Comparing “eco-certificates” for electric and gasoline vehicles is not as simple as calculating carbon emissions from exhaust pipes,media New Atlas reported. The new study claims to have addressed the debate once and for all by taking into account all factors, including the production and charging of electric vehicles, and found that 95 per cent of the world’s regions are more climate-friendly.
While there is no argument that electric cars actually reduce pollution when they are on the road, some argue that the carbon dioxide produced in the manufacture of electric vehicles and in charging them actually exceeds the carbon dioxide produced by internal combustion engines. The idea is that while renewable energy can play a role in the energy mix, owners of electric vehicles still need to rely heavily on coal- and gas-fired power plants to keep their cars charging and running.
The new study, carried out by scientists at the University of Exeter, the University of Cambridge and the University of Nemegen in the Netherlands, found that, despite the exceptions, electric cars are generally more climate-friendly in most places.
To arrive at these conclusions, the team divided the world into 59 regions to classify different power generation and technology methods, taking into account current and future emissions from different types of vehicles, production chain emissions and waste disposal. According to the analysis, in 53 regions of these regions, the overall emissions of electric vehicles are lower than that of gasoline-powered vehicles.
This includes most European countries and countries with high population densities, such as the United States and China. The researchers calculated that in Sweden and France, the average life-long life of electric vehicles is 70 per cent lower than that of ICE-powered cars, where renewables and nuclear power account for the bulk of energy supply and 30 per cent lower in the UK. They found exceptions in places like Poland, where coal is burned to produce most of the country’s electricity.
As part of their study, the scientists also compared electric-powered household heat pumps with fossil fuel-driven heating systems, finding that in 95 percent of the world, they also produce lower carbon emissions. The team calculates that if they are adopted worldwide, they could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 800 million tons a year by 2050.
“Given the emissions from the manufacture and continued use of energy, it is clear that we should encourage the switch to electric vehicles and household heat pumps,” said lead author Dr Florian Nobloch of the University of Nemegen. “
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.