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Carbon Emissions: Report suggests 13,500 miles for EV break-even point with ICE cars.

tomorrowman

Member
Mar 10, 2020
296
273
Hampshire
I tend to find these ICE vs EV CO2 comparisons tend to forget one minor point. namely the energy and emissions required to extract, refine and transport your gallon of Petrol/Diesel and focus only on the CO2 emission resulting from burning the fuel in your car - A handy omission if you trying to prove a point (or am I being to cynical).
 

DSX63

Member
Mar 21, 2021
19
28
Europe, out of Essex
Although the Reuters article is very recent, it only uses one model which will be based on hundreds of assumptions. The following article is older but has a lot more detail on the various factors that impact on lifetime emissions:
Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change
This was one of the best articles I found when researching the problem before I pulled the trigger - probably not perfect - but they seemed to document their sources/procedure quite transparently/thoroughly.
 
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Jason71

Active Member
May 8, 2019
2,977
2,916
Shropshire
I have the luxury of an LR and relatively low mileage most of the time. I probably only need 30-40% a week right now - but can time a couple of charges just right over a week if I need more.

So - I appreciate it might not work for all - but I’m influencing my break-even by doing charges at the low-carbon points for the local energy grid.

Go appears to coincide with low carbon intensity periods 1-3 times a week. Windy weekends are great. Guildford appears to get French nuclear for a lot of base load. Gas appears to crank up on still days. Summertime appears to have decreased carbon intensity (less demand, less spiky demand I assume).


This has made me a grid-nerd. My dinner-time conversation-opener with the kids is often about how clean the power will be tonight. I’ve begun to obsess about minimising the CO2 “in the tank” to an unhealthy extent way past the forecast’s reliability! Do I charge fully tonight or hedge my bets by leaving 20% free for the 40g/kWh period that looks like it’s coming tomorrow during Go?!
The irony, for someone to trying to minimise his carbon foot print, is that you really need to get out more, :)
 
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edyang

Member
Jun 9, 2021
9
6
London
If you have a FT subscription, read the article here: Subscribe to read | Financial Times
But I think the graph captures the gist -

Screenshot 2021-06-29.png
 
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DigbyChicken

Member
Apr 7, 2021
157
122
Yeovil, Somerset
I tend to find these ICE vs EV CO2 comparisons tend to forget one minor point. namely the energy and emissions required to extract, refine and transport your gallon of Petrol/Diesel and focus only on the CO2 emission resulting from burning the fuel in your car - A handy omission if you trying to prove a point (or am I being to cynical).
Not cynical at all, in my 'umble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keEkMwCMr7w)
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,435
1,223
mid wales
Hardly unbiased All power production is filthy and environmentally damaging Let's not mention the cobalt, the geopolitical aspects of rare earth elements or the environmental aspects of greenwashed renewables, the actual processes involved in recycling batteries or the problem with end-of life solar Oh, and isn't the lubricating/insulating oils used in high voltage switches something really, really nasty? Add a few more nuclear power plants to bridge the gaps too
I'm not suggesting that EV;s aren't a better way but even with all cars EV there will still be oil drilling for chemical processes and road tar

A wise man once said there are three sides to every argument - Yours, mine and the truth
 

DigbyChicken

Member
Apr 7, 2021
157
122
Yeovil, Somerset
Hardly unbiased All power production is filthy and environmentally damaging Let's not mention the cobalt, the geopolitical aspects of rare earth elements or the environmental aspects of greenwashed renewables, the actual processes involved in recycling batteries or the problem with end-of life solar Oh, and isn't the lubricating/insulating oils used in high voltage switches something really, really nasty? Add a few more nuclear power plants to bridge the gaps too
I'm not suggesting that EV;s aren't a better way but even with all cars EV there will still be oil drilling for chemical processes and road tar

A wise man once said there are three sides to every argument - Yours, mine and the truth
There is certainly a lot of greenwashing around, and no one sensible has ever said that EVs are the whole/only solution to future transportation problems. However, I posted the link that I did as it seems to me that it's the "hardly unbiased" petrochemical industry that is most guilty of deliberately hiding the truth, given that (like the tobacco industry before it) it is spending huge sums on propaganda to sweep its own damage under the carpet. The problems you outline might never quite go away, and I think are generally accepted by even EV advocates, but things are improving: the energy mix in the UK is increasing skewing towards renewables; cobalt is being used less and less in EV batteries in general, and Tesla batteries in particular (and I believe soon won't be needed at all?); ditto, rare earth minerals. There are moves towards the almost complete recycling of batteries and, for example, there's the possibility of mining lithium in the UK in a relatively non-destructive way.

The excellent graphic from the FT above shows that we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that we can buy a Tesla and somehow we become 'green' overnight; however, as you imply, if you've got a straight choice between a new gas-guzzler and a new EV, it's pretty obvious which one is "less bad" for the environment. All I would say is that it is generally getting slightly "less bad" all the time - thank goodness...
 

GRiLLA

Member
Jul 5, 2020
842
792
UK
Trees and plants grow and die and decompose. Sure, it takes time, but....
What a helpful way to contribute to a 3 month dead thread. It's also not true, oil was formed from plankton, algae etc. that lived in vast numbers in during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic age in conditions that don't exist on earth for it to happen again. So no, atmospheric CO2 can not turn back into petrol.
 

Llama.

Member
Jan 25, 2021
197
102
Leeds, UK
Well I’m not one to dredge up an old thread but as I raised the OP I thought I would share the following YouTube link which does a great job at answering my question:

 

GRiLLA

Member
Jul 5, 2020
842
792
UK
Well I’m not one to dredge up an old thread but as I raised the OP I thought I would share the following YouTube link which does a great job at answering my question:

Just make sure you consider his graph are all based on the emissions of the average US grid, not the UK grid. We are better, so the payback is sooner. Also it's kinda incredible that average US cars do 25mpg!

I do like that he makes the point that 'stuff' to make an EV car is massively less than the stuff to make and power a petrol car.
 

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