What is the exhaust for electric cars?

By Julia Freeman

Petrol and diesel cars have an internal combustion engine that burns fuel, producing hot gases that are expelled through the car exhaust. Hybrids have an electric motor but also an engine, so they too have a car exhaust. Fully electric cars take electricity from their batteries and turn it into motion in their motor. There is no combustion inside an electric motor so no exhaust gas to expel.

electric car

Generating the electricity

Well that is the usual story. It leaves out the part about where the electricity comes from. In sunny countries, you may be able to charge your car at least partially from your own solar panels but that isn't likely in Britain, so the electricity is generated in some kind of power station and delivered across the National Grid to a charging point. If that power station burns coal, gas, oil or biomass then it generates waste gases that are expelled through their cooling towers.
Therefore, like the famous line in Father Ted, you could say that the car exhaust on an electric car is not smaller; it is just further away.

Environmental benefits

Despite the current government's position in favour of electric vehicles, behind the scenes there is still a heated debate about the environmental benefit. The quantity of exhaust gases and other kinds of pollution generated by electric cars depends on how the power is generated, how it is delivered, and on the environmental impacts of building electric motors, batteries, power lines and generators.
Most current estimates claim that internal combustion cars generate three times more CO2 than electric ones. However, this ignores the pollution caused by manufacturing wind turbines and nuclear power stations, and underestimates the energy wasted by the Grid delivery system. In countries that are heavily dependent on coal-fired power stations, an electric vehicle probably causes more CO2 than a conventional car exhaust. Both Toyota and Nissan have built internal combustion engines more efficient at turning fuel into energy than most power stations.

Maintaining your car's fuel efficiency

Whatever your fuel, you can reduce the pollution it causes by maintaining your car. Car tyres are a good example; in our experience, worn tyres usually lead to higher fuel consumption because they are less efficient at transferring energy to the ground when steering, accelerating or braking. When you don't maintain the correct pressure in your tyres, again they consume more fuel. They also wear faster, so you generate more pollution by replacing them sooner.

Fuel-efficient tyres

Tyre design also has a significant impact on your car's fuel efficiency. It doesn't matter if it runs on electricity, petrol, diesel, hydrogen or biofuel, choosing long-lasting light-rolling tyres will consume less fuel and generate less pollution. Some leading examples of fuel-efficient tyres include Michelin Energy Savers, Continental eContact (for electrics), the Pirelli Cinturato P7 and the Falken Ziex Ecorun (e.g. the ZE914). Bridgestone offer lots of durable and fuel-efficient tyres including the superb Bridgestone Turanza T005 and of course the Bridgestone Ecopia range (e.g. the EP500).

Book with Protyre

As the arguments about pollution rage on, only one thing is certain – lots more hot air will be generated! In the meantime, the best thing you can do is maintain your car. Book a free vehicle check online or call us at Protyre for more advice.

Book One Of Our Free Vehicle Checks

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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