The single reason electric 'is cleaner/better' than petrol is all about pollution displacement.
Both vehicle types require heavy industry in their production, are energy intensive and thus pollute to comparable degrees originally. The issue arises when there is continued emissions in use, particularly WHERE they are used MOST...ie. in the urban environment.
Then it's clear petrol/diesel engines are going to be considerably worse environmentally - where you actually live.
However it's not all that cut and dried entirely, not when the true broader picture is used... abandoning an already existing petrol car into landfill thus requiring resource-intensive replacement [no matter how clean it might drive] can be demonstrated to be counter to true 'green thinking', particularly when politics and agenda are involved.
Yes, there's a potential for battery fire/explosion....but every car on the planet has a battery....so that's nothing new...and yes. people have died from 'normal' battery fires/explosions. Obviously they have ALSO died from petrol/fuel fires as well.... so that distinction against electric cars fails dismally.
Looking at the waste/recycling of the 2 options...with oil it mostly ends up as plastics, tyres or macadam/tarmac/bitumen [same shit] for road making and carcinogenic lung failures , whereas with electrics there are going to be a shitload of spent cells full of heavy metals that'll need both careful handling and clever options for re-use.
Being an Architect for 46 years, I've been dealing with the moralities of energy consumption and how to make less of an impact. The only true solution is 'Soylent Green' as population growth and resultant urban sprawl will get us all in the end, no matter what we do. Pretty much everything is a case of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic...
Best thing you can do....live your life within walking distance of where you earn your existence. I've done that for over 35 years ....and yes, I know it is mostly unobtainable. As Ned Kelly last said as he was about to hang...."Such is life."
On another aside...those 3 SAABs of mine ...between them they do about 5000 km per year .... 3000 miles .... significantly less than Joe Average with one car...