Greenhouse Gas lifecycle assessment


This is not a new topic, actually it’s one of the first we ever discussed on this blog.

Sadly, every now and then we must return to it because some loonies dreams up a “study” sdemonstrating diesel fumes are good for your health.

Transport & Environment has done it today with a vert complete study which you can read here, where we stole this infographic;

To sum it all up the full lifecycle of an electrical vehicle reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by over 50%. Even more importantly, 68% of these are the so called Well-to-Tank emissions, caused by the generation of electrical energy: if today the EU average is 300g/kWh, this is due to decrease to 200g/kWh by 2030 and 80g/kWh by 2050 !!

Therefore, while no realistic reduction can be forecasted for LCA ICE emissions, those for EVs could be further halved in 30 years.

Other studies

For those who might want to read other studies, here is a selection:

  • ICCT: Effects of battery manufacturing on electric vehicle life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions (9/2/2018)
  • EEA: Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives (22/11/2018)
  • Volkswagen: i 12 miti sulla Mobilità Elettrica (28/5/2019)
  • Mercedes: quanto inquina una EQC sull’intero ciclo di vita. (12/11/2019)
  • Bloomberg NEF: Electric Cars are cleaner even when powered by coal.
  • Una special mention (in negativo) per il famigerato studio IFO classificato “mostly false” da EUfactcheck
  • Dossier RSE con un focus sulla situazione italiana ed un confronto con GPL, ibride ed ibride plug-in (11/2019)
  • Radboud University (23/3/2020): […] Overall, we find that current and future life-cycle emissions from EVs and HPs are on average lower than those of new petrol cars and fossil boilers—not just on the global aggregate but also in most individual countries. Over time, in increasingly more regions even the use of inefficient EVs or HPs is less emission intensive than the most efficient new petrol cars or fossil boilers […]
  • T&E 2020: comprende anche un tool online per fare una valutazione personale (21/4/2020).
  • Studio UE 2020: aggiorna anche la valutazione del beneficio nei vari paesi dell’Unione Europea (1/7/2020).
  • Technical University Eindhoven: una risposta scientifica agli errori di metodo e di calcolo contenuti nello Studio IFO […] Recently, a number of predominantly German studies have questioned whether driving an electric vehicle emits less green house gas, or wether we must wait for electricity to decarbonise further. This report explains these studies have a number of flaws and that proper calculations show electric vehicles already emit less than half the green house gasses of their fossil fueled counterparts […] (8/2020).
  • Transport Energy/Emission Research: […] evidence suggests that electrification of the passenger fleet would reduce GHG emission rates (g/km) from between 16% to 40% for the current (2018) Australian electricity mix, which is still largely generated with fossil fuels […] (12/2020).
  • Volkswagen dove vengono analizzate in dettaglio anche le evoluzioni future di casa VW per le fasi di produzione e riciclo (2/2021).
  • ICCT 2021: […] even for cars registered today, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have by far the lowest life-cycle GHG emissions. As illustrated in the figure below, emissions over the lifetime of average medium-size BEVs registered today are already lower than comparable gasoline cars by 66%–69% in Europe, 60%–68% in the United States, 37%–45% in China, and 19%–34% in India.[…] (07/2021)
  • Yale University School of Environment: […] We combine integrated energy modeling and life cycle assessment to compare optimal policy scenarios that price emissions at the tailpipe only, versus both tailpipe and indirect emissions. Surprisingly, scenarios that also price indirect emissions exhibit higher, rather than reduced, sales of electric vehicles, while yielding lower cumulative tailpipe and indirect emissions. […] (12/2021).
  • Reuters (based on the Argonne model): […] Although the production of EVs and batteries generates more CO2 before the first wheel turns, the total carbon “footprint” of gas cars quickly overtakes that of EVs […] (03/2022).
  • Ford + University of Michigan: […] EVs outperform hybrids in 95% to 96% of counties, while EVs outperform ICE vehicles in 98% to 99% of counties, even assuming only modest progress toward grid decarbonization.  […] (05/2022)


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