Carbon Emissions Lower For Electric Vehicles Than Gas-Powered Cars

| |

Alfred Peru

Electric vehicles, or EVs, create a smaller carbon footprint over their lifetime than their internal combustion-powered cousins. According to two studies by IHS Markit and the Argonne National Laboratory, the emissions a Nissan Leaf produces in its lifetime are only a third of those emitted by its gas-powered brethren. These findings underscore the environmental benefits of using EVs as your next vehicle.

EVs emit a third of the lifetime emissions of internal combustion brethren

While official fuel economy claims vary from vehicle to vehicle, the difference in emissions incurred by an EV and its conventional counterpart is often large enough to affect comparisons. Figures in this article examine emissions incurred by EVs over their lifetime. They also look at the carbon debt incurred in producing battery packs, which are an inherently carbon intensive process. As such, these figures are only an indication of how EVs may compare to conventional vehicles.

The carbon footprint of EVs is higher than that of petrol cars, but these emissions are offset by the greater energy efficiency of the electric vehicles. According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, EVs produce a greater number of emissions than petrol cars – primarily due to the production of batteries. However, these emissions per mile for EVs are much lower than those of their internal combustion brethren.

Nissan Leaf

In terms of climate change, electric vehicles are better than gas-powered cars over the long term. The yearly carbon emissions of an EV are lower than those of a conventional car. The carbon intensity of EV batteries is reduced by recycling them. However, even a new electric vehicle produces plenty of emissions during its lifetime. That’s why many people hesitate to switch from gas-powered cars.

While a new Nissan Leaf EV produces lower carbon emissions than a conventional car over its entire 12-year lifespan, manufacturing it requires more energy than a conventional car. The battery is the biggest contributor to these emissions, but the overall life cycle of an electric car is still lower than a conventional car. In addition to lower emissions, EVs are more expensive to produce and maintain than gas-powered vehicles.

IHS Markit study

According to an IHS Markit study, lifetime carbon emissions from battery-electric vehicles are nearly 50 percent lower than those from gas-powered cars. These emissions are more than offset by lower fuel costs, and are a large part of the reason governments are promoting greener vehicles. Even if the EV’s battery-electric range is reduced to a few hundred miles, the car’s emissions would still be considerable.

The IHS Markit study uses estimates from Argonne National Laboratory’s Systems Assessment Center to compare the carbon footprint of different fuel types. The study was based on assumptions regarding the size of an EV’s battery, the fuel efficiency of a gasoline car, and the cost of charging an EV. These variables are then plugged into a model developed by the Argonne National Laboratory, a facility funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and operated by the University of Chicago.

Argonne National Laboratory study

According to a study published this week in Science, lifecycle carbon emissions of battery-electric vehicles are less than half that of conventional cars. Although the study assumes the use of conventional vehicles for 12 years, the actual mileage of such a car is considerably less than that. A typical car in the UK travels around 7,100 miles per year. But it is important to remember that official fuel economy estimates often differ from real-world performance.

The study compares six transportation technologies based on 10 categories of environmental impact. The impacts of these technologies are categorized based on their lifecycle stages and normalized to the greatest impact. However, there are some differences. For instance, the lifecycle emissions of the lithium-ion battery-powered Nissan Leaf are less than those of a lithium-ion battery-powered Tesla Model 3 model. The EVs that are marketed in Asia would have smaller lifecycle emissions than those of the model made in America.


An Electric Car Finally Makes Financial Sense

Top Electric Vehicles 2022