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"Tesla Model 3 Produces More CO2 than a Diesel Car" - Please debunk

OCR1

Active Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,765
4,280
Southern California
This argument has been around for a long time. It attempts to compare the air pollution generated by plants that produce electricity to cars that produce air pollution through exhaust fumes. The problem with these arguments is that there are many different ways to produce electricity and not every plant is equal. So the plants that produce electricity in Germany may well be very dirty.

But even if this were true, you still have to consider where the air pollution is being created. Power plants are generally located away from urban areas where the population is sparse. So would you rather produce dirty air in a non-populated area or would you rather spew toxic fumes on every road you drive down? You can’t compare the two situations because they are completely different.

As we increase the amount of electricity produced by solar and wind power the situation will be even better for EV’s. These articles ignore that and try to justify the continuing production of ICE vehicles, likely because they are written by authors who have a vested interest in seeing them continue to be produced.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,415
14,430
West Vancouver, British Columbia
What such studies invariably ignore is that

  • In the developed world the electric grid continues to get cleaner over time as more renewables are used and dirty coal plants are phased out which means that EVs get cleaner
  • The hidden energy costs involved in refining crude oil (refineries use enormous amounts of electricity that the oil companies refuse to reveal) and in moving oil around the world
  • The much longer lifespan of an EV compared to an ICE and that ICE vehicles get dirtier over their lifespan while EVs remain the same
  • EV batteries can be recycled while ICE drivetrains are just junked
  • The oil changes an ICE car has during its lifetime which an EV does not have
  • An EV can be “fueled” at home with solar panels and more and more people are doing that; potentially many millions of EV owners could do that
Sick of getting forwarded articles like this from friends/family. Can anyone help me out and definitively debunk this article?

A Tesla Model 3 Produces More CO2 than a Diesel Car, Says New Study
 

stevegu

Member
Sep 12, 2019
41
24
eastern
The argument is presented as:
these steps pollute:

Electric:. Acquire fuel--transport--produce electricity--transport--drive car
Gas/diesel:. Acquire fuel--transport--refine--transport--dispense and drive car

Leaving aside that the transport portions off liquid fuel are far more polluting than of electric, and also that the"drive car" portion adds no pollution with electric, and 20 pounds of CO2/gallon of gas/diesel (in addition to particulates)...

See that step called "refine"?. That step requires approximately 5kwh/gallon in electricity, just about the same amount as driving aTesla for 20 or so miles, so you can actually add the Entire amount of pollution created producing electricity for an electric car to the balance of the liquid fuel pollution train.
 

ALSETJC

Member
Jun 24, 2018
288
292
Toronto
In reality its not even close, EV's are far cleaner. There is no data on the pollution for refining the oil and transporting it around the world. That alone should show you how biased these articles are and even then worst case scenario EVs are still cleaner and continue to get cleaner over time through renewable energy sources.
 

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
207
469
San Jose
When an article claims facts presented by a "think tank", get ready for another advertisement from your local mega corporation.

Add solar panels to your home and then you can negate all the environmental impacts for powering your EV, now you can proceed to write an article about how ICE cars produces INFINITELY MORE times carbon than EV's, based on your study at home. :)
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,183
5,340
MA, NH
When an article claims facts presented by a "think tank", get ready for another advertisement from your local mega corporation.

Add solar panels to your home and then you can negate all the environmental impacts for powering your EV, now you can proceed to write an article about how ICE cars produces INFINITELY MORE times carbon than EV's, based on your study at home. :)

And you think making solar panels have zero environmental impact?

And how are you charging at night and in the winter. By chance is it using the grid? Or are you using more batteries that you think have zero environmental impact?

No form of energy usage has zero impact and you do have to measure EVERYTHING.

Another thing to consider is what will the turnover rate be of EV cars. ICE cars have pretty good record of going 20 years before hitting the crusher. Will EV be the same. Will it be worth replacing batteries?

I’m not defending the article but don’t fool yourself into thinking anything has zero impact.

There is some argument that older simple appliances had less environmental impact because they lasted 30 years. New more efficient ones might last 10 or less because the electronics don’t last.

That all said, managing CO2 probably has a higher priority right now than some other environmental impacts.

OP, point your friends / family to watch the first episode of “Dirty Money” on NetFlix. It’s all the details about DieselGate. Scary.

That might shut them up.

Dirty Money | Netflix Official Site

The last episode of Dirty Money is the scariest though.
 
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