+ Your AuthorsArchive @AukeHoekstra Debunking scare stories about electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. Director @TUeindhoven. Founder Jan. 11, 2019 2 min read

An electric car in the Netherlands emits 6x less CO2 than a comparable gasoline car when you look over it's entire lifetime.

My new calculations where a pleasant surprise for me so I thought: let's share on twitter. Explanation of the table in a short thread.

The idea that an electric vehicle emits more CO2 because it runs on a coal fired power plant is a myth that will not die. So after a new media inquiry via my friend prof @M_Steinbuch today I ran the numbers again for the Netherlands and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

First I took a representative vehicle: the VW Golf. It's historically the best sold car in the EU and the Netherlands. (It depends per year but always in the top 3.) It also has a gasoline, diesel and electric version so we can compare like with like.

From  we learn the gasoline version uses 7.52 liter/100km.
EPA ratings are almost the same.

I did not use the NEDC or WLTP because we know the EU car lobby has succeeded in making these tests much more optimistic than reality.

The diesel version uses less but you can see that this is negated by the fact that diesel contains more CO2 per liter.

(There is also a diesel version of the Golf without Ad-blue that uses about 5% less energy but we know from #dieselgate that it emits far too much PM.)

The energy use for electric cars is from EPA that measures from the plug (so including charging losses).

Side note: while the eGolf uses 0.19 kWh/km, the gasoline one uses 0.73 kWh/km and the diesel one 0.7 kWh/km. So electric is approximately 4x more efficient.

For CO2 emissions per liter of fuel and kWh of electricity I used . This is a shared resource in the Netherlands (government, NGOs and companies use it). It e.g. includes transmission losses and CO2 emitted while producing gasoline and diesel.

For electricity I used the average in 2018 and 2030.

For 2018 it's all electricity taken together. Many EV opponents use pure coal electricity but you can't buy that. (And public charge points actually have 100% green certified electricity.)

For 2030 it's my estimate based on the recent Dutch climate agreement.

An electric car gets cleaner during it's lifetime as the mix get's greener. If you look at the 19.6 years lifetime of a car, the 2030 number is pretty much the average: it's a much better estimate than 2018.

Now you could argue I neglect the production of the battery. But around 80% of emissions occur during driving. And as electricity gets greener and production gets more efficient, CO2 emissions from battery production will continue to drop.

You could also argue that the Netherlands has a clean electricity mix but you'd be wrong: we are laggards within Europe.

Multiply energy use (liter/100 km or kWh/km) with emissions per liter or kWh and you get the emission per km:

- 206 gram for the VW Golf on diesel

- 205 gram on gasoline

- 77 gram on the 2018 electricity mix

- 34 gram on the 2030 electricity mix

I've been doing these calculation for years for the @TUeindhoven and every year the calculation becomes more positive for the EV.

So when you see someone claiming EVs emit more CO2, send them this thread: it's not even close.

You can follow @AukeHoekstra.


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