Electric cars are often marketed as being green?

How Green is Tesla? Electric cars are often marketed as being green—Nissan Leaf, anybody?—but one has to ask, just how green are electric vehicles? Tesla does not really engage in greenwashing, so they make a good case study here. Sustainability in energy is an interesting concept, because while we admit on one hand that we need energy to run our world, this seems at odds with sustainability—eventually non-renewable energy sources will be depleted.

Electric vehicles seems a solution, but they still promote driving—they might use electricity but they still promote an unsustainable way of life. Furthermore, not all electricity is renewable. Hydroelectric power is big some places, but in a lot of countries electricity is derived from coal or other fossil fuels. Tesla wants to make a big push into China, for example, but that only further increases that country’s coal consumption—not so green. And then there’s building a giant factory in the desert, in an area that already is running out of water. That is a move the company has made that seems out of step with any green initiatives. This isn’t an exhaustive study by any means, but one should definitely dig a little bit deeper before blindly assuming that electric vehicles are a green option.

By Jiahui Yao

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