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Transportation Earth Power Technology

Electric Cars Emit 50 Percent Less Greenhouse Gas Than Diesel, Study Finds (theguardian.com) 239

entirely_fluffy shares a report from The Guardian: Electric cars emit significantly less greenhouse gases over their lifetimes than diesel engines even when they are powered by the most carbon intensive energy, a new report has found. In Poland, which uses high volumes of coal, electric vehicles produced a quarter less emissions than diesels when put through a full lifecycle modeling study by Belgium's VUB University. CO2 reductions on Europe's cleanest grid in Sweden were a remarkable 85%, falling to around one half for countries such as the UK. The new study uses an EU estimate of Poland's emissions -- at 650gCO2/kWh -- which is significantly lower than calculations by the European commission's Joint Research Centre science wing last year. The VUB study says that while the supply of critical metals -- lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite -- and rare earths would have to be closely monitored and diversified, it should not constrain the clean transport transition. As battery technology improves and more renewables enter the electricity grid, emissions from battery production itself could be cut by 65%, the study found.
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Electric Cars Emit 50 Percent Less Greenhouse Gas Than Diesel, Study Finds

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  • ... Jeremy Clarkson isn't going to like this.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @10:47PM (#55434545)

    That study is a eco-warrier lie. Even cars burning coal direckly produce less Carbon Die Oxyde then cars burning soler pannels.

    Stop giving my money to soler greeny SJW warriers and you are not going to get my gasoline car until you Prius from my cold dead hans.

    Hail a Murka! We are Nummer One!!!

    • I'm just happy that after years of eating downvotes for pointing out that EVs are not zero emissions, someone finally gets it. "Ranking" cars by how much pollution comes out their tailpipe is stupid. What matters is the total emissions of the entire system which allows you to propel your car (be it gas, electric, horse-drawn, whatever). For ICE vehicles it's mostly in the fuel that's burned. Which means for biodiesel it's close to zero because it's a closed cycle (fuel -> CO2 -> plants -> fuel
  • So... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by clonehappy ( 655530 )

    Where's the link to the Guardian article? I want to read it...

    Also, let's compare keeping an old Japanese gasoline 4-cylinder for 25 years rather than some diesels. I'm on years 19 and 11 with mine, and neither show any signs of dying soon. And they get better mileage than most of the new models from both of their manufacturers.

    I suppose ending is better than mending though, good thing we crushed metric shit-tons of perfectly usable already manufactured (the carbon-cost to make them was already sunk) cars u

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      I'm not so sure if that really is better for the environment. Someone should do the maths.

  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @11:48PM (#55434739)
    The submitter should actually link the new paper here. The paper that is linked concludes that:

    The use of BEV in countries relying on big shares of nuclear or renewable electricity would contribute to reducing GHG emissions at the national level, while, in countries with a highly carbon-intense electricity mix, electric cars would not necessarily contribute to GHG emission reduction targets than relying on ICE vehicle fleets.

    It follows pretty obviously that as countries clean up their power grid, electric vehicles become a better idea. The data shown in this paper, though, does not indicate that electric vehicles are cleaner to use compared to diesel or gasoline cars in every EU country. The reference data from the linked paper is from 2013, but this "old" paper was only published three months ago, not last year. In three months, we now have updated data? That's great, and it makes sense that electricity is cleaner today than four years ago, but where is that new data? Are we talking about a newspaper article or another peer reviewed publication? This is a horrible summary.

    • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

      Actually, the Swedish power grid hasn't become that much cleaner, despite the build-out of more wind power, simply because we already had very few oil, gas or coal fired power plants.

    • ...and in the UK, you don't need to wait for whomever to do whatever, you can just buy green electricity. Not sure if other countries do this too, but here, you buy from an electricity company, they buy from generators of their choice. If your electricity company only buys from 'green' generators, then your consumption is 100% 'green'. Sure, the actual electrons you used up might have come from your local coal or nuke plant, but the same number of electrons came from green and got used up somewhere else. So

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @12:35AM (#55434831) Homepage Journal

    So I'm from The Netherlands and I've had the chance to drive a Renault Zoe now, for a couple of times. Its range is 400 km (250 mi). My commute is 66 km (41 mi) one-way. Parts of that, I can drive 130 km (81 mi) per hour, so I turn off "eco mode" and just set the cruise control to 136 km/h or so. So if you drive like that, the effective range in a modest Autumn is about 180 km, or much more if you stick to 100 km/h (60 mi/h). With this range, I have no range anxiety whatsoever. I just don't give a shit and drive. And it's very silent inside. Personally, I think it's magnificent.

    Can anyone comment on whether the Renault Zoe is available in the US? I guess you guys just get the Bolt, right?

    • Renault hasn't sold anything in the USA for decades.

      What I don't understand is why Nissan doesn't sell a re-badged version of the Zoe?

      • Well, I think they have their own plans. You can now order the Nissan Leaf with a 40 kWh capacity, and next year, they claim to have a 60 kWh for sale.

    • Can anyone comment on whether the Renault Zoe is available in the US? I guess you guys just get the Bolt, right?

      The Renault alliance has chosen to sell the Nissan Leaf in the USA and not the Renault Zoe, probably because the Zoe is a supermini and the Leaf is a compact, and Americans tend to be large.

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @12:48AM (#55434853)

    Fig 3 shows how GHG emissions from the use of EVs varies across the EU: while in Sweden the use of BEV would produce only 7–9 gCO2eq/km, in Latvia EVs emit 169–234 gCO2eq/km and the EU average is 65–89 gCO2eq/km (the first number of these intervals refer to the 14.5 kWh/100 km BEV while the second to the 20.0 kWh/100 km BEV). According to these figures, the use of BEV in countries relying on big shares of nuclear or renewable electricity would contribute to reducing GHG emissions at the national level, while, in countries with a highly carbon-intense electricity mix, electric cars would not necessarily contribute to GHG emission reduction targets than relying on ICE vehicle fleets.

    tl;dr the paper itself says if your country has clean energy then electric vehicles are cleaner than diesels, whereas if you have dirty energy, like much of the USA or worse, India, electric vehicles are a wash.
    Id add that looking at fig3 it also looks like the worst countries would benefit more CO2 wise from hybrids than electrics at least in the short term till the power isn't so dirty.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @06:15AM (#55435569)

      >if you have dirty energy, like much of the USA or worse, India, electric vehicles are a wash.

      At break-even, it's still worth switching... because it means as you clean up your power generation (presumably starting as soon as you install a government that isn't made up of global climate change deniers) you don't have to wait to phase out your gas-powered vehicles before you see a benefit.

      • Yes, switch to a hybrid if CO2 is your thing. Grids change on the order of decades, waiting it out is too slow. Switching to a solution like electric when there are better options for the grid energy, like a hybrid, dosent make sense.
    • When 60mpg from a hybrid is not hard to do, it's easy to see the pollution math. ICE engines do their worse at low rpm's. This is when the electric motors kick in the most. This is also the reason why China is building Thorium reactors like crazy. Not much nuclear waste - Short half-life - Can be shut down instantly. Also Number one in the world at building gigawatts of power with solar cells. They now say their goal is to keep the country clean and be one with nature. (After the backlash of the angry popul
      • China is building exactly one Thorium research reactor.
        There is no single working Thorium reactor on the world.

        3 mistakes in one sentence:
        Not much nuclear waste Same as other reactors.
        - Short half-life - Which is not exactly a benefit as it means it is highly radioactive in the beginning (and I doubt you are right anyway :D ).
        Can be shut down instantly. No, it can't be shut down at all. The whole point about Thorium reactors is that they are running a supposedly safe reaction without interference. There a

    • electric vehicles are a wash

      A wash for carbon emissions. On the other hand moving pollution away from the population centre has untold benefits even if the emissions would be worse.

    • by lazarus ( 2879 )

      According to the US Department of Energy, using national averages in the USA for power production shows well-to-wheel emissions about 50% less for EVs than gasoline ICE vehicles [energy.gov]. Your assertion of it being a wash in the US is completely false. In fact, I could not find a state who's electricity production was so bad that driving an ICE vehicle would be better than an EV.

      This is called economies of scale. Large-scale power-producing "factories" are much more efficient than everyone having their own small

  • We know how to close the carbon cycle. CO2 dissolves from the air into any water exposed to the atmosphere and we know how to get it out very efficiently. Byproducts of this process on seawater is oxygen, hydrogen, and desalinated water. Take the carbon dioxide and hydrogen, run it through a process we've known about for 100 years now, and we get hydrocarbon fuels. The fuel produced not only closes the carbon cycle on transportation fuels (jet fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel) but has none of the sulfur and

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      I think you're missing the point.

      Culling carbon, or combating its effects, is really easy. Locally.

      However, to put enough energy into the hydrocarbons from all the hydrogen and carbon floating around in various forms takes AT LEAST as much energy as you hope to get back out by burning them. It's simple physics.

      So to do this for this year, you would need to find enough energy to run every car on the planet, etc. for one year. And then - assuming conversion losses are absolutely zero - you could make enoug

      • by crow ( 16139 )

        In simple words, the process of pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and producing new fuel uses far more electricity than an electric car, so it will never be economically viable.

        The same with hydrogen cars.

        Instead of using electricity to produce fuel, use electricity as fuel.

      • However... losses are never zero. And that's a FUCKTON of energy. Which you'll find... where? Literally not available at the moment on the electrical networks we have, and to do so would require a massive ramping up of nuclear, coal or oil.

        Did you watch the video? Yes, it'd take energy. The process can be driven by any source of electricity. If we think that electric cars are the solution to our transportation needs then we have enough electricity to drive this fuel synthesis process. If we think that we cannot get enough electricity from sun and wind to light our houses and propel our cars then we need nuclear. The great thing about nuclear is that it is a source of high temperature heat, and this heat makes the fuel synthesis more effi

  • Am I the only one that find that comparing the GHG impact of the car and everything around it (the source of it's fuel/power production, the manufacturing process etc.) isn't giving us the real picture?

    Yeah I understand, we can't ignore that electricity isn't always green. But the feeling I get from a study like this is almost like EV are responsible for the GHG impact of the electricity production. Hey, Tesla model S isn't so green when it's powered by a coal plant!

    First, the choice of a car is a consumer

    • It doesn't even matter if that number came out to 100%, there is always some idiot waiting to defend coal and diesel and make up some bullshit rationale for it.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      the choice of a car is a consumer one while the electricity production is (usually) government responsibility.

      In a republic or constitutional monarchy, consumers elect their government.

  • Is not saying much - The few they have that work pretty well when new and well kept are rare, (The injectors are the weakest point). But drive behind an old one that smokes like a chimney or accelerates hard. . Ulgh! Diesel stresses the brain, scroll down a bit and see: https://www.sciencedaily.com/r... [sciencedaily.com] Diesel is bad, for lungs(carcinogenic): polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), adhere easily to the surface of the carbon particles and are carried deep into the lungs. http://www.jabfm.org/content/2... [jabfm.org] I'
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Diesel stresses the brain

      "The researchers found that after about 30 minutes the diesel exhaust began to affect brain activity. The EEG data suggested that the brain displayed a stress response"

      They left out the part about having the subject exposed to years of anti-diesel press releases prior to conducting this test.

      "We believe our findings are due to..."

      I stopped reading right here. Where the science stopped.

      Volkswagen made the proper tradeoff between NOx and particulates. And they got shit on.

  • What about the 10 times the amount of so called emissions, pollution required to BUILD them, not to mention the toxic disposal of the battery?
  • Electric Cars don't "emit" any greenhouse gases. That's why there's no tailpipe. However, their powersources may emit carbon and that is extremely variable per vehicle, not just per region.

    For context: https://www.epa.gov/energy/egr... [epa.gov]

    That map divides the nation up into various regions as determined by their emissions profile for electricity generation. But the profile isn't uniform throughout the region. While I live in CAMX where it's estimated that each MWh is responsible for X metric tons of car
  • Take one country that ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of green energy production. Replace all diesels with electric. Allow the system to run for 20-30 years and then evaluate the consequences. How many of the original vehicles will still be on the road? How often do their battery packs need to be replaced and at what cost in terms of both cost to the user and environmental costs of producing new packs and disposing of the old ones? (Yes, the Old Ones, the ones who made us). How often does the

  • What greenhouse gasses do electric vehicles "emit", exactly? I understand that they have a greenhouse gas footprint, particularly owing to their manufacture, but afaik, the vehicles themselves are actually emissionless.

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