EDITOR’S COMMENT: the not-so-green-revolution…
Electric cars have to travel as far as 50,000 miles to match the carbon footprint of a petrol model because of the massive amount of energy consumed during the production process, according to research.
Making an electric car generates high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly because of its battery pack and other environmentally expensive materials, the research finds.
It reports that the manufacture of a Volvo Polestar 2 electric car accounts for 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). This compares with 14 tonnes from the production of a fossil fuel-powered Volvo XC40. The analysis says the gap is offset over the lifetime of the vehicle, reflecting the use of a battery over petrol or diesel, although motorists will have to drive the electric car for 48,500 miles before its carbon footprint is below that of a conventional vehicle. This distance dips to 31,000 miles when all of a car’s electricity comes from renewable sources.
The researchers recorded similar results for other cars, including Volkswagen’s e-Golf and its diesel equivalent.
The study, commissioned by vehicle and technology companies including Honda, McLaren, Aston Martin and Bosch, says there is no “silver bullet” to clean up the road transport system.
It says that focusing on a vehicle’s tailpipe emissions — the measure that is normally used to justify a shift from fossil fuel to electric — is too simplistic.
The report says “greater transparency” is needed from carmakers over vehicles’ total CO2 footprints. It suggests that cars need a system similar to an energy performance certificate, which applies to houses sold in Britain.