According to a new BloombergNEF report, electric cars are already more environmentally friendly than gas-powered ones. And as coal fades, electric cars will get even greener.
For years now, any mention of the transition to electric vehicles has been met by a relatively fair response: what good is an EV if it’s powered by coal?
Well, now we know. Carbon dioxide emissions from battery-powered cars were nearly half that of traditional cars. BNEF calculated that electric vehicle emissions are on average 40% lower than last year’s fleet of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
While some past reports have said as much for the US (kudos to UCS!) this one is international, comparing ICE to EV in the UK, Germany, France, the US, China and Japan. The UK showed the biggest difference, as its renewable industry is the most developed. But even in China, where coal remains a large part of their electricity portfolio, it’s cleaner to drive a (coal-powered) electric vehicle than it is gas-powered one.
And it only gets better as power grids increasingly decarbonize. As BNEF analyst Colin McKerracher pointed out, “when an internal combustion vehicle rolls off the line its emissions per km are set, but for an EV they keep falling every year as the grid gets cleaner.”
So not only are EVs already a more environmentally-friendly option, but they’re going to get even cleaner as our electricity grid continues to transition to renewable energy sources. While the global grid was run on 38% zero-carbon power last year, by 2040 BNEF forecasts that to rise to 63 percent, which would drive EV emissions down between 3 and 10 percent every year. ICE engines, by comparison, can be expected to reduce emissions by a little less than 2 percent annually, meaning they’ll never catch up to EVs.
Remember this the next time some Koch and fossil-fuel funded denier tries to fear-monger about how EVs are doing more harm than good as part of their pro-pollution agenda. Because while the opposition denies climate change, the single-biggest threat to our planet, they also love to pretend to care about the environment so they can claim proposed solutions are actually making things worse.
Don’t be distracted by their misleading tourist-trap-esque arguments. Just keep your eyes on the road, and don’t let ‘em drive you crazy!
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