Only 100% battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have the potential to create the deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector that the world needs to avoid catastrophic climate change. BEVs will become more efficacious as the grid gets greener around the globe.
But what about hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels, and electrofuels? Hybrids (both conventional HEVs and PHEVs/plugin hybrids) still need fossil fuels to run — they are not a long-term solution. Biofuels have high GHG emissions. Biofuels have the added disadvantage in that they are made from food crops (corn, sugarcane, or sorghum), thus solving one problem but potentially creating another.
Electrofuels are extremely expensive and not likely to decrease in price in the short or medium term. E fuels are made from combining carbon captured from CO2 with hydrogen extracted from water via electrolysis. The two elements are synthesised to create electrofuels (hydrocarbons).
Hydrogen is also extremely expensive and at the present time at least 95% of hydrogen is produced using natural gas. Until we have a massive overabundance of renewable (green) energy, hydrogen will continue to be made from fossil fuels (sometimes called grey hydrogen). Thus, it is still contributing to global warming at point of manufacture. Not to mention the lack of infrastructure for distribution and the volatility of the element.
BEVs, on the other hand, can be plugged into any power socket — like a toaster! Cost parity with fossil fuel vehicles is already here in some countries, and just around the corner in others. If viewing total cost of ownership, a BEV is the cheapest car to buy. If I keep my Tesla as long as I kept my V6 Hyundai Sonata, it will pay for itself within that 14 year timeframe on the difference between the cost of electricity and the cost of petrol alone. Not to mention cost savings on maintenance and registration.
For many reasons — it’s just got to be BEV.
For lots more detail, see “Why are electric vehicles the only way to quickly and substantially decarbonize transport?“
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