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Carbon Emissions Associated with Electric Cars Lower Than Ever, Study Says


Electric vehicles have often been compared to their gas counterparts, just because the energy they consume is produced by burning non-renewable resources. But that is of course changing with the wider adoption of electric cars and the lower price of renewables.

A study  made by Imperial College London now unveils that the emissions associated with EV use fell by 10 percent in 2016, and are 33% lower than in 2012.

Emissions of the Tesla Model S, for example, fell from 124g/km of CO2 in 2012 to 74 g/km in 2016, and is now at 41 g/km. It will probably go a bit higher than 41 in winter months, but the slope is on the right way. And this is only in the UK.

This phenomenon happens as the government shut down coal power plants and moved to natural gas and biomass, as well as solar/wind. The study also says this figure can be sustained for up to another two years, after which it will become increasingly harder to reduce the emissions.

“It’s very important that the public knows the decrease of carbon emissions by electric vehicle energy demand, because any time you have a story about EVs or the recent example of the Government banning petrol and diesel by 2040, there are people saying the electricity isn’t clean so EVs aren’t that green,” said Iain Staffell, the researcher behind the study.

“It’s useful that we have conclusively shown that it doesn’t matter if you’re charging in summer or winter, size of car doesn’t matter, it’s better than the best petrol hybrid can do. The people who are wanting to do the right thing by the environment will be pleased to know that we’ve cleaned up the power sector,” he added.

Staffell also said that as electricity demands dropped by some 15% in the last ten years, more grid capacity has been thus freed up for electric vehicles. The electric grid could therefore charge “many millions of EVs” before demand would go up to the levels we had in 2005.

But this is not to tell us governments shouldn’t upgrade their power grids. By 2025, around 30% of new car sales are estimated to be electric in Europe.

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  1. I think there is a strong argument for letting EV owners claim that all of their electrical charging supply is from the renewable portion of the grid, no matter where they live. Their EVs complete “The Green Loop”, and the impact of their commitment to EVs is global.


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