ELECTRIC cars likely produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than gas equivalents

Try driving 129,000km without replacing your electric car's batteries. Great, electric cars make us poorer and pollute the environment.

An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020. . . .

It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed. . . .



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem lies in wedding electric cars to battery power. The solution lies in divorcing electric cars from sole reliance on battery power. This could be achieved with "dual-mode" vehicles that are designed to be "street legal" but also can access (run on) an electric rail grid, which recharges the onboard battery that's needed when navigating surface (non-grid) streets. The technology has been under private development in Europe for 20 years. Adopting dual-mode transport would not only solve our energy problem, it would create a new high-tech industry where none currently exists.

6/14/2011 8:27 AM  

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