Originally Posted by TrackRat
^^^ What about the toxic waste produced when making and recycling EV batteries? What about the fire hazard of EV's in an accident or when an electrical short circuit happens? What about the fact that EV's have an operating range of ~100 miles? What do you do if you need to travel 500 miles? An EV won't work for that so then you need a second vehicle or some form of public transportation. Just food for thought.
Your questions are right and the answer are not simples.
In a nutshell, the batteries waste must be compared to the waste generated by the usage of fuel during all the car life cycle. The only thing that matter is the bottom line of pollution at the end of the cycle for the different solutions.
The same question can be asked for the usage of non recyclable material like carbon composite on the car. If the energy saving can justify the usage of these material on a environmental point of view, this could be acceptable.
I hope you understand the point.
For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_cycle_assessment