Do Indirect Emissions From EV Charging Negate the Value of the EV?

Some are concerned that adoption of Electric Vehicles (EV)s will indirectly lead to higher emission levels.  For example, if the power you charge your EV with comes from coal power plants then they argue that you will emit greenhouse gasses comparable to if you just drove a gasoline powered vehicle.  The Union of Concerned Scientists put out a readable paper, summarized HERE, called State of Charge that provides a comprehensive answer to this question.

In summary  an EV powered by even the dirtiest grid in the country will still emit less greenhouse gas than an average new compact car but a hybrid, will,  outperform it.  However as you move to cleaner grids such as those that are gas fired, nuclear, or renewables, the EV outperforms.

Credit - Union of Concerned Scientists

Credit – Union of Concerned Scientists
Click Graphic to Enlarge

In summary  an EV powered by even the dirtiest grid in the country will still emit less greenhouse gas than an average new compact car but a hybrid, will,  outperform it.  However as you move to cleaner grids such as those that are gas fired, nuclear, or renewables, the EV outperforms.  The UCS paper has two nice graphics on the topic, the first shows how EVs compare to different mileage cars operating in various power grids from clean to dirty.  The second graphic is a color coded map of the US showing how well EVs perform, in terms of emissions, in various parts of the country.

This blog post in Clean Technica offers a detailed view of this topic as well.

A report that looked at the embodied energy from manufacture was done to address this in more detail.  Unfortunately they had some significant flaws in their assumptions leading to an overly pessimistic view on this topic.  An analysis of that article can be found Here .

Clayton Handleman

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This entry was posted in EV PEV, New Energy Paradigm, Nuclear Energy, Path to a New Paradigm and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Do Indirect Emissions From EV Charging Negate the Value of the EV?

  1. Pingback: EV Are Least Emissions Option In Many States Despite Battery Carbon Footprint | The Handleman Post

  2. Pingback: Tesla Deserves Better From Mainstream Report | The Handleman Post

  3. Dude, cellulosic E85 exists, and as biofuel content increases, the flex-fuel hybrid you buy today will become greener. Please give ANY logic which indicates that, as your article claims, an EV will do better than biofuel vehicles in the future since biofuel vehicles only consume 15% biofuel today. (I keep asking, and have never gotten a response, let alone a logical one. So far, EV proponents ALWAYS go silent when asked to compare EVs to next-generation biofuels – not corn, but waste-fed)

    Like

    • Enoch1680 says:

      Cellulosic fuels have potential. My understanding is that they are simply not living up to the early expectations in terms of cost benefit and scalability. If you have some good, up to date source material please provide it.

      Like

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