For those that follow the electrical vehicle sector closely, it’s been clear for several years that electric cars are far, far cleaner and greener than gasoline and diesel cars. In fact, that was a top reason the earliest electric vehicle (EV) buyers bought EVs. Oddly, though, there has been an attempt for several years to border that public knowledge as a myth and to say that, “oh, no, electric vehicles are literally dirty.” I feel these stories and claims come from two sorts of sources: 1) companies and other people who are financially threatened by EVs and are aware that the claims EVs are dirty are misleading if not massively twisted, 2) people that haven’t looked too deeply into it and simply latch onto “gotcha! you aren’t as smart as you think” narratives, and who just have a tough time putting things fully context with appropriate weighting.
All of that’s just an intro into the “dog bites man” news: another study has found that electric vehicles are much cleaner and greener than gas and diesel vehicles.
“Ricardo experts in sustainable transport — alongside specialists from E4tech and therefore the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg (if) — have delivered an innovative and comprehensive lifecycle assessment of road vehicles on behalf of the ecu Commission,” the Ricardo team writes.
“Our assessment has shown that over their entire life-cycle within the EU, new electric vehicles are expected to possess significantly lower impacts on the climate compared to standard combustion-engined vehicles,” commented Nikolas Hill, project manager and knowledge leader in transport technology and fuels in Ricardo’s sustainable transport team.
If you probe many of those studies, you’ll find missing factors or odd assumptions. for instance, it’s been common to assume batteries are utilized in one vehicle then thrown away, whereas it’s far more likely that 90–95% (or even more) of the materials in EV batteries are going to be recycled and reused in time.
The Ricardo team thinks that this new “total lifecycle analysis” is “the broadest and most comprehensive study of its kind so far .”
Aside from cars, the report explores vans, lorries, buses and coaches. It explores 65 different vehicle types and powertrain combinations.
“It considers the assembly of 60 fuel chains for conventional and alternative fuels also as 14 different sorts of electricity generation, the impacts of auto (and battery) manufacturing, and vehicle use and maintenance including different ‘end of life’ scenarios. additionally to greenhouse emission emissions, the report also assesses variety of other environmental impact categories, starting from resource use, including cumulative energy consumption, mineral and metal resource depletion and water scarcity, to airborne pollutant emissions (like particulates and nitrogen oxides), and human- and eco-toxicity.”
Part of the message and purpose of the report is to push for “a more circular economy.” It also highlights the necessity to assist develop “a sustainable value chain for hybrid and fully electric vehicles and their batteries” so as to assist bring emissions down even further and improve resource efficiency.
And, yes, it dives into battery reuse and recycling, including policy initiatives that might support them.
“This has been a particularly important and impressive project in terms of its scope and scale,” says Nikolas Hill, project manager and knowledge leader in transport technology and fuels in Ricardo’s sustainable transport team, “and we’ve used a variety of strong and novel methodologies and datasets to expand understanding during this area. The study has also helped provide clarity on the relative importance of a good range of key assumptions affecting the environmental benefits of electric vehicles. We’re very pleased with the research, analysis and methodology we’ve developed for this report, which can help European policymakers to raised understand and subsequently reduce the impacts of transport on the environment and health.”
The full report are often obtained from the ecu Commission or Ricardo. DG Climate Action. There’s also a special “Vehicle LCA Results Viewer” available via the ecu Commission site (link above). This results viewer allows you to “explore the entire set of results for electricity production, fuels production and therefore the overall vehicle LCA.”
Will this report finally put an end to nonsensical headlines like “Electric vehicles might not be as green as you think that,” and can it halt the related anti-EV myths that spread across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and other social media sites? in fact not. Ignorance is far more resilient and virulent than we wish to dream. But a minimum of you now have another study to refute the false claims, and this one could also be the foremost comprehensive of all.