Are they? No, not as clean as the media might make you think.
The most acknowledged downside of electric vehicles is that electricity powering them comes from the combustion of fossil fuels. If you leave out highly developed countries such as Norway, Sweden, Canada, France, Germany, etc., fossil fuels power nearly every other country.
The second and often lesser-known downside of EVs is the emission of greenhouse gases during the production of these cars. Vaclav Smil, the pre-eminent authority on all things energy, in his book Numbers Don’t Lie, busted some of the myths around EVs. He cites a 2017 study that found that the production of an EV creates about 60% more toxicity than that of a conventional vehicle. Apparently, the greater use of heavy metals in electric vehicles causes more CO2 emissions.