As a mobility enthusiast, it is obvious I’m also fun of electric cars. Tesla in particular, as they provided back in 2012 (and as a prototype in 2009) a new gadget on four wheels using electric power to all interested geeks. Since then, all the early adopters have started promoting and sharing Tesla’s visions and with more e-cars on the roads, others car-manufacturers has joined the train and diversify the current offer.

Now you could choose from “entry” urban e-cars (BMW i3, VW ID.3 …) to SUVs (Jaguar I-PACE, Kia Niro EV, Audi E-Tron, Hyundai Kona Electric …), grand tourers or limousines (Tesla S, 3, Polestar 2, Porsche Taycan …) to even sport e-cars (Polestar Precept, BMW i8 …). Each of these e-vehicle has it’s own philosophy. Looking at the Porsche Taycan, you could easily see the footprint of decades invested into the craft of car-manufacturing which Tesla could at the moment only dream of.

But leaving beside the various approaches of electric cars, part of the debate over the e-cars has raised doubts over the proclaimed environmental assets. The Transport & Environment, non-profit organization, has decided to shed some light into this problematics.

So how clear are electric cars?

That is the core question of the research conducted by Transport & Environment. To answer this, the researchers have collected all the most up-to-date data on CO2 emissions related to the use of an electric, diesel or petrol car to develop a tool to compare the CO2 emission of electric, diesel and petrol cars.

Their research uses data on CO2 emissions from across the EU, including information on vehicle emissions, battery production and energy production in the country. Based on these data, they then show the amount of CO2 emissions of different types of vehicles during their life cycle. The data also takes into account where the battery and electric car were manufactured, where they are charged and powered.

credit: Photo by: @edharve/unsplash
credit: Photo by: @edharve/unsplash

For example, the study shows that driving an electric car in Poland, whose battery was made in China, is still better for the environment than driving a diesel or petrol vehicle in the country. Even if it relies on coal to generate electricity. In this scenario, the electric car produces 22 % less CO2 than diesel and 28 % less than a petrol vehicle.

However, an electric car with a Swedish battery powered by Sweden is significantly better for the environment than comparable petrol vehicles. This is due to Sweden’s dependence on renewable energy sources. In this case, the EV generates 80 % less CO2 than diesel and 81 % less than a gasoline vehicle.

The situation is expected to improve in the future.

The authors predict that electric cars will help Europe to 2023 to reduce CO2 emissions because the continent will install more infrastructure for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.

The tool developed during this research is publicly available. Just follow this link if you want to explore the problematics by yourself.

credit: Transport & Environment
credit: Transport & Environment