Study: Electric Cars Produce More Emissions Than Gas-Equivalents

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    Jun 15, 2011 6:34 PM GMT
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/electric-cars-may-not-be-so-green-after-all-says-british-study/story-e6frg8y6-1226073103576

    An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

    The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

    The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020.

    Britain's Department for Transport is spending $66 million over the next year giving up to 8,600 buyers of electric cars a grant of $7700 towards the purchase price. Ministers are considering extending the scheme.

    The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

    Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.
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    Jun 15, 2011 9:17 PM GMT
    That article misquotes the study. Electric cars produce more emissions during production, but they produce less emissions over the vehicle's entire lifespan.

    Here is a summary of the study by the foundation that did it:
    http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/news/1644/lowcvp-study-highlights-importance-of-measuring-whole-life-carbon-emissions/
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    Jun 15, 2011 11:16 PM GMT
    A poster that follows the article says this:

    "Nicolushka of Melbourne Posted at 4:35 PM June 10, 2011

    "Funny, the study by British advisory group LowCVP that I read, which was released on the 8th of June, stated pretty clearly that Electric vehicles produce up to five tonnes less carbon than your average medium sized petrol guzzler over their lifetimes. Also, that they produce 8.8 tonnes of carbon during their production to a petrol cars 5.6 tonnes, and not 12.6 as quoted here. I guess it's easy to misquote studies and manufacture numbers if you don't supply the source."
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    Jun 15, 2011 11:22 PM GMT
    Thank you LeanVA and Mickey
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    Jun 15, 2011 11:33 PM GMT
    I don't have enough information to make a clear accusation and would rather give Riddler the benefit of the doubt, but most of his threads have been, well, conspicuously misleading in their anti-liberalism/anti-environmentalism.

    It's almost like there's little empirical proof of the efficacy of libertarianism (his self-professed brand). What gives, Riddler? Are you a closet liberal, or--ulp--a spoiler?
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    Jun 15, 2011 11:39 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidConsider that over half the electricity produced in the USA is produced by coal-fired power plants.

    There is absolutely no way you can take all that generating capacity offline and replace it with a "cleaner" alternative for at least a decade or two.

    So in the meantime, electric cars used in the USA will have a much larger carbon footprint compared to other countries that generate their electricity via non-coal sources.


    Quite true. Enter renewables. This has been a short debate. Thank you for playing.
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    Jun 16, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    LeanVA saidThat article misquotes the study. Electric cars produce more emissions during production, but they produce less emissions over the vehicle's entire lifespan.

    Here is a summary of the study by the foundation that did it:
    http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/news/1644/lowcvp-study-highlights-importance-of-measuring-whole-life-carbon-emissions/


    Thanks - I didn't see the actual study. Where the study assumes that the emissions are less for electrics assumes that the life of the vehicle is 150,000 km or above whereas for for the article they note that the lifespan has to exceed 129,000 km (break even for emissions).
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    Jun 16, 2011 4:04 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidConsider that over half the electricity produced in the USA is produced by coal-fired power plants.

    There is absolutely no way you can take all that generating capacity offline and replace it with a "cleaner" alternative for at least a decade or two.

    So in the meantime, electric cars used in the USA will have a much larger carbon footprint compared to other countries that generate their electricity via non-coal sources.



    Everything that exits your mouth is negativity. You're a true RepubliCAN'T.
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    Jun 16, 2011 4:08 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidI don't have enough information to make a clear accusation and would rather give Riddler the benefit of the doubt, but most of his threads have been, well, conspicuously misleading in their anti-liberalism/anti-environmentalism.

    It's almost like there's little empirical proof of the efficacy of libertarianism (his self-professed brand). What gives, Riddler? Are you a closet liberal, or--ulp--a spoiler?


    Er - not quite sure what you're asking. There's increasingly less evidence for the efficacy of such cherished ideas like Keynesian economics or social policies and libertarian policies are increasingly responsible for poverty alleviation around the world.

    Further, I'm not so much anti-environmental - but rather for liberal policies that allow for more efficient allocation of resources rather than governments playing favorites and often corrupt policies that happen to help their corporate friends like GE and others.