The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.These studies come along every now and again, and they're blown out of all proportion by the dingbats who are trying to defend the status quo, and the dittoheads who don't bother to think about stuff.
The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020.
The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed. (1)
Couple of points ....
- Electric cars aren't just about reducing CO2. They're about reducing oil use because of peak oil. More electric cars means the oil we've got left lasts longer and thus costs less for the things that really, truly need it.
- Technology may improve and with it, the manufacturing emissions may be reduced.
- If the problem centres around manufacturing emissions, that's not a problem with the car, but with the manufacturing process. If the energy needed can be sourced from lower CO2 emitting sources, then the manufacturing process will be significant.
- The difference between the electric car emissions and petrol car emissions is about 5%. That's not insignificant, even if there are no other changes, ever.
I despise electric cars, by the way. Horses and airships will be the prime means of transportation when I'm World King. Except for me. I'm going to ride about the place on a gigantic genetically modified Wolverine.
1 - "Electric cars may not be so green after all, says British study," by Ben Webster. Published in The Australian, 10th of June, 2011. (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/electric-cars-may-not-be-so-green-after-all-says-british-study/story-e6frg8y6-1226073103576)