How clean are electric cars?

How much CO2 can electric cars really save compared to diesel and petrol cars?

To answer this question we have developed a tool (see below) that compiles all the most up-to-date data on CO2 emissions linked to the use of an electric, diesel or petrol car.

 

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.

We find out that electric cars in Europe emit, on average, almost 3 times less CO2 than equivalent petrol/diesel cars.

In the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland still emits 22% less CO2 than diesel and 28% less than petrol. And in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80% less CO2 than diesel and 81% less than petrol.

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.

This tool will be updated as new data is available. For more information about the way we selected and compiled data, please read our briefing and FAQ at the bottom of this page.