In this article, you’re going to learn what Tesla is doing to combat global warming. Because the world needs saving – and fast. Air pollution deaths are around 7 million per year. Read this article on pollution in Turin to understand how severe the pollution problem is in Northern Italy. Global warming, caused by anthropic greenhouse emissions, is already wrecking countries in the Global South. As temperatures climb to over 1°C above pre-industrial levels, losses will compound.
Tesla’s mission is to help the planet
Tesla’s mission, compared to many other companies, is real. They want to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. To achieve such a goal, they want to create a complete power and transportation ecosystem from solar generation and energy storage to all-electric vehicles. 1/2 of all greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S. comes from transport and electricity production, so Tesla’s impact potential is enormous.
Tesla powers the sustainable transition in your home
Tesla owns SolarCity, which markets and installs residential and commercial solar panels in the United States. Today, customers can install solar panels or Tesla solar roof to power their home with 100% renewable energy. They can store energy in Tesla Powerwall, which can power your home even during blackouts and when the sun is not shining.
Tesla enables companies to go renewable
Utilities and businesses also benefit from Tesla. They can install Powerpack, an infinitely scalable energy storage system. While solar farms and wind turbines are already cheaper than fossil-fueled alternatives and are getting more efficient every year, Powerpack enables utilities to store electricity efficiently, which increases grid resiliency. But renewables aren’t limited to emissions savings. Wind turbines also consume 99% less water than traditional plants, which require massive amounts of water for cooling, withdrawing more water from the system than agriculture.
To appreciate how Tesla is helping small islands become energy independent and contribute to fight global warming, watch this 1-minute video:
Overall, Tesla Energy has generated 13TWh of 100% clean energy, which is much more than the 5TWh consumed by all its vehicle fleet to date. So Tesla is producing more green power than is used by all of its cars.
Charging the batteries in a fossil-fueled world
Some people think electric vehicles have an unsustainable environmental impact because of the emissions needed to power the car. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, even recharging your E.V. in Texas, which is mostly powered by fossils, will reduce emissions by 22% compared to gasoline cars. In more progressive regions like Europe, for example, 85% of the electricity at Superchargers comes from renewable sources.
Considering electric cars’ lifecycle emissions
But emissions are not only related to energy production. We need to consider the whole life cycle of the vehicle. Some might think that producing batteries has a catastrophic impact on the environment. The emissions of an E.V. from creation to death, including battery manufacturing, are still half compared to a traditional car, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. And as E.V.s get more efficient and grids shift to renewable energy generation, the savings emissions will only get more extensive over time. Put simply, burning fossil fuels to move cars is unsustainable. Additional emissions savings come from recycling the lithium-ion batteries, where there’s a lot of misinformation regarding their recyclability. Recycling processes today recover approximately 50% of the materials of a lithium-ion battery cell and depending on the separation technology, the recyclability can top 80%. As more E.V.s hit the road, the supply of batteries will spur market interest and drive recycling efficiencies even further.
Accelerating the shift to sustainable energy
Tesla was the first company to introduce fully-electric, mass-produced and long-range electric vehicles to market. But it can’t transition the world to sustainable energy by itself. By attracting colossal consumer attention and open-sourcing its patents, it indeed has anticipated the transition to sustainable energy by years, if not decades. Today, Mercedes, Ford, Volkswagen, G.M., Hyundai, Jaguar, BMW are only some of the car companies investing heavily in electric vehicles. China, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and others have announced bans on fossil-fuel cars. Norway’s ban will enact as soon as 2025.
We’re at the beginning of a global revolution towards sustainable energy and transportation, not because it’s cool, but because it’s necessary. It’s urgent. The potential havoc we’re facing as a species is enormous compared to the cost of adopting mass-scale sustainable solutions now. I believe Tesla is doing its part towards this transition. This post hasn’t even considered the safety benefits of driving a Tesla, or the savings, or their breakthrough technology in charging and range, as they’ll be for future posts. I hope Tesla has inspired you to do your part towards helping the plant.
Tesla Impact Report – https://www.tesla.com/ns_videos/tesla-impact-report-2019.pdf
Union of Concerned Scientists, Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave – https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cleaner-cars-cradle-grave
PV-Magazine, Innovation boosts lithium-ion battery recycling rate to over 80% – https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/25/innovation-boosts-lithium-ion-battery-recycling-rate-to-over-80/
Road traffic technology, European countries banning fossil fuel cars and switching to electric – https://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/features/european-countries-banning-fossil-fuel-cars/