the solution to eco-friendly travel. More research needs to be done to make batteries that are made from reusable materials that are easily accessible and do not require mining to get. Batteries need to be recyclable so that they do not end up in the garbage and can be reused. We need to quickly develop effective alternatives to fossil fuels, before the effects of global warming become irreversible. Global warming is an issue that affects everyone; therefore, people should do as much as they can to help reverse global warming. As for electric cars, they are an improvement from gas powered vehicles and as technology improves, electric cars will be even better for the environment.