Tesla: the real environmental impact

January 11, 2021 by  
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Since the introduction of the initial Tesla electric vehicle (EV), consumers have sought accurate information regarding the total carbon footprint of EVs as they compare to traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs). We know Elon Musk’s Tesla vehicles create less pollution out of the tailpipe, but what about those batteries? The truth is, direct comparisons are difficult to make due to the endless variables to take into account. But as more information about batteries and manufacturing becomes available, it is important to consider all of the factors to make the most sustainable decision when it comes to car ownership. Tesla’s messaging Some of Tesla’s claims over the years have amounted to little more than hype. There’s even been a dose of greenwashing in the creatively crafted claims regarding sustainable corporate practices. Still, Tesla is the undeniable leader in the innovation, production and style now associated with energy-efficient cars. So, how green is Tesla, and is owning one really a thoughtful consideration for the environment? Related: Go off the grid with a Tesla-powered adventure vehicle by Ready.Set.Van. Manufacturing impact Running a factory is resource-intensive. Reports vary regarding the carbon footprint of the actual product though. While the parts are different, it’s generally accepted that Tesla vehicle production is equivalent or less-consumptive than standard vehicle builds. From the beginning, Musk has spouted claims about the efficiency of Tesla plants, with the use of high-tech robots for precision and LED lighting to save energy as well as reliance on local renewable energy. The company claims to have earned a zero-waste certification at the Fremont plant, although there have been reports showcasing the company’s waste at this plant. As new plants are constructed from the ground up, they are built to rely on renewable energy sources. In addition, the company’s water reduction efforts are seen across the sales, service and delivery facilities. It has even implemented waterless car washes in some areas. While the company goal is to lead the way in sustainable practices, it is still hovering around progress rather than perfection. By comparison to standard manufacturing practices, however, Tesla’s conservation methods are welcome environmentally. Materials sourcing The main hit to the environment in regards to Tesla EV production is in the materials needed for the batteries. There have been deep contradictions between Tesla’s stated objectives to source raw materials from suppliers who ensure environmentally friendly and ethical processes and reports of a questionable supply chain. Over the years, there have been accusations of poor treatment of the Indigenous population surrounding a lithium mine in Argentina, a dirty source of graphite from China and cobalt mined under harsh conditions. Tesla responded by saying the supply chains are complex and the company is continuing to find ways to clean them up. The company stated, “Reliably determining the origin [of these materials] is a difficult task, but the due diligence practices required of our suppliers adds transparency to help us and our suppliers adhere to the responsible sourcing principles of our Code.” You can read the Tesla Supplier Code of Conduct and the Human Rights and Conflict Minerals Policy to better understand these goals. Lifespan Electric cars don’t rely on the same parts as a combustion engine, and overall EV components last longer. With this in mind, comparisons shouldn’t be made on a one-to-one basis. ICE vehicles will need to be replaced more often, doubling the impact of material sourcing, manufacturing and scrap waste . In short, a product that lasts longer produces less waste. Charging stations  One of the prevalent arguments regarding EVs is the fact that they charge using electrical power. That power is most often sourced from the local power grid, which can be composed of a variety of sources including the very fossil fuels electric cars aim to eliminate. While Musk has repeatedly claimed that Tesla charging stations are 100% powered by renewable energy, this statement from a company spokesperson is likely closer to the truth. “We aim for carbon neutrality, and where the market allows via wholesale power purchase, we source renewable energy , even though it is slightly more expensive. In Europe, the power for all our Supercharger stations is sourced by renewable energy. Continuing to convert our superchargers to solar power will push us further down that road.” To some degree, it’s out of Tesla’s hands when it comes to public electricity, including what the consumer uses once they get their car home. It’s up to each Tesla owner to invest in solar panels or subscribe to renewable energy sources through their utility provider. It’s important to note the combination of energy sources varies widely across the country. For example, Iowa relies on wind for around 40% of its energy production while West Virginia sources nearly 100% of its energy from coal. Therefore, even an electric vehicle can be petroleum-consumptive in areas with a heavy reliance on fossil fuels . While Tesla may not be able to count on complete reliance on renewable energy, it does own a solar power production company. This adds up to a carbon offset, which is a good thing. However, it shouldn’t be considered when measuring the carbon footprint from Tesla cars as a whole. Battery disposal Battery disposal is another hot topic with concerns over massive, and potentially toxic, waste. However, the newest generation of batteries, especially Tesla batteries aimed at eliminating cobalt altogether, are highly recyclable. Not only can 90% of the battery be recycled , but even after its usable life in a Tesla, the battery can be used for energy storage for another 20 years or so. In addition, batteries can be refurbished by replacing bad cells or removing good cells to use in another battery. Tesla’s appeal and innovation The bottom line is Tesla has propelled EV production ahead by leaps and bounds with its innovation and dedication to sustainable practices. Perhaps even more powerful is the sleek, appealing designs that excite buyers and continue to grow a customer base willing to now own an electric vehicle. It has been, and continues to be, a driving force for continued improvements across the industry and a catalyst that sparks individuals to drive into the future of electric vehicles. Both are a win for the planet. Via The Drive , Clean Technica and Slate Images via Unsplash

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Tesla: the real environmental impact

The race to mainstream electric vehicles by 2030

December 2, 2020 by  
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The race to mainstream electric vehicles by 2030 Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 12/02/2020 – 00:30 The world’s leading companies and policymakers are coalescing around setting targets for adopting zero-emission vehicles around a 2030 time frame. The latest — and one of the most aggressive to come from a country leader — was issued a few weeks ago by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who revealed a climate plan that includes banning the sales of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2030 (some hybrids will be allowed until 2035). The U.K. accelerated its commitment to zero-emission vehicles from 2040 to 2035, and finally to just a decade away. The U.K. isn’t the only one. Denmark set the same goal — phase out new fossil fuel vehicle sales in 2030 — and world-leader Norway plans to make the switch in 2025. A couple months ago, in response to the California wildfires, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that similarly called for a ban of new gas car sales, but starting in 2035.  On the corporate front, 2030 is emerging as an appropriately aggressive but achievable goal. The Climate Group’s EV100 program , which has 92 member companies that have pledged to buy EVs and install EV chargers, features the tagline: “Making electric transport the new normal by 2030.” Why is 2030 the year for EVs to become the “new normal”? Technology advances, for one. Electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type. The price of lithium-ion batteries, which power most mainstream EVs, has been dropping dramatically the past several years. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says that between 2010 and 2019, lithium-ion battery pack prices fell 87 percent. In 2019, they dropped 13 percent more.  At that rate, electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type; just in time for these targets. Starting in 2030, BNEF predicts that 26 million EVs will be sold annually, representing 28 percent of the world’s new cars sold.  Because of these increasingly attractive battery economics, and increased competition from companies such as Tesla and Rivian, big automakers are accelerating their EV production plans. Pandemic-induced austerity has ed to the world’s largest OEMs opting for EV investments over internal combustion ones. Last month, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced an accelerated investment in its EV lineup, adding $7 billion from its initial plans announced earlier this year.  Increasing concern over the climate crisis is also driving accelerated goals. Climate scientists urge that the planet only has until 2030 to stem the most catastrophic effects of climate change. The historic wildfires that struck California this year were the catalyst that led to Newsom’s signing the executive order to ban new gas car sales.  Meanwhile, as many policymakers and companies are unifying around a 2030 time frame, others are still looking at a much longer timescale of 2050. While far-out climate goals are better than no climate goals, 2050 is just too far off for zero-emission vehicles. EVs already will have tipped into the mainstream far, far sooner than three decades from now.  If you’re helping your organization set big zero-emission transportation goals, look no later than 2030. Goals to electrify fleets, install EV chargers and charging depots, and end gas car sales, are totally doable — and in fact necessary — over the next decade. Pull Quote Electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type. Topics Transportation & Mobility Policy & Politics Electric Vehicles Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Drivers charging their electric car at charging stations near government offices in New Delhi, India. Shutterstock Pradeep Gaurs Close Authorship

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The race to mainstream electric vehicles by 2030

thredUP partnerships open the door to secondhand shopping at major retailers

September 2, 2019 by  
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Whether it is a handbag from the 1970s or a leather motorcycle jacket circa 1999, what’s old is new again, and online retailer thredUP sees the circular economy movement as a thriving opportunity. The consignment retailer and secondhand shop recently kicked off RAAS, or Resale-As-A-Service, a project to attract traditional department stores to get on board with more sustainable fashion . “The closet of the future … is going to look very different than the closet of today,” said James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder of thredUP. “If you think back 10 years ago when we started, you had none of these direct-to-consumer brands. There was no such thing as rental. There were no subscription companies. In just these 10 years, we’ve had a radical shift in how people shop and buy apparel . And I think that shift is going to continue.” Related: G7 summit — Fashion companies make a pact to protect the planet The retailer collects around 100,000 pieces of secondhand items daily and says resale is growing 21 times as fast as the larger retail market; it could be a $51 billion market by 2023. Shoppers propelling the growing circular economy are Millennials and Gen Zers — the 18- to 37-year-old population — who are purchasing about 2.5 times more than any other age group. Big box stores, like JCPenney and Macy’s, have seen their sales yo-yo in recent years and have signed on with thredUP. In doing so, the retailers have three options: store pop-up, online collaboration or a loyalty program. Some experts believe department stores will lean toward pop-ups, because they tend to attract more shoppers. As reported by Forbes , pop-ups offered by thredUP will be between 500 and 1,000 square feet and “feature new items on a weekly basis, offering brands that aren’t already in a typical Macy’s or JCPenney. There will be 100 pop-ups by Labor Day.” According to Reinhart, the loyalty program has been the top option, where shoppers can purchase items from thredUP’s retail partners and also receive a “clean out kit.” Buyers use this kit to send in pre-loved clothing items to thredUP — thredUP retains the markup on resold items, consumers get credits and bonuses with the retailer and the retailer sees improved customer retention. It’s a win-win-win. thredUP has reportedly received more than $300 million in total funding for the project. It’s possible that thredUP’s RAAS initiative may help grow the circular economy and give struggling department stores a brighter future. + thredUP Via TreeHugger , Forbes and FirstResearch Image via Burst

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thredUP partnerships open the door to secondhand shopping at major retailers

14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

July 26, 2016 by  
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14-year-old Lucy Gavaghan of England is on a mission to stop the sale of eggs from caged hens. She convinced major British company Tesco to agree to end the sales of “caged eggs” by 2025, and isn’t finished yet. She’s now targeting British companies Asda and Morrisons, and if you want to help you can sign her newest petition here . Gavaghan worked for a few years to stop the sales of caged eggs by writing letters to politicians and supermarkets, but felt that no one was listening. She knew there would be others in the world who, like her, also wanted to stop the sales of eggs from caged hens, so in February 2016, she started a Change.org petition . In total, 280,278 people signed the petition. Related: Kid sisters raise $800,000 with origami to dig water wells around the world Gavaghan met with Tesco’s head of agriculture in May. She said after the meeting, she didn’t really think they would change their policies, but this month finally received a call. Tesco said they’d ” stop selling caged eggs by 2025 .” While the European Union banned putting hens inside battery cages in 2012, the industry began to use “enriched cages” instead. But Gavaghan says the hens still don’t have enough space in those cages – only around the dimensions of an A4 paper (that’s around 8 by 12 inches). Gavaghan said in her first petition, “I have five hens myself, two of them are ex-commercial barn hens and one of them once lived in commercial colony cages. They are amazing animals to be around. Keeping my own hens and knowing their past has made me determined to end caged and barn farming…These methods of egg farming are cruel, unnatural, and inhumane.” After her success with Tesco, Gavaghan plans to ensure they keep their word and is now targeting other grocery stores that still sell caged eggs, Asda and Morrisons . About a week ago she started another Change.org petition, and has already racked up 176,697 supporters. You can add your name to the petition here . + End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda Via The Telegraph Images via Lucy Gavaghan ( 1 , 2 )

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14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

Every gas station in Russia will have an electric vehicle charger by November 2016

September 11, 2015 by  
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Russia’s prime minister is demanding that all gas station owners in the nation install an electric vehicle charger by late next year. The mandate is a strange attempt to boost the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in a country with a suffering oil industry, but even with its flaws, it represents a good example for other nations. If you build it, will they in fact come and plug in their electric cars? Read the rest of Every gas station in Russia will have an electric vehicle charger by November 2016

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In Maryland, Tesla’s competition could help them get back in business

April 17, 2015 by  
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Tesla’s been fighting for the right to do business in a number of states recently, but the electric car maker has gained some footing in Maryland, thanks to an unusual ally. The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, which is essentially a collection of Tesla’s competitors in the state, has supported a measure to allow Tesla to continue their direct sales model without relying on a third-party dealership. Like many states, Maryland has laws that bar car makers from selling directly to the public, and those laws help dealerships take a slice out of the auto-buying business. In states where Tesla has won the ability to continue their sales , new legislation has been enacted to create an exception for electric car makers like Tesla, typically with a few caveats. In Maryland, a similar bill has already passed the state’s house and senate, and Governor Larry Hogan could sign it into law as soon as April 28. Having the backing of the largest dealership association in the state won’t hurt Tesla’s odds of getting their cars on the road in Maryland. Via Autoblog Image via Tesla Motors Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric car , electric cars , electric vehicles , elon musk , tesla , tesla banned in maryland , tesla close to selling in maryland , tesla sales in maryland

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Beautiful Jan bicycle is made with a handcrafted wooden frame

April 17, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Beautiful Jan bicycle is made with a handcrafted wooden frame Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: handmade wooden bicycle frame , Jan bicycle workshop , Jan Mucska , Jan Vidlicka , reader submitted content , veneer plywood , wooden bicycle frame , wooden frame

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Apple to protect 36,000 acres of forest lands, and is building 2 new solar farms in China

April 17, 2015 by  
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The Apple logo might have gone from rainbow to black over the years, but the company is getting greener every day. This week, Apple made two announcements that impressed environmentalists around the world. In the first, the iPhone maker shared the news that it has purchased 36,000 acres of forest land for the express purpose of protecting it from future development. The other announcement was about two new solar farm projects which are already under construction in China , duplicating clean energy efforts the company has already made here in the U.S. Read the rest of Apple to protect 36,000 acres of forest lands, and is building 2 new solar farms in China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple , apple buys forest , apple clean energy , apple solar farms , china , conservation of forests , forest conservation , nature conservation , solar farm , Solar Power , sunpower

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Apple to protect 36,000 acres of forest lands, and is building 2 new solar farms in China

WaterMade Sets Up Sustainable Water Projects in Africa Funded by Sales of Recycled Handmade Ugandan Jewelry

October 15, 2014 by  
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UK-based nonprofit WaterMade is a social enterprise that raises money for water projects across East Africa from sales of jewelry handmade from recycled materials by women’s groups in Kampala, Uganda. Founded by the Sheffield water charity The Long Well Walk , the student-run WaterMade nonprofit operates a number of different projects and helps provide a sustainable income to local communities. Funds from WaterMade sales also support the charity group ‘ Kid’s Clubs Kampala ,’ which creates education and community programs to help lift Ugandan children out of poverty. + WaterMade The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Charity , handmade jewelry , kids club kampala , reader submitted content , Recycled Materials , sheffield , the long well walk , Uganda , ugandan jewelry , water charity , water projects , Watermade

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WaterMade Sets Up Sustainable Water Projects in Africa Funded by Sales of Recycled Handmade Ugandan Jewelry

Tesla’s Sales Surge at the End of 2013 with Highest Sales Ever in the Fourth Quarter

January 16, 2014 by  
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Tesla is reporting that its sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 were the highest ever in the company’s history, with almost 6,900 vehicles delivered. The sales in the last quarter of 2013 exceeded expectations by 20 percent, which can also be attributed to higher production numbers. Read the rest of Tesla’s Sales Surge at the End of 2013 with Highest Sales Ever in the Fourth Quarter Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: automotive , electric car , electric cars , electric motor , green car , tesla , Tesla Model X , tesla model-s , Tesla roadster        

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Tesla’s Sales Surge at the End of 2013 with Highest Sales Ever in the Fourth Quarter

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