Environment

Total emissions from EVs undercut ICE cars in 95% of the world

Total emissions from EVs under...
A new study claims that EVs are better for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles in 95 percent of the world
A new study claims that EVs are better for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles in 95 percent of the world
View 1 Image
A new study claims that EVs are better for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles in 95 percent of the world
1/1
A new study claims that EVs are better for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles in 95 percent of the world

Comparing the eco-credentials of electric cars and their gasoline-powered counterparts isn’t as simple as counting the carbon emissions coming (or not) from the tailpipe. New research is claiming to have settled the debate once and for all by taking all factors into account, including the production of, and electricity generation for, EVs and found that they are better for the climate in 95 percent of the world.

While there is no debate that EVs pollute less once they are actually on the road, some argue that the CO2 generated during the manufacturing of EVs and in the generation of the electricity to charge them actually outweighs that produced by cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs). The thinking is that while renewables can play a part of the energy mix, EV owners still need to rely heavily on coal- and gas-fired power plants to keep their cars charged and running.

The new research was carried out by scientists at the University of Exeter, University of Cambridge and University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and found that while there are exceptions, electric vehicles are generally better for the climate in the vast majority of places.

To arrive at these conclusions, the team separated the world into 59 regions as a way of categorizing their varying approaches to power generation and technology, while also taking into account the current and future emissions of different vehicle types, production chain emissions and waste processing. According to the analysis, in 53 of those regions, electric cars are responsible for lower emissions overall than gasoline-powered vehicles.

This includes most of Europe and highly populous countries such as the US and China. The researchers calculated that the average lifetime emissions from electric cars are as much as 70 percent lower than ICE-powered cars in Sweden and France, where renewables and nuclear contribute much of the energy supply, and around 30 percent lower in the UK. They found exceptions in places like Poland, where coal is burned to produce most of the country’s electricity.

As part of their study, the scientists also compared household heat pumps powered by electricity as opposed to heating systems powered by fossil fuels, and found that they too would produce lower carbon emissions in 95 percent of the world. Were they adopted around the world, the team calculates that by 2050 they could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 0.8 gigatons a year, an amount equal to Germany’s annual emissions today.

"Taking into account emissions from manufacturing and ongoing energy use, it’s clear that we should encourage the switch to electric cars and household heat pumps without any regrets," says lead author of the study, Dr Florian Knobloch, from the University of Nijmegen.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: University of Cambridge

13 comments
ChairmanLMAO
It's hard to defeat the stupids. Usually best to just let them do it themselves. The only thing the oil based economy has going for it is mindcontrol.
Daishi
My father in law is one of the people that always points out electric cars are just burning coal to make power. He's an electrician by trade. I've pointed out to him a few times that coal has pretty much been decimated as a source of electricity in most countries (mostly by natural gas) and that the grid is continually getting cleaner but he still holds to his position that electric cars are run on mostly coal. I suspect this is because most of his life the grid was mostly coal and he's sort of stuck in his beliefs that that's how it is today. Maybe it's too late for my father in law to understand but people growing up today won't see the electricity grid as something powered almost entirely by coal. EIA.gov says today 23.5% of grid power in the US is coal but that is a steep drop from where it was only 10 years ago (45%) and it will look even more different still in 5-10 more years. Infrastructure takes time to change but the future for coal looks bleak AF. Other sources are both cleaner and cheaper.
pete-y
It needs to include alternative fuels such as LPG, CNG (both usable with current gasoline engines) as well as hydrogen fuel cells. In the UK most of a 30% margin is likely to be wiped out by gas power which would still utilise all the development work put into ICE's.
John Sampson
Except, of course, in developing countries where no EV infrastructure exists and is not likely to for the foreseeable future. I live in a big country of only 2,6 million inhabitants where the distances between towns is considerable by European and American statistics. We are not likely to manage with the current situation where battery life is comparatively minimal, range negligible, and battery costs comparatively exorbitant.
Worzel
As CO2 has had no effect on climate in the last 600 million years, (until carbon tax was invented) this study is entirely superfluous, and pointless. This graph;-
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sivakumaran_Sivaramanan2/publication/280548391/figure/fig1/AS:670051329912835@1536764094158/Global-Temperature-and-CO2-levels-over-600-million-years-Source-MacRae-2008.ppm -: shows the variation in atmospheric CO2, and it can be seen that global CO2 rose for millions of years while temperature fell for millions of years, and also the reverse. Both opposites of the claimed effect of CO2, by the ''global warming'' brigade. So, while removal of vehicle produced pollution from cities by the introduction of electric vehicles is excellent, it can have no effect on climate. However, depletion of CO2 in the atmosphere, can have a deleterious effect on plant growth worldwide, which is highly undesirable.
SteveBarry
Modern cars are so clean that in some cases the emissions are cleaner than the air around them. Plus, the energy density of gasoline has yet to be surpassed. I will drive gas powered vehicles thank you.
neutrino23
With roof top solar power this gets even better. We are putting 6kW of solar on our roof as well as using heat pump HVAC and a heat pump water heater. No natural gas at all. With better efficiency insulation, LED lights we will be close to energy neutral. Most of our travel around town is less than 20 miles so this won't add much to our consumption. We are also adding a 13kWh battery to time shift our solar power to use it in the evening.

Climate change is settled science. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is warming the planet just like a car interior gets hot when left in the sun with the windows rolled up.

Hope everyone can shelter in place and stay healthy.
Expanded Viewpoint
I, for one, would like to see their entire list of pollutants vis a vis ICE and electric cars. To some, it's called an energy audit when ALL of the various factors involved are added up. How much Carbon based fuel was burned to mine the Lithium and then process it into a battery? What about the extra copper needed for the heavy gauge wiring and motors? Or do those things suddenly grow on trees now, and we just pick them off of the branches?
An energy audit was done on the nuclear power industry in the late 1990s, and the amount of Carbon based fuels that were burned to mine and transport and process the Uranium ore into a usable (enriched) form and steel, etc needed to build a nuke power plant EXCEEDED the amount of fuels that would have to be burned to get the same amount of electricity had the Carbon fuels just been burned in conventional boiler steam plants!! So how are nuke plants any better? They are not. I posit that the same holds true for electric cars/trucks/motorcycles/air planes/trains. And then we still have to add in the cost of the infrastructure needed to charge up the electric machinery too!! How is that going to be metered and billed?
If someone can show me the hard data that actually proves their claims that EVs really are better than ICE powered, then I won't need to believe in it. as I will know it to be true!! Beliefs are VERY poor substitutes for knowledge.
T N Args
My region is one of the leaders in wind power, and one of the laggards in EV uptake. Ironic cackle.
dcris
By 2030 we will be driving cars using magnetic motors that will recharge batteries....forever. No...it's not scifi....the tech is happening all over the planet. The only reason it's not happening yet is the strangle hold oil and gas industry has on power production. You don't have to believe me now....but one day you will remember reading this....