It is quite common to think that electric cars are as environmentally friendly as traditional cars with petrol or diesel engines because the production of the battery is very toxic and, moreover, when charging the battery burns the same non-renewable fuel. Does it burn the same non-renewable fuel? Let’s get this straight.
How much lower is the CO2 emission in electric cars compared to petrol or diesel cars?
To answer this question, Transport & Environment has developed a tool (available at the link below) that collects all the latest data on CO2 emissions associated with the use of an electric, diesel or petrol vehicle.
They have taken into account all possible criteria such as the amount of CO2 emitted by electricity generation or fuel combustion and the carbon footprint of extracting resources for batteries or building a power plant.
And they found that electric vehicles in Europe emit almost 3 times less CO2 than equivalent petrol/diesel vehicles on average.
In the worst case, a battery-operated electric vehicle manufactured in China and driven in Poland still emits 22% less CO2 than a diesel fuel and 28% less than petrol. At best, a battery-operated electric vehicle manufactured in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80 percent less CO2 than a diesel and 81 percent less than petrol.
We also see that by 2030, electric vehicles will have halved their CO2 emissions thanks to the EU’s growing reliance on renewable energy sources.
You can explore the study in more detail at https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/electric-cars/how-clean-are-electric-cars, studies are available for download in pdf with all data.