Great question. The short answer is yes.  Electric cars do offer a far more sustainable, environmentally sound and ethical alternative to internal combustion vehicles.

The long answer...

Environmentally sound
The production of a lithium ion battery in an electric car such as a Tesla model S does result in the car having aninitial marginally higher carbon footprint.  An electric car does, however, produce far less CO2 per kilometer and this initial excess is recovered within the first few thousand kilometers of operation.

Even if the electricity that charges the car comes from a coal power station the efficiencies of high temperature combustion in the power station's gas turbines results in a halving of the CO2 produced per kilometer of driving compared to a modern "high efficiency"internal combustion engine.  In addition electric power transmission is nearly loss-less compared to the energy costs of petrol production and distribution.  This, combined with regenerative braking, results in an electric car, powered from burning coal having approximately 1/3 the over all carbon footprint of a modern petrol car. 

Likewise NO2 emissions and carcinogenic particulates are dramatically reduced. The equation only swings further in favor of electric cars when the electricity comes from renewable sources (an option completely unavailable to hydrocarbon powered cars).

Sustainable
Electric cars have more Lithium and Neodymium than other cars.  Neither is actually consumed by the car and are completely available for recycling at the end of the vehicles life. Lithium is abundant and efficiently mined.  It can even be recovered from sea water. New Neodymium sources have recently been utilised in many locations.   

Ethics
While it is difficult to honestly profess the ethics of any mining process there are no indications that the sourcing of materials used in the one off production of an electric car in any way compares to the detrimental effects on societies of a hydrocarbon car's continual need for oil production, coal tar sand oil extraction and even fracking. 

Also the fact that electric cars do not have over 100 kg of a high sitting engine, gearbox etc. has enabled designs that makes collisions more survivable for both occupants and pedestrians.

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