In 2021 we are many years away from a true zero emission car, that is, where only renewable energy is used in the mining of the precious metals for its battery, the manufacture of the battery, the car, and its lifetime operation.
According to the latest Department of Energy data, renewable energy sources generated just 13 percent of U.S. electricity in 2020. So, based on that fact, the goal of zero-emission driving is still a long way off — certainly not 2035 as some environmentalists are demanding. Maybe it will be possible by 2050 if billions upon billions are spent on renewable energy sources i.e., solar, wind power, nuclear and hydroelectric power systems.
The electric car itself is non-polluting but the fossil fuel electric generating power plant certainly is. Taking into consideration the three conversion processes — thermal, mechanical and electrical — used to extract the energy from fossil fuels, the overall efficiency of a fossil-fueled electrical power generating plant is about 40 percent. When the efficiencies in power transmission lines, transformers, the charging electric of car batteries, the electric car drive motor are factored in, electric cars are not very efficient at all.