This article is about a study published by Renault on the emissions of electric vehicles vs that of diesel- and gas-fueled vehicles.
The Renault Fluence 4-door, 5-seat sedan product line was used for this study.
This car is the:
- Diesel-fueled 1.5 L dCi;
- Gasoline-fueled 1.6 L 16V;
- Electric Z.E, with a 22 kWh battery bank and 70 kW (93 HP) motor.
Production of Electric Vehicles Creates More Emissions
According to the Renault study, the production of electric vehicles resulted in much greater emissions than the production process of the gasoline and diesel versions because of the li-ion battery.
Without the battery, the environmental impact of the production process for the EV was about the same as that of the internal combustion engine (ICE) versions.
Electric Vehicles Emit Much Less Pollution Over Lifecycle
However, this emissions increase was more than offset by the fact that the electric vehicle’s emissions were much lower than that of the gasoline and diesel versions.
For this LCA (Lifecycle Assessment), Renault used the following environmental indicators:
- Global Warming 100yr Potential (kg CO2 equivalent);
- Acidification Potential (kg SO2 equivalent);
- Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (kg Ethene equivalent);
- Eutrophication Potential (kg Phosphates equivalent);
- Abiotic Resource Depletion Potential (kg Sb equivalent);
- Primary Energy Demand (MJ) (renewable and non-renewable);
Apart from that, a Stanford study also showed that even when using only coal for creating electricity, electric vehicles cause fewer emissions than gasoline-powered ones. Please keep in mind that Stanford’s coal electricity market share data is outdated, as the study was from 2006. The overall conclusion — that EVs are greener — is the same, of course, but electric vehicles have actually gotten cleaner since then. In 2009, coal’s electricity market share was 45%, according to the EIA. In 2012, it was 37%.
Sources: Green Car Congress and Renault (far more detail available here).
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