How Clean Is An Electric Car Road Trip? It Varies19
While electric cars don’t produce emissions themselves, numerous other factors contribute to their CO2 footprint. The manufacturing process has come under scrutiny for the amount of CO2 involved, and mining precious materials for lithium-ion batteries isn’t exactly Earth-friendly.
When it comes to driving an electric vehicle, say on a 1,000-mile road trip, is an EV actually cleaner? Bloomberg looked at how much CO2 is released in various forms of transportation and how they’re powered in a new report, and electric cars are cleaner no matter what.
The theoretical trip from New York to Daytona Beach, Florida, covering 1,000 miles, would consume 40 gallons of gasoline in a large sedan like the Chevrolet Impala. The internal-combustion engine will produce 350 kilograms of CO2 along the way. A Tesla Model S will need 286 pound coal to power its zero-emissions battery-electric powertrain, by comparison.
A coal power plant would still, however, produce less CO2 than the gasoline-fed Chevy. According to calculations, the fossil fuel would release 310 kilograms of CO2 to juice a Tesla Model S’ battery along the way. Other sources of energy are much cleaner, though. Although burning coal emits more harmful pollutants than gasoline, regenerative braking and an electric car’s efficiency recoups the added emissions.
A natural-gas power plant would produce 170 kilograms of CO2, while renewable energy sources (obviously) don’t produce any CO2. The best approach is to find charging stations powered by wind or solar energy. Though, that’s still difficult to come by.
Solar and wind power plants are still often subsidized with fossil fuel plants today as more facilities still require adequate storage to harness energy.
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This contradicts your articles a few week ago… you know, when everyone was quick to point out that mining Lithium isn’t Earth-friendly in its current state. The article that I commented and said ‘Ps. Brought to you by your friends at Exxon’
Like this one?
“Research in Nevada found impacts on fish as far as 150 miles downstream from a lithium processing operation”.
This is what is happening with just 4 tenths of 1% of the worlds global light vehicle population on the road today being a (plug-in) vehicle. Not to overlook the fact that almost every vehicle on the road is more then likely to have at least one cell phone on board. The size of that battery is very small in comparison.
I’ve asked before, what would the world look like today if we had been driving battery electric cars for the last 100+ years?
“I’ve asked before, what would the world look like today if we had been driving battery electric cars for the last 100+ years?”
I’d like to think that better battery chemistry would have been discovered and applied; batteries that have little to negligible environmental impact and were inflammable in a crash.
At the beginning of our industrial revolution our engineering and science technology were no where near what is capable today. Even with the help of powerful computers, software simulations and high tech labs battery progress is slow today.
Not to mention the environmental awareness and hence recycling that didn’t exist back then, which is what I refer to with the statement.
“and hence recycling that didn’t exist back then, which is what I refer to with the statement.”
Not necessarily. There was always a need to reuse something for something else, and reuse isn’t a new idea. I can easily see people constantly reusing old items for new purposes during the depression and at any time in history when resources were scare.
But yes, material recycling (like steel, aluminium, and plastics) is relatively new, and the reduction of material use can easily be tied into cost overheads that any business would want to lower.
Just what could a junk led acid battery be reused or re-purposed for back in the day and how many people would have known how to do it.
How many led acid batteries do you thing would have been dumped in backyards or landfills across the world before everyone took notice and at what cost.
Forgets to calculate power grid inefficicies. Figures from doomburg news. While it takes 286 pounds of coal to make the wattage, there is a 15% line loss from plant to house and a 20% charge loss from lithium battery charge cycle. A coal plant running at 70% efficient after line losses and charging losses gives 45% efficient from battery and eltric motors give 80-90% efficiency means that the overall efficiency is equal to an old fashioned motor. Ice engines are already there and about to get more efficient.
Also it’s been 30 years since coal plants emited sulpher. They have three stage filtration units including scrubbers. Most pollution goes into resale for chemical products.
There’s a ton of factors that weren’t taken into consideration in this story. For example how much energy and therefore CO2 was used in making the two types of vehicles.
Making the big battery used by the Tesla takes more energy than making an ICE.
How much CO2 was produced not only in generating electricity but also in extracting crude oil, refining to gas and transporting to the gas station.
How dirty is the electricity used. Coal fired generators are the worst, renewables including self generated solar and nukes are better, it all depends on where you live.
What is the life expectancy of the vehicle. EV propulsion is a lot simpler so they should last longer, but the jury’s out on battery life. The batteries on some EVs degrade pretty quickly, others like the Tesla are better. The question is not how well one type of vehicle does over 1,000 miles, but rather what is the life expectancy of one verses the other and how much CO2 will be generated over the differing platforms.
What happens at the end of life? How much of the vehicle has to be trashed, and how much can be recycled and how much CO2 is produced, or saved.
I’m sure there’s a bunch more factors that should have been considered, but the bottom line for me is stories like this are meaningless because they only scratch the surface. No conclusions could, or should be drawn from shallow stories like this.
if fund raising by pols was outlawed you would never hear about climate change. it is nothing but a way for them to raise campaign money for and aginst.
Are there any states remaining who use 100% coal power? Cant be many if any, and like it or not there will be fewer. So figures assuming an EV uses 100% coal power all the time are just silly. In the northwest i use none, ever.
Coal is cheeper and cleaner carbon wise than gas
It just has more regulations. Most of the fume is recaptured and just the small portion that is co2 is left. If we really cared bout numbers we would use coal and compression ignition ice engines
Live to learn.. a quick Google search says 80-percent of the electricity generated in the United States is from fossil fuel which means no matter how you rationalize it, driving an electric vehicle of any type will still mean greenhouse gas being produced which means even if the United States stayed with the Paris Climate Accord where all new vehicles sold had to be zero emissions by 2025 will still mean that a lot of greenhouse gas will be generated and this is something Europe needs to understand as well since they get nearly all of their electricity from petroleum (oil) and natural gas.
Some of us understand that the gray haze hanging over our cities is a bad thing. The only way to avoid it is with renewables or nuclear. So every step we take in that direction is a good one, and those who disagree probably have other motives.
That gray have is mostly dust combined with the humidity. Co2 is colorless. Anything that rolls and will pick up dust
where does all the rubber that wears off of the tires go ?? that would seem like a lot of air polution to me.
“where does all the rubber that wears off of the tires go ??”
Onto the gawddamn street, you idiot.
“that would seem like a lot of air polution to me.”
Not if it’s still on the ground. The street-sweeper will pick that up.
Have you ever used a rubber eraser? The rubber left behind on the page doesn’t float around you, and the smoke you see when you do a burnout is a bi-product of friction that literally burns the rubber tire. There’s millions of particulate rubber bits that you don’t see in the burnout. But those larger chunks don’t magically float away, they fall to the ground, as one would expect.
I guess you never stood next to a highway with vehicles going by a 70 MPH. the wind will blow you over.
They might blow you over if you’re a 85lb weakling.
That doesn’t excuse the fact that you think rubber particles from normal tire wear are lighter than air and will float away.