One of the most compelling reasons to join the electric revolution is the reduced impact that electric vehicles (EVs) have on the environment, but why and how are they better than the petrol or diesel alternative?
Zero tailpipe emissions
Electric vans don’t require the combustion of fuel to turn the energy in their batteries into movement (kinetic energy), instead the lithium-ion batteries release energy electrochemically.
This means that electric vans don’t produce any harmful
emissions while driving and don’t have an exhaust pipe. This reduction in the
emission of gases such as carbon dioxide helps to reduce air pollution,
especially in built-up areas such as towns and cities.
As well as reducing air pollution, electric vans also help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change.
Lower lifetime CO2 footprint
However, the environmental impact of an electric van also needs to consider the lifetime emissions of the vehicle, including production, maintenance and fuel. The production of electricity still partly relies on fossil fuels in most countries on earth, so charging your electric van does have an impact.
Despite this, a
2020 study by the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge
that electric vehicles lead to lower emissions overall and are better for the
environment than conventional vehicles in 95% of the world.
Charging your electric van with renewable energy sources significantly reduces its lifetime CO2 footprint.
What effect do lithium-ion batteries have on the environment?
The batteries in electric vehicles are lithium-ion, with around 10kg of lithium per EV. There is ongoing debate about the true impact of lithium production, as it is a very water-intensive process that involves hazardous chemicals. There is evidence that lithium mining can contribute to environmental degradation in the areas in which it is sourced.
Research is ongoing to explore alternatives to lithium, including sodium, which is significantly cheaper, more abundant, and less resource-intensive, as well as hydrogen and sulphur. As EV technology is more widely adopted, more and more battery options will become available as research progresses.
What happens to the battery once it is used up?
Once their capacity to power an eVan range is diminished, used batteries are recycled, often becoming second-use battery storage units for buildings such as supermarkets or private residences, enjoying a new life outside the vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz operates an energy division,
offering procurement and distribution of 2nd-life batteries, battery modules
and battery control components as well as consultation for energy storage
Switching from a diesel van to an electric Mercedes-Benz eVan is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment and be ahead of the curve, with new petrol and diesel vans set to no longer sold in the UK from 2030.
Take a look at our range of electric vans and start your cleaner, greener van driving journey today.