How clean are electric cars?

As automakers rush to reduce CO2 emissions from their vehicles in order to meet EU car regulations in 2020 and 2021, the supply and sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly increasing. Electric car sales will reach the mass market in the 2020s, with the total number of EVs on the road expected to more than triple across Europe by 2030. This means that 97% of the electric vehicles that will be on the road in 2030 have yet to be purchased (from 1.3 million EVs in the end of 2019 to 44 million in 2030).

Reported by Transport & Environment

With the introduction of the electric car came a slew of lifecycle analyses estimating CO2 emissions of electric vehicles, including battery and charging, and comparing them to conventional vehicles. While many researchers must rely on out-of-date data or evidence, some LCAs (or their interpretations) are purposefully deceptive. Many of these rely on out-of-date data to compare rapidly developing EVs to mature petrol or diesel technology with little room for improvement. T&E has produced a comprehensive and forward-looking comparison of electric, diesel, and petrol engines in various car sizes for 2020 and 2030 to bring clarity and transparency to this debate.

Electric cars outperform diesels and gasoline in all scenarios, even on carbon-intensive grids like Poland, where they outperform conventional vehicles by about 30%. EVs are already about five times cleaner than conventional equivalents in the best-case scenario (an EV running on clean electricity with a battery produced with clean electricity). Importantly, evidence shows that electric cars powered by average electricity repay their “carbon debt” from battery production after slightly more than a year and save more than 30 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime compared to a conventional equivalent. Electric vehicles that travel long distances (such as shared vehicles, taxis, or Uber-like services) can save up to 85 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime (compared to diesel).

The ability of electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions is undeniable, and the EU should accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility and phase out diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2035 at the latest, in accordance with its Green Deal climate ambition.

Source: How clean are electric cars | Transport & Environment 
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