Electric vehicles indeed better for the environment, new study proves

For years, there have been arguments whether electric cars are really ‘greener’ when you consider the electricity generated for charging them comes from non renewable sources, but now, a definitive study by researchers from the Radboud University in the Netherlands suggests that they are better for the earth than petrol or diesel vehicles.

The research paper published in the journal Nature Sustainability states that in 95 per cent of the world, an electric car is better than a ICE version. Places like Poland are an exception as the electricity generation is mostly based on coal. In countries like France and Sweden the lifetime emissions from electric cars (electricity needed to charge them) are up to 70 per cent lower than petrol powered cars, as most of the electricity is generated from renewable and nuclear sources. In the UK, the number is at 30 per cent.

Mahindra eKUV100 side view 1 - Auto Expo 2020
Researchers found that emissions are 70% lower in EVs as compared to conventional cars in countries where electricity is produced by nuclear reactors and renewable sources.

These numbers will improve as the world shifts towards cleaner energy sources thus making EVs more attractive. According to the study, every second car in the streets of the world could be electric by the year 2050, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions globally by up to 1.5 giga tonnes per year.

Dr Florian Knobloch, the study’s lead author, said that the numbers from all around the world prove that the idea of electric vehicles increasing emissions is a complete myth and that even in the worst-case scenarios there’s a reduction in emissions that is observed.

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The study says that every second vehicle in the world could be an EV by 2050. Companies like Volkswagen and Tesla with dedicated electric vehicle architectures that are cheaper than comparable gas-powered cars are going to drive mass adoption this decade.

The research also studied household electric heat pumps and found that they produce lower emissions when compared to fossil-fuel alternatives. After a life-cycle assessment, the researchers calculated the gas emissions of the greenhouse in not just cars and heating systems but also in the production chain and processing. In most of the regions (53 out of 59 regions in Europe, US and China), electric cars and heat pumps are less polluting than their fossil-fuel counterparts.