While it may be true that not a lot can come close to the roar of a V8 engine, electric cars are here and, we’re sure you’ll begrudgingly agree they will be the future of automotive transportation. But for all the good they may do for the planet, one war has waged on for several years now, which suggests that the amount of energy expended to produce the carbon-neutral vehicles, creates more planet-damaging emissions that are never offset.
However, a recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter, UK and the University of Nijmegen, Netherlands, has called that very theory into question and has concluded that the ‘haters’ should be silenced, as electric cars can now categorically be deemed good for the planet.
Specifically, the study found that electric cars are better for the climate in 95 percent of the world. The not-quite-100-percent figure is due to countries such as Poland, which still creates most of its energy from fossil fuels such as coal.
For other countries, the study has found that emissions from electric cars can be up to 70 percent less than fuel-burning cars in countries such as France and Sweden, and up to 30 percent less in the UK. The figures for France and Sweden are particularly high due to the fact they obtain a lot of their energy from renewable resources.
The study itself looked at both the current and predicted future emissions from different types of vehicles around the world. Researchers divided the world into 59 regions, taking into account their power generation and technologies available. 53 of the regions – including Europe and the US – already show evidence that electric cars are less emission-intensive than their fossil fuel counterparts.
Dr Jean-Francois Mercure from the Global Systems Institute at Exeter Uni said, “The answer is clear: to reduce carbon emissions, we should choose electric cars and household heat pumps over fossil-fuel alternatives.”
Dr Florian Knobloch from the Environmental Science Department at the University of Nijmegen, and lead author of the study added:
“In other words, the idea that electric vehicles or electric heat pumps could increase emissions is essentially a myth,”
“Here is a definitive study that can dispel those myths. We have run the numbers for all around the world, looking at a whole range of cars and heating systems. Even in our worst-case scenario, there would be a reduction in emissions in almost all cases. This insight should be very useful for policy-makers.”
The researchers predict that by 2050, one in two cars on the road will be electrically powered. If true, CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 1.5 gigatons each year. To put that into perspective, Russia currently produces roughly the same amount on its own each year.
Dr Knobloch added, “Taking into account emissions from manufacturing and ongoing energy use, it’s clear that we should encourage the switch to electric cars and household heat pumps without any regrets.”