There are two major reason why people want electric cars. To achieve energy independence, to help the environment, or both.
While the first benefit can’t be disputed, a newly publicized study suggests that electric car use may actually be worse for the environment.
The study was performed by the group Transport Watch and found that diesel cars produce half as much CO2 as electric cars when the fossil fuel required to make the electricity is taken into account.
The study concludes “We conclude that the notion that electric cars will reduce emissions is a fiction.”
The study also took into account electrical energy leaked lost between the powerplant and the point where the vehicle would be charged. This leakage was estimated to be an astounding 76%. Diesels on the other hand achieve a 45% efficiency.
The research was done in the UK where only 20% of electricity is generated by renewable energy. It was estimated that in China, for example, where most electricity comes from coal, a change from diesel to electric vehicles would double CO2 emissions.
The research implies that burning fuel within the vehicle produces less emissions than creating electricity and sending it down the grid.
A conclusion drawn from this research by Philip Gomm, of the RAC Foundation is; “Electric vehicles are not a panacea. They are good for generating headlines but not necessarily at saving the planet, at least not in the short term. For today and tomorrow, a lot more attention needs to be paid to refining existing petrol and diesel technology, and making cars smaller and lighter as a way of saving fuel – something recognized by the Committee on Climate Change. These are proven solutions to an immediate problem.”
You can check out the details of the study here and draw your own conclusions.
This entry was posted on Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at 6:44 am and is filed under Climate, Environment, Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.