We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Just because an electric vehicle (EV) is clean on paper doesn’t mean it’s a truly zero-emission ride.
A recent study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing energy waste, larger EVs can still be worse for the environment than smaller gasoline-powered models. This is after you take into account the emissions created by the electric grid supplying the charge.
The all-new Hummer EV, which weighs over 4,080kg, is used as an example by the organization.
Researchers found that the electric version of the iconic SUV produced 341 grams of CO2 every 1.6km (one mile). While this is a vast improvement over the 889 grams of CO2 the old Hummer H1 produced, it’s still hardly environmentally sound. For comparison, a Chevrolet Malibu still produces a smaller 320 grams per 1.6km.
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Again, all of this is with emissions from an electrical grid taken into account. The ACEEE also says that as carmakers pursue larger batteries and longer range, emissions from mining operations required to gather the materials necessary increase as well.
Granted, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison and putting the 4,080kg Hummer EV up against a significantly lighter sedan is not exactly fair. But it still goes to show that producing the energy necessary to charge EVs still has an impact on the environment.
“At the moment, regulators calculate the emissions from gasoline vehicles and set requirements for automakers, but EVs are counted as causing no CO2 emissions. This means the sale of an EV Hummer can offset the sale of a highly polluting gasoline vehicle and increase emissions overall,” the ACEEE said in the study.
“Accounting for upstream emissions would mean that the sale of a more efficient EV would be more advantageous for automakers to meet their regulatory requirements. All EVs do not have the same impact on the environment, and our vehicle regulations should reflect that.”
Do you feel car brands should be more upfront about emissions produced by their EVs outside of the driving environment?