Hike #4 - Pre-hike Reading

Hike #4 - Pre-hike Reading

Author: Yoann Le Petit, Clean Vehicles and eMobility Officer, Transport & Environment

Title: Electric cars emit less CO2 over their lifetime than diesels even when powered with dirtiest electricity

Date: 10/26/2017

Sustainability Discipline: Transportation

Background: In my second semester of Environmental Science at Skyline College, I enrolled in Geology 105 as an honor student, which meant I had to write 3 papers more than others. My second was titled "The Climate Change Impact of State of California Zero Emission Vehicle Legislation." 

My premise was that Jerry Brown's state Executive Order B-16-2012 , targeting 1.5 million ZEVs on CA roads by 2025, would benefit global climate change. But what if the lifecycle of an EV, from lithium extraction to recycling, was no better than internal combustion engine cars. This paper absolved my concern.


Even in countries with the highest GHG intensity of electricity generation – Poland and Germany – the EV performs better on a lifecycle basis (including the emissions in manufacturing the battery and vehicle) than the diesel car. Using the Polish average, an electric vehicle emits 25% less CO2 over its lifetime, while in Sweden an EV emits 85% less. Meanwhile, EVs’ sustainability will improve further with battery technology advances and as more batteries are re-used for electricity storage or recycled.

Yoann Le Petit, clean Vehicles and emobility officer at T&E, said: “Today an electric vehicle driving on Polish electricity – the most carbon intensive in the EU – still has a lower impact on the climate than a new diesel car. With the rapid decarbonisation of the EU electricity mix, on average electric vehicles will emit less than half the CO2 emissions of a diesel car by 2030 including the manufacturing emissions.”

Navigate to the full article HERE (new window)

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