While electric cars have zero-tailpipe (or tank-to-wheel) emissions, there are upstream emissions from manufacturing the battery and from electricity generation. We have taken into account all possible criteria such as the amount of CO2 emitted when electricity is produced or fuel is burnt, as well as the carbon impact of resource extraction for batteries or of building a power plant to determine how electric cars compare to petrol cars.
Through analysing the lifecycle emissions of different vehicles, we have found out that electric cars in Europe emit, on average, more than 3 times less CO2 than equivalent petrol cars.
In the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland still emits 37% less CO2 than petrol. And in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 83% less than petrol.
We also see that electric cars bought in 2030 will reduce CO2 emissions four-fold thanks to an EU grid relying more and more on renewables.
Despite their green credentials, HEVs’ and PHEVs’ lifecycle emissions are much closer to polluting conventional petrol cars than to BEVs. The results show that HEVs only achieve a 21% reduction in LCA emissions compared to an equivalent petrol car while PHEV improvements are limited to 26%.
We have developed a tool that compiles all the most up-to-date data on CO2 emissions linked to the use of an electric, diesel or petrol car. Test it out to see how much can electric vehicles really save.
We also see that electric cars will reduce CO2 emissions four-fold by 2030 thanks to an EU grid relying more and more on renewables.
Battery cell manufacturing today is largely in China and South Korea but, as the market expands, so does production into Europe where the electricity is less carbon intensive.
Find out more about electric vehicle lifecycle and raw material availability in our report below.