Electric vehicles emit less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than diesel engine cars – even when powered by the most carbon-intensive electricity, a new independent study has found. The study further says that EVs will emit even less as more renewable electricity enters the grid. The study was conducted by VUB university in Brussels for NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).
The study also asserts that even in countries with the highest GHG intensity of electricity generation 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.
Further research by T&E shows the availability of critical metals for batteries, such as cobalt and lithium, will not be constrained in the coming decades and won’t stop the EV transition, as some have argued. In the case of lithium, reserves could last for an estimated 185 years. T&E said the extraction of these materials should be certified against high standards to manage environmental and social impacts. However, in the long-term, innovation will help reduce the quantity of critical metals used in EVs.
The government around the world are waking up to the threat of climate change and are coming up with policies that promote clean fuel over traditional fuel. Several countries have made public that they will ban IC engine powered vehicles within next two decades. The list includes European countries like UK, France and Asian countries like India and China. In US states like California is also mulling on measures to promote electric vehicles and discourage traditional fuel cars. In Europe, EVs account for just 1.7% of new vehicles sold, so the European Commission is considering including a zero-emission vehicle sales quota in its proposal for the cars and vans CO2 regulation which is expected in early November.
It is expected that such studies will further create awareness among people, industry, and government regarding electric vehicles and will result in more efforts from all sides.