No. Answering the question posed in the title, “Do electric vehicles pollute as much as gas-powered cars?” unequivocal. As electric vehicles have gained consumer interest and market share over the past decade, some studies have emerged to refute the claims that electric vehicles are better for the environment. The counterargument went that something like, “Electric vehicles pollute because the energy needed to manufacture the always-important battery—plus the emissions from electricity generation—make electric vehicles pollute worse than gas-powered cars.”
A new study from the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT) proves that all the negative hype is nothing more than nonsense.
“The results show that even for cars registered today, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have by far the lowest life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.”
The findings have significant implications for policymakers who seek to substantially decarbonize road transport by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global road transport in 2050 should be significantly lower than current levels. That’s clear. Light vehicles, the vast majority of which are passenger cars, are responsible for the largest share of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, which currently stand at about 5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
What is also clear is that only full battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles have the potential to be very low greenhouse gas pathways. It turns out that emissions from manufacturing batteries, solar panels and wind turbines are very small when compared to the greenhouse gas savings from the increased efficiency and cleaner power supply of electric vehicles compared to conventional vehicles.
Electric vehicles pollute much less than their older counterparts. In addition, battery electric vehicles with progressively lower emissions are expected to operate upstream over their lives as electricity grids become green and the relative benefit of driving electric vehicles compared to gasoline, diesel, and natural gas vehicles grows over time.
Study the amount of pollution caused by electric vehicles المركبات
The ICCT study, “Global Lifecycle Comparison of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Combustion Engine and Electric Passenger Vehicles,” took into account the most relevant types of powertrains –
- Internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs);
- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs);
- battery electric vehicles (BEVs); And,
- Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs).
It also reviewed a variety of fuels and energy sources, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, biofuels, e-fuels, hydrogen, and electricity.
Since the average useful life of a passenger car ranges from 15 to 18 years (for trucks and buses, often longer), decarbonization policies would be more impactful if they reflected the transition of passenger cars to all-electric vehicles for new sales by the early 2030s. It is essential to achieve deep decarbonization of the transport sector by 2050.
Importantly, the study also found that natural gas does not offer climate benefits compared to gasoline and diesel, and many biofuel pathways do not either. It is unlikely that there will be an adequate supply of ultra-low-greenhouse gas biofuels, biogas, and e-fuels to decarbonize internal combustion engine vehicles, and drivers of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles rely too much on the gasoline engine for this pathway to be a long-term climate solution.
The carbon intensity of the electricity consumed by charging BEVs and PHEVs depends on the average life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of different electric energy sources, their expected mixture over the life of the vehicles, and transmission and distribution losses in the electric grid Also note that for renewables such as wind and solar , life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are considered. In other words, emissions corresponding to their construction and maintenance.
Distinguished metrics for the massive superiority of electric vehiclesمركب
The study analyzed 4 different dimensions to reach its conclusions that electric cars pollute much less than gas cars.
- It took into account the average lifetime carbon intensity of the fuel-electricity mix, including biofuels and biogas. Based on stated policies, it takes into account changes in carbon intensity over the useful life of vehicles.
- View fuel and electricity consumption in average real-world usage rather than just relying on official test values. This is particularly important for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from PHEVs.
- Recent data on battery production on an industrial scale were used and regional battery supply chains were considered. This results in significantly lower emissions from battery production compared to previous studies.
- The near-term global warming potential has been included for methane leak emissions from natural gas and natural gas-derived hydrogen pathways. Unlike other greenhouse gases, methane contributes several times to global warming in the first 20 years after emission which is reflected in the 100-year global warming potential.
Here are the results.
Only hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles have the potential to achieve the scale of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The evaluation found that life-cycle emissions over the life of electric vehicles recorded today in Europe, the United States, China and India are already 66%-69% lower than gasoline-powered vehicles in Europe, and 60%-68% in the United States. States, 37%-45% in China, 19%-34%
For midsize cars expected to be registered in 2030, as the electricity mix continues to decarbonize, the life-cycle emissions gap between electric and gasoline vehicles increases to 74%-77% in Europe, and 62%-76% in the United States , 48%-64% in China, and 30%-56% in India.
There is no realistic path to removing carbon from combustion engine vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines by recovering braking energy and storing it in a battery that can then be used to support the electric motor’s propulsion. In this study, HEVs were found to reduce the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions by only 20% compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.
This study also analyzed the development of the average mix of biofuels and biogas in fossil diesel, gasoline and natural gas based on current policies and projected supplies. Across the four regions and all fuels, the impact of future changes to the biofuel mix driven by current policies ranges from minimal impact to reducing the life cycle of GHG emissions from gasoline, diesel or natural gas vehicles by a maximum of 9%, even over the lifespan of cars registered in 2030 .
Due to a number of factors, including competing demand from other sectors and the high cost of production, it is not feasible to provide enough low-carbon biofuels such as tailings, waste-based biodiesel, ethanol or biomethane to significantly displace fossil fuels during the combustion automobile engine.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from light vehicles, many governments are now taking two complementary approaches:
- Aims to reduce the fuel consumption of new vehicles by setting average fleet CO2 emissions or fuel efficiency standards, and by offering incentives for vehicles with electric motors; And,
- They support decarbonization of the power grid and stimulate the production of renewable and low-carbon fuels.
Due to ongoing efforts to decarbonize power grids, BEV is assumed to consume a less carbon-intensive blend of electricity with each passing year of its life. It’s time to support communities switching to electric transmission modes with our personal, regional and professional capabilities.