Does driving an electric vehicle help to protect the environment?

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:14th February 2023

How electric vehicles help the environment

Friday 22nd April is Earth Day! It’s a day devoted to supporting environmental protection, so there’s no better time to start thinking about what we can do to combat climate change.

For fleet managers, there’s one obvious answer. Begin transitioning your fleet to electric vehicles!

Of course, this can take a number of years to fully transition, and Fuel Card Services is here to help fleets prepare for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles with products such as the Shell Electric Vehicle Card.

But how exactly does driving an electric car help to protect the environment?

Electric vehicles do not emit harmful gases

The average passenger car will produce approximately 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. This gas is emitted from the tailpipe and sent into the Earth’s atmosphere. Worldwide figures show that passenger cars alone were responsible for 3.2 billion metric tons of CO2 being sent into our atmosphere in 2019. This figure was lower the following year due to the pandemic, but will continue to rise again. This figure also does not take vans or HGVs into account, which also emit a huge volume of harmful gases.

Electric vehicles, however, do not contribute to this! The lithium-ion battery that is most commonly used to power an EV does not let off harmful substances when it is being drained.

For fleets doing thousands of miles a year, the amount of pollution they could prevent by switching to electric vehicles is huge.

Does vehicle charging contribute to pollution?

Of course, it’s easy to say that electric cars are better for the environment when out on the road, but what about on the forecourt? Charging EVs requires electricity, which is often provided from unsustainable resources. In many cases, fossil fuels are still burnt to provide the electricity we use in our day to day lives – this includes charging our vehicles.

However, it is suggested that the emissions caused by powering your EV chargers are offset by the lack of emissions from the vehicle itself. All in all, the overall emissions from charging and driving an EV are around 30% less than running a combustion engine vehicle.

Additionally, certain EV charging hubs are making efforts to be even more sustainable. Shell’s first all-EV charging hub in Fulham is built with sustainability in mind. The energy used to charge the vehicles is 100% renewable. Charging at a hub like this would reduce your emissions even more than charging at home for example, and more renewable energy sources are set to be used in the coming years.

Isn’t electric vehicle manufacturing worse for the environment?

Quite a common argument against the adoption of EVs is that manufacturing them is actually worse for the environment, making them less green. It’s suggested that in many cases, the production of EVs will produce more carbon emissions.

Whilst this may be true, these emissions are once again offset by the fact that EVs will produce less emissions over its lifetime.

Harmful gases will be emitted during an ICE vehicle’s production and during its time on the road. For an EV, the harmful emissions are massively reduced once it leaves the factory. Therefore, driving an EV leads to a greener carbon footprint than a vehicle burning fossil fuels.

When will your fleet adopt electric vehicles?

It may seem like a while away, but the government is set to ban new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 in an effort to reach net zero. Of course, you don’t have to make the change before then – you can still use ICE vehicles made before that date. However, fleet managers should consider the potential cost savings that come from running a fleet of EVs.

Remember, Fuel Card Services is here to help. We can help keep your charging costs down with the Shell Electric Vehicle Card. You can also use this fuel card to pay for traditional fuels as you slowly phase out ICE vehicles.

Get in touch today and we’ll get your fleet moving towards a greener future!