Opponents to electrified vehicles, such as the Audi A3 E-Tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, may object to their supposed environmental benefits, citing that they simply push emissions up the line to the power supplier.
For the most part, however, it all depends on where you charge. If the majority of power on your part of the grid is generated by coal-fired power plants, then you’d be better off staying with an efficient conventional vehicle. On the other hand, if your power is supplied by hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, or solar panels, then your electric vehicle emissions will be close to zero. Surely, if we had the choice, we would plug our electric vehicles into a renewable energy source and never look back.
Still, not everyone has the option to plug their electric vehicles into a solar panel, but what if you could at least get someone to offset your consumption from non-renewable sources with energy from renewable sources? Germany, for example, is already a world leader in renewable energy production, but there are still plenty of high-emissions power grid points where you can charge an electrified vehicle. German LichtBlick Energie, which translates as SkyLight Energy, sources about a third of its green energy from hydroelectric plants that are less than six years old, the most-efficient available.
Buyers of the Audi A3 E-Tron hybrid electric vehicle can fill up on green non-emission-generating renewable energy via subscription service with LichtBlick Energie. For about $12 per month, plus 37¢ / kWh, Audo A3 E-Tron drivers can ride around emissions-free, at least for the 31 miles of pure-electric range. Of course, owners would still be responsible for emissions generated by filling up the tank for the 1.4 ℓ turbocharged gasoline engine.