EVs pollute 30% less than ICEs over their lifetime, but only after 56,000 miles

Battery production burdens electric cars with an early ecological debt, but significantly reduces emissions over the course of their lifetime

    EVs pollute 30% less than ICEs over their lifetime, but only after 56,000 miles

A new independent study from Germany has found that over a lifetime of 124,274 miles (200,000 km), electric vehicles are significantly greener than their gas or diesel counterparts, despite starting with a larger environmental debt that leaves plenty of room for improvement .

Battery manufacturing is a dirty business, and that means EV manufacturing causes more pollution than the production of internal combustion vehicles. However, the study found that an EV currently needs 55,923 miles (90,000 km) to amortize that debt and become greener than an ICE vehicle.

“An accurate life cycle assessment of a car depends on many factors – the location of production, the energy mix in the production of vehicles and components, as well as the propulsion system used on the road and the energy consumed,” said Dr. Joachim Damasky, chairman of the German engineering association VDI Gesellschaft Fahrzeug. “EV a Hybrid vehicles start with an environmental burden through the production of resource-intensive drive technology in life cycle assessment, as battery production now takes place almost exclusively in Asia.

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    EVs pollute 30% less than ICEs over their lifetime, but only after 56,000 miles


However, over the course of their lifetime, electric cars become a cleaner choice. After 124,274 miles (200,000 km), an electric car produces 24.2 tons of CO2 emissions. By comparison, a diesel vehicle emits 33 tons, which is more than 36 percent more.

VDI analysis he was also positive about the environmental friendliness of hybrids. According to the organization, over the same period, a plug-in hybrid vehicle is expected to emit 24.8 tons of CO2, just 0.6 tons more than an EV.

While this makes electrified vehicles a better choice, it leaves a lot of room for improvement from an environmental perspective. For example, if an EV is powered by electricity from fossil fuels, it can take up to 99,419 miles (160,000 km) to become greener than an internal combustion vehicle.

“We have to look at the greenhouse gas emissions of production, duration and disposal in life cycle assessment,” Damasky said. “Therefore, we need more production of batteries made in Germany, better battery recycling and the rapid development of renewable energies.”

VDI has seven recommendations for the transport industry. First, it highlights the importance of a green energy grid. Second, the production of batteries for electric cars must be less harmful to the environment, and local production will help with this, as will recycling. He is also bullish on the use of e-fuels and supports the adoption of PHEVs. Finally, it recommends improving more train services for urban areas.

    EVs pollute 30% less than ICEs over their lifetime, but only after 56,000 miles