electric car
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Driving an electric car might not be as good for the environment as once thought, according to a report.

A segment on Canada's CBC Radio show "The Current" takes a closer look at the use of electric cars and their actual impact on the earth.

Citing programs that offer incentives to anyone who wants to ditch a gas-powered car for an electric one in Canada, the report says that if everyone switched to the "greener" electric cars, the overall emissions might not be any less than what they are now.

The disconnect lies where the power that fuels electric cars comes from. Electric charging stations are not always green themselves, according to the report, depending on which part of Canada they're in.

The solution, according to a study mentioned in the CBC report, is to create electricity from greener sources like solar and wind power. And that's possible, according to the study, which concluded Canada's entire electric grid could be fully powered by renewable energy sources by 2035.

On Monday, engineer Hans Baumann presented detailed facts to dispute the claim that electric cars are more green and better for the environment than those powered by gas — and also that fueling electric cars is lighter on drivers' wallets.

"While the CO2 and other gas exhaust is about even between that of a power plant or the gas driven car, the overall heat getting wasted in the air is almost twice as high for the electric driven car than for the fuel powered vehicle," Baumann writes. "Remember — any energy not used mechanically, automatically converts into heat going into the atmosphere.

"Even the claim by our government, that electric cars are cheaper to operate than gasoline driven ones, is flawed. Using the overly optimistic assumption that gas and electric versions are equally efficient, then we have to assume that the fuel for the electric car is equal to 1 gallon of gasoline, that is 31,641 Kcal. (Kilocalories) worth of energy.

"These Kilocalories convert to 34 Kw/h of electricity. Taken the U.S. average price of $0.1258 per Kw/h (it will cost $17.5 in New England), it will cost the average consumer $4.27 to fill up his battery. Compare that to only $3 or less for one gallon of gasoline."

However, many observers say electric cars do have a lot of potential to be gentler on the earth's environment.