Over 100 years ago, Henry Ford revolutionised automotive manufacturing with the assembly line. Fast forward to 2019, and electric vehicles (EVs) will likely take the crown as the next giant leap of automotive innovation. In fact, EVs are forecast to overtake combustion cars by 2040. This GoodDive we pop the hood on two exciting EV brands; Tesla and General Motors. Why the EV hype? They’re touted as being better for the environment, a divestment away from fossil fuels, cheaper to run and maintain, and better for public health by reducing pollution. But as always, there is more to the story than meets the eye. A common environmental criticism of EVs is their batteries, which contain mineable rare-earth minerals like lithium and cobalt. However, a 2018 study found that the manufacturing process and location make all the difference. For example, Chinese manufacturers could reduce their C02 emissions dramatically if they adopted European or American techniques, so EV battery production isn’t all bad.

Tesla
(TSLA) +6.32%, Goodness score: 58%

Tesla’s brand is all about sustainability. Their mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and CEO Elon Musk infamously commented that reliance on fossil fuels was “the dumbest experiment in history”.

Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than petrol cars. Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products.  Some recent good news for Tesla is that since January, China, the world’s largest auto market, has introduced new credit quotas for EVs and banned new companies which only produce combustion cars (although it also reduced government subsidies for EVs). Tesla recently secured an exemption from the 10% purchase tax in China, the only foreign manufacturer to do so. The company also saved an impressive 4M tons of Co2 emissions according to their 2018 Impact Report.

Their “Okay” Goodness score is boosted by carbon reduction. The less good news? Their Okay goodness score weighed down by personnel and other governance issues. Tesla has refused to confirm where its lithium comes from, an issue linked to child labour, pollution and the mistreatment of indigenous communities. While their end products may be sustainable, it seems Tesla’s still working on building them that way.

You can check Tesla’s carbon impact calculator here.

General Motors
(GM) -2.00%, Goodness score 66%

GM, the fourth largest car-maker in the world, ranks slightly better with an Okay Goodness score of 66%. They’re aiming for zero-emissions, zero-crashes, and an ‘all-electric future’. After recently undergoing a significant restructure shedding 5 factories and 15% of their staff, GM has positioned itself to shift towards electric, introducing over-the-air software updates and a new digital platform it anatomically describes as “the brain and nervous system of the car”. Wising up to consumer sentiment on supply chains, GM is focusing on sourcing sustainable natural rubber for tyres to reduce deforestation. Their aim is to be 100% sustainable by 2050, and they’re taking solid steps towards this vision, like creating a huge EV charging network across the US, which should help soothe driver anxiety about range. Their reporting has improved since 2017, although their fleet emissions are still high compared to their peers.

You can check our GM’s “Social Investment” here

3 other EV investments available on Goodments:

Ford (F) +1.52% Goodments Score: 62
Uber (UBER) +7.72% Goodments Score: 65
Lyft (ABBV) -0.35% Goodments Score: 65 

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Goodments Pty Ltd ABN 76 617 000 138 operates under Goodments Pty Ltd AFS License No. 500063. Any information provided by Goodments is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any investment decision you should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation and seek appropriate taxation and legal advice. You can see our FAQ for more information on Goodments. Data accurate as at 23 September 2019 unless otherwise specified. Company returns based on 1 week return period.