INDI Insights: The Reality of EV Batteries with INDI EV


The world is moving towards electric vehicles (EVs) as a more sustainable mode of transportation, but many still question if they are actually better for the environment. INDI EV dives deep into the pros and cons of your most prominent battery related questions.

Does manufacturing an EV cause more carbon pollution than manufacturing a gas car?

Studies have shown that the manufacturing of EVs can in fact create more carbon pollution than the manufacturing of traditional ICE vehicles. This is largely due to the additional energy required to manufacture an EV’s battery. However, over the car’s lifetime, total greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing, charging, and driving an EV are lower than the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a gasoline car. Inarguably during the manufacturing process, EVs do create more carbon pollution but over a vehicle’s lifetime EVs are responsible for less pollution than traditional ICE vehicles. EVs have higher efficiency rates, emit zero tailpipe emissions, and can be charged using renewable energy sources, which means they have a smaller carbon footprint in the long run.

How long do EV batteries typically last?

Under California Emission Standards EV manufacturers are required to provide a warranty which would cover the battery for 150,000 miles or 10 years whichever comes first. States that have not implemented California Emission Standards are required to abide by the Federal standard which requires EV manufacturers to provide a warranty of 100,000 miles or 8 years whichever comes first. It is estimated that after 8 to 10 years EVs will retain approximately 70% of their battery capacity. 

Are EVs the only ones using lithium batteries?

Lithium batteries are actually used for a wide variety of products in fact it’s highly likely that whatever device you’re reading this on contains lithium. Consumer electronics such as smartphones, laptops, computers, digital cameras, vacuums, watches, etc.  contain lithium ion batteries. Given the relatively short lifespan of these devices due to functionality or fashion, there’s a high rate of upgrading in the consumer electronics segment. However, all sectors are committed to ensuring that our limited resources are appropriately disposed of and recycled.

What happens at an EV battery’s end of life?

Recycling! Most OEMs estimate that 90%-100% of EV battery components can be recycled at end of life. Recycling batteries is not only great for our environment but also more cost effective than having completely new materials sourced globally making it a great incentive for many OEMs to ensure their batteries are recycled. In fact one of the biggest EV OEMs estimated it “had 1,300 tons of nickel, 400 tons of copper, and 80 tons of cobalt recycled in 2020”. 

The Reality

At the end of the day the move towards EVs is just one step in creating a more sustainable environment. And as much as it helps the environment, EV’s are also just a compromise for us humans. We need transportation and in order to create a vehicle, materials are needed. Many people like to point out that mining lithium for EV batteries harm the planet, but what’s often lost is that drilling for oil is also damaging for the environment. The EV acknowledges that lithium mining is not good for the environment but it’s the better alternative as it does less damage to the environment long term while also supplying our need for vehicles. As time goes on our options will expand and technology will catch up with our environmental needs if we embrace the most sustainable options and push for innovation.

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    No Author Name 05/18/2023
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