Are Electric Vehicles Really Greener?

Although there is overwhelming evidence that electric vehicles provide considerable economic, environmental and health benefits, misinformation continues to muddy the public discussion in Australia.

An article recently claimed that on the east shore, electrical vehicles are responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than their gas counterparts.

The findings were mostly attributed to Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels to power electric vehicles. The report was based on a study that hasn’t been publicly released, making it difficult to verify the claim.

But let’s stop and do the math for a second…

Vehicles create two different types of emissions: greenhouse gases and poisonous air pollution.

Petrol and diesel vehicles are responsible for the majority of emissions in the world. These are called “tank-to-wheel” or exhaust emissions and contribute to global warming, climate change, and overall poor air quality.

Electric vehicles don’t have any exhaust emissions. Their emissions are primarily dependent on the upstream emissions: that is, from the creation and supply of the energy used to charge them.

The estimated average Australian petrol car generated 355g of CO₂-equal per kilometre at real-world gas life cycle emissions.

By comparison, an average electric vehicle powered by the average Australian power grid combination created about 40% fewer emissions, at 213g of CO₂-equal per kilometre.