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electric cars carbon footprint.

  • 01-03-2022 11:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,534 ✭✭✭


    This is an interesting report from Volvo. It compares their own ICE xc40 versus c40 electric.

    Summary on page 6 is pertinent.

    It appears that the manufacturing of an electric car has a much higher carbon footprint than equivalent ICE car.

    Break even is 110,000 km according to this report. Considering Volvo are heavily committed to electric they try to put a positive slant on the results but I would have thought the results would have been better for the electric.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,107 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Can't follow the link, doesn't seem to work

    There's been similar reports in the past that fell flat on two major fronts

    1. They assume the battery production uses energy from high carbon sources like coal. This may be true for batteries made in China, but many EVs built in Europe use batteries manufactured in Europe where the grid is typically cleaner

    2. They consider the total carbon emissions of the electricity for the EV, but not of the fuel used for am ICE car. By this I mean the carbon emitted from the extraction, refinement and transport of petrol to your car. These are lower for electricity generated at a power station and practically zero for renewables

    As I said, the link didn't work so I couldn't read the report. So I don't know if they fell into the same trap, but typically all of the other reports that say the whole "EVs are worse than petrol cars" thing follow the same flawed logic

    Something to watch out for with these reports at any rate

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,107 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    It seems that boards magic new formatting doesn't do numbers very well, so the post above is as good as I can get it 🙄

    You'll just have to fill in your own thoughts for bullet number 2

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,534 ✭✭✭carsfan2

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,107 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Thanks for the uploading

    So I noticed a couple of things, one is that the 110,000km quoted is based on the global energy mix, when the typical EU energy mix is considered the break even is 77,000km and using wind energy alone it's 49,000km.

    That last figure should be quite achievable if the car is charged at night when wind energy tends to be abundant

    They also seemed to fudge the numbers slightly when considering the material production. For example they seem to assume that the oil refining and transport uses the EU energy mix, which seems slightly unrealistic

    One last thing I don't like is how they ignored the possibility of second life of batteries and how much co2 this could avoid through increasing use of renewables. It's a difficult thing to pin down I guess, but even an estimation would be good

    Overall I think the report is pretty good at demonstrating that EVs do emit much lower greenhouse gases than the equivalent ICE car. But the energy mix used in the manufacturing and use of the car has a big effect

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,764 ✭✭✭Dakota Dan

    Electric cars are nothing but a cop out, the plan is to end private car ownership using the climate farce.

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,866 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    There's a number of generic comments in play here, zero pipe emissions is important, having emissions at assembly/power generation is better than tail pipe emissions on our streets right next to pedestrians. So this alone is a human health benefit.

    More and more of us are installing PV systems capable of "fueling" our car at home, I got 1,508kms last year on self generation and hope for a lot more this year.

    Others can contribute other thoughts in addition to those quick ones

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,760 ✭✭✭Effects

    Yeah, it's all about the NWO getting us all onto busses! Wake up sheeple!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,764 ✭✭✭Dakota Dan

    Best of luck using solar to charge your car in Ireland during winter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,760 ✭✭✭Effects

    I got 4.4 kwhr from my solar yesterday, how far would that get me?

    Only 1.3 the day before though 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,764 ✭✭✭Dakota Dan

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,866 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    I won't be, but I've a target of getting to 4000kms this year with restructuring my job to hybrid working and expanding my PV system.

    During Winter I have little chance to charge the car, I will instead power the house and heat my water.

    I'll charge my EV at night when the majority of electricity is via Renewable sources.

    Am I off grid in terms of power for house and EV, no, but I'm making efforts rather than just "accepting"

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,760 ✭✭✭Effects

    That would probably do me fine, for the amount I use the car these days.

    I've got 6 panels at the moment, but plan to increase that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,125 ✭✭✭innrain

    Thing is the report it is not new and there were a lot of discussions about it here on boards.

    Nobody claims EVs are the perfect universal solution. We would have an impact to this planet even if we go back to beehive huts and eat only what we grow. But they are better than doing nothing. As @slave1 said, burning gas to produce electricity in a controlled manner is way more efficient and more clean than burning diesel to drive the same amount of kilometers. Abatement of particulates in power plants is more controlled than in Joe's TDI. Just google "DFP removal Ireland". All these particulates spewed in the air come back to us in form of health bills and lost relatives, as dramatic it may sound it is true. Then the electricity generation has the potential of becoming greener in time, while burning fossil fuels doesn't. The last events in Ukraine will accelerate this no doubt. This means that as the EV ages it also gets greener, while an ICE car gets less efficient and pollutes more. At last, even if there are needed 100k km to get even, it means that the next 200k km of the life time are emission free compared to an ICE. This is huge don't you think? Not everyone can afford a new EV. I accept that. But those 306 new owners of diesel 5Series would. However, the lack of information and initiative from our elected ones hurt the progress.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,797 ✭✭✭Old diesel

    You still have access to normal grid with solar panels.

    So your car will still be able to charge happy out.

    The point is that on a wider level being able to use some solar at your home during the year.

    Will help decrease the carbon footprint of the electricity your EV uses.

    Its also possible to use solar at public charging sites in future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,534 ✭✭✭carsfan2

    I only heard about the study while listening to a podcast where the contributors were wondering if governments are leading us down the path of electric cars in a similar way to when we were all encouraged/ incentivised to ditch petrol and go diesel by government policy.

    We all know now that turned out to be bad policy. Will electric cars be the same ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,797 ✭✭✭Old diesel

    Also what solar needs is daylight.

    Yes sunlight maximises solar panels electricity production - but I understand that solar can still produce some electricity even if overcast.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 7,888 Mod ✭✭✭✭liamog

    The report posted by yourself shows that it doesn't. Zero emissions at the point of use, and break even for that particular car well within the expected mileage of a car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 745 ✭✭✭Dayor Knight

    Zero emissions includes zero Nox particles generated in the cities we drive in. Better air quality, less illness over time.

    There's always some negative somewhere but this aspect is huge for me. It's the air we breathe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,456 ✭✭✭✭ted1

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,253 ✭✭✭jusmeig

    The petrochemical industry is a huge consumer of electricity, and thus a huge polluter.

    The plants that make products based on oil tend to have a powerplant attached to them, powered by oil.

    So making the fuel for cars requires a huge amount of polluting power, to make a product that pollutes.

    This industry is also operating under huge fossil fuel subsidies -> "Fossil fuel subsidies were estimated at €2.4 billion in 2019" -> CSO

    I never see all of the above broken down and articulated in these reports when they calculate a break even price.

    An EV will get consistently greener as the grid improves, but an ICE car will not.

    I +1 @Dayor Knight . Id like to see a report that says "Diesel fumes proven to increase life expectancy by 10 years"

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,965 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Hopefully. Planning a growing population around everyone owning a car is total insanity whatever way you look at it. Electric or not, we can't keep building societies around private cars.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,764 ✭✭✭Dakota Dan

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,107 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    I do agree, but I think in the time we have left then swapping out current cars to electric is much more realistic. For the future, we need to plan around more walkable cities, better public transport and cycling infrastructure so there's real alternatvies to car ownership

    There also needs to be consideration of the fact that Ireland has a largely spread out population by global standards, and with current housing prices plus the fact that local councils are incentivised to allow more expensive and spread out developments, I don't think that's something which will be solved in the next 10 years

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost