Electric Vehicles Produce Less CO2 Than Petrol, Study Confirms
Apr 25 2020 Read 496 Times
Electric vehicles (EVs) are responsible for the emission of less carbon dioxide (CO2) than petrol cars across 95% of the globe, according to a new study. Champions of EVs have pushed for their widespread adoption as a means of aiding the transition to environmentally friendly forms of road transportation. However, some critics have suggested that the emissions incurred in their manufacture and in the production of the electricity itself offset any benefits gained.
That theory was thoroughly debunked by a new collaborative study undertaken by scientists in the UK and the Netherlands, which found that EVs could be as much as 70% more effective in reducing CO2 emissions than their fossil fuel powered counterparts. The results were observed in 53 out of the 59 geographical regions tested, which accounts for 95% of the world’s populace, providing conclusive proof that EVs are better for the environment in terms of carbon emissions.
All about the electricity production
The research, which was published in the scientific journal Nature last month, was conducted jointly by scientists from the universities of Cambridge, Exeter and Nijmegen in England and the Netherlands, respectively. After assessing the entire life cycle of an EV – from its manufacture to the generation of the electricity which powers it and its performance on the road – and comparing that figure to a standard petrol car, the authors found that EVs produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles almost everywhere on Earth.
The only places where the EVs were responsible for more carbon emissions were in countries whose electrical grid depended heavily on more damaging sources of pollution, such as Poland’s ongoing over-reliance on coal. On the other hand, the most environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation in places like Sweden and France (which rely on renewables and nuclear, respectively) saw gains of up to 70% in comparison to traditional petrol cars.
Debunking the myth
Since the carbon footprint of an EV depends not just on its tailpipe emissions, but also on the way in which its electricity is generated, the efficiency of that process and the efficiency of the vehicle in question, some detractors have questioned whether they really are effective at reducing CO2 emissions at all. “The idea that electric vehicles or heat pumps could increase emissions is essentially a myth,” explained Florian Knobloch, lead author on the study. “We’ve seen a lot of disinformation going around. Here is a definitive study that can dispel those myths.”
Indeed, a full rollout of environmentally friendly refrigeration techniques, such as the use of heat pumps, is also key to bringing down overall CO2 emissions. Heat pumps combine electricity with heat exchange systems to reduce the overall consumption of energy and thereby reduce emissions. If they were adopted in homes and businesses worldwide, they could bring CO2 emissions down by as much as 800 megatons every year by 2050.
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