«The ‘cleanest’ engine depends on the criteria used to define cleanliness, such as emissions, fuel efficiency, and the type of fuel used», stated Muntasser Al Anbagi, Mechanical engineering University Putra Malaysia, adding: «However, based on current technology and environmental concerns, electric motors in electric vehicles (EVs) are often considered among the cleanest engine types, especially when their entire lifecycle is considered».
Why? At first, Zero Tailpipe Emissions: electric motors produce no tailpipe emissions, which is a significant advantage in reducing local air pollution, especially in urban areas. Other factors are efficiency: electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines (ICEs) because they convert a higher percentage of electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels.
Then, there is the matter of using renewable energy sources: when powered by renewable energy sources like solar or wind, electric vehicles contribute very little to greenhouse gas emissions. The overall environmental impact of EVs improves as the electricity grid becomes greener.
Electric vehicles, besides, often use regenerative braking, which recaptures energy that would otherwise be lost and improves overall efficiency. Electric motors operate much more quietly than internal combustion engines, contributing to less noise pollution. «In comparison, newer technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and advanced hybrids also show promise for clean transportation, but they currently face challenges in infrastructure, cost, and technology maturity. As technology and infrastructure evolve, the definition of the cleanest engine may change. For now, electric motors, particularly in EVs using renewable energy sources, are widely regarded as one of the cleanest options available».