Petrol and diesel cars emit three times as much CO2 as EVs

21st April 2020


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Author

Alice White

Electric vehicles (EVs) emit almost three times less CO2 than petrol or diesel cars on average, according to research by the European NGO Transport and Environment (T&E).

The analysis takes into account the amount of CO2 emitted when electricity is produced or fuel is burnt, as well as the carbon impact of resource extraction for batteries or building a power plant.

In a worst case scenario, the researchers said that an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland still emits 22% less CO2 than diesel, and 28% less than petrol.

However, in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80% less CO2 than diesel, and 81% less than petrol.

Critics of EVs say their environmental benefits are overplayed as their carbon footprint doesn't account for emissions during manufacturing, and claim that diesel or petrol could be the greener option.

“It's simply not true,“ said T&E transport and emobility analyst Lucien Mathieu. “The most up-to-date data shows that electric cars in the EU emit almost three times less CO2 on average.

“If European governments are serious about decarbonising during the crisis recovery, they must speed up the transition to electric vehicles.“

This comes after a study of UK vehicles found that total emissions from EVs would still be half those of conventional cars if taking the manufacturing of batteries into account.

And after just two to three years of running, the carbon emitted in producing batteries for the most efficient EV models would have been saved.

T&E has developed a tool that compiles all the most up-to-date data on CO2 emissions linked to the use of an electric, diesel or petrol car, and said that it will update it as new data becomes available.

“This tool puts to rest the myth that driving an electric car in Europe can be worse for the climate than an equivalent diesel or petrol,“ Mathieu said.

“Electric cars will reduce CO2 emissions four-fold by 2030 thanks to an EU grid relying more and more on renewables.“

Image credit: iStock

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