New Study: Electric Vehicle Use Does Not Reduce CO2 Emissions

Negligible 4.9% Emissions Difference

Between EVs And Petroleum Vehicles


According to a new paper published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology entitled “Electric Vehicles: Climate Saviors, Or Not?”, driving an electric vehicle (EV) rather than a conventional petroleum-powered vehicle effectively does nothing to reduce global-scale CO2 emissions.

This is because charging EVs on electricity grids that rely heavily on fossil fuel energy sources (coal) increases CO2 emissions.  In coal-reliant countries like China and Japan, owning and driving EVs contribute significantly more to CO2 emissions than using petroleum-powered vehicles.

Even in developing countries like Malaysia, EV use produces “substantial GHG emissions” because the electricity grid is “largely dependent on fossil fuels”.

Onn et al., 2017     EVs [electric vehicles] running with Malaysian electricity grid produce substantial GHG emissions. … [T]he benefits of grid-dependent EVs can only be harvested under the condition that their use is coupled with a low carbon electricity grid. Thus, it is an additional challenge for Malaysia’s that are largely dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation. … Overall the GHG emissions produced through the usage of EVs are substantial based on the well-to-wheel analysis, as the environmental profile of EVs is linked with the national grid.

Alternatively, for countries that rely heavily on non-carbon sources like nuclear power or hydropower to electrify their grids (France, Norway), charging and driving EVs rather than petroleum-powered vehicles can significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

The problem for CO2 mitigation and EV advocates is that fossil fuel-powered electricity grids are far more prevalent across the world.  And this will continue to be the case as “1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries“, which will “expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent” (New York Times, July, 2017).

In Energiewende Germany, wind and solar were supposed to replace the country’s gradually phased-out nuclear power.  But because wind and solar are intermittent and thus unreliable energy sources (when the wind doesn’t blow or the Sun doesn’t shine), the electricity used to charge EVs has to substantially come from the steadily-available fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil), which provide over 80% of Germany’s energy consumption share.   Consequently, charging an EV in Germany doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions to any significant degree, with one new study (cited below) indicating that there is just an 8.7% difference in CO2 emissions between driving an EV in Germany and driving petroleum-powered commercial van in Germany (Ensslen et al., 2017).

Using EVs Vs. Gasoline Vehicles Worldwide: A Negligible 4.9% CO2 Emissions Difference

In a new paper, Barkenbus (2017) analyzes the CO2 emissions associated with EV use in 5 countries: China, the U.S., Japan, Norway, and the Netherlands.  Together, 80% of the world’s EVs are owned and driven in these 5 countries.  China added 300,000 more EVs in 2016 alone.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), average emissions from conventional petroleum-powered vehicles can be directly compared to the the emissions from electricity-charged EVs by using the value grams (g) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilowatt hour (kWh).   The average emission value for petroleum-powered vehicles is the equivalent of 559 gCO2/kWh.   Emissions from charging EVs above that value would therefore be indicative of a net emissions increase compared to driving petroleum-powered vehicles.

As this graphical depiction shows, only one of the 5 countries (hydropower-reliant Norway) has achieved significantly lower CO2 emissions with EV use when compared to driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles.   China’s citizens – who almost doubled their EV ownership in one year (312,290 as of 2015, 300,000 more in 2016 alone) –  emit 711.88 gCO2/kWh by charging and driving their EVs using China’s fossil fuel-reliant electrical grid.  (711.88 gCO2/kWh is 27.3% greater than 559 gCO2/kWh.)  This means that purchasing and driving a petroleum-powered vehicle rather than an EV in China actually reduces CO2 emissions.

For the 5 countries listed above, the CO2 emissions associated with charging EVs averaged 531.9 gCO2/kWh.  This value is only 4.9% less than the CO2 emissions associated with driving petroleum-powered vehicles.

Had 2016 data been available for this analysis, China’s 300,000 additional EVs combined with its 711.88 gCO2/kWh emissions rate would have likely led to the conclusion that on a global scale, owning and driving an EV actually increases CO2 emissions more than owning and driving petroleum-powered vehicles do.

Barkenbus, 2017

These analyses make it clear that the widespread introduction of EVs, by itself, is insufficient to lead to reduced carbon emissions from the transport sector. Electricity grids need to incorporate greater levels of clean, renewable energy. Equally important, and less understood, electricity providers must incentivize public recharging of EVs when renewable energy generation is at its peak.
The global inventory of operating EVs, as of the end of 2015, totaled just over 1.25 million. … [A]lthough the number seems large in isolation, it still represents a minuscule portion of the personal vehicle inventory, no more than 0.1% of all such vehicles. … Five countries (China, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States) are home to about 1 million EVs, roughly 80% of the total. The United States is the largest home, with something more than 400,000 EVs. China, currently number two on the list of EV owners with more than 300,000 vehicles, will likely soon overtake the United States.
Knowing where these cars are helps calculate their impact on climate emissions. The IEA reports the carbon intensity of national grids in , which can then be used to gauge emission rates for that country’s EVs. The IEA has also calculated that when EVs receive electricity with emission levels exceeding 559 gCO2/kWh, they, unfortunately, are net contributors to climate change when compared with conventional vehicles.
At the international level, therefore, the evidence is mixed. In some cases, EVs reduce CO2emissions, and in other cases, they actually result in more carbon emissions than would conventional vehicles.

German EV Drivers Emit 10 Times More CO2 Than French EV Drivers

As mentioned above, because German energy consumption share is substantially derived from fossil fuel sources, driving an EV in Germany has almost no impact (an 8.7% difference) in reducing CO2 emissions relative to driving petroleum-powered vehicles.

Driving an EV in neighboring France, however, substantially reduces CO2 emissions because the electricity charging an EV in France is predominantly supplied by “carbon-free” nuclear power.   Consequently, “CO2 emissions for charging EV in France are about 10 times lower than CO2 emissions of comparable ICEV [internal combustion engine vehicle] and about 10 times lower than charging in Germany.”

Ensslen et al., 2017

Our results indicate that charging in France causes only about ten percent of the carbon dioxide emissions compared to Germany, where the carbon intensity is more diverse [due to heavy fossil fuel dependency backing up intermittent wind and solar supplies in Germany].
During the evaluation period of six months about 3.2 tons of CO2 were emitted. As the major part of the electricity generated in France is based on “carbon-free” nuclear power, specific PTW [plant-to-wheel] CO2 emissions are substantially lower for the EV (16.4 g CO2/km in France compared to 147.1 g CO2/km for Germany).

EV Use In Germany Potentially Reduces CO2 Emissions By Just 8.7% Compared To Fossil Fuel Vehicles

Ensslen et al., 2017

The calculated EV [electric vehicle] emissions based on the French and German energy mix reveal significant differences between the two countries. Therefore, different reduction potentials are derived from the comparisons to comparable ICEV [internal combustion engine vehicle].  Assuming that the project vehicles would only be charged in Germany results in average time-dependent PTW [plant-to-wheel] CO2 emissions of about 147.1 g CO2/km. This is about 36% above the CO2 emissions calculated based on the norm consumption of the EV…
Comparing CO2 emissions according to norm consumption of a conventional Nissan NV200 [a petrol-powered commercial van with low-average fuel efficiency] also having an identical chassis (128 g CO2/km) with the CO2 emissions calculated based on the norm energy consumption of the project EV (11 g CO2/km in France and 108 g CO2/km in Germany) leads to the conclusion that EV usage in France (Germany) is – with regard to CO2 – more environmentally friendly than usage of comparable ICEV [internal combustion engine vehicle].
CO2 emission reduction potentials in France (Germany) consequently amount to 91.4 [France]% (15.6% [Germany]). However, additional efficiency losses in the batteries and the AC/DC charging unit (charging efficiency) increases the amount of energy needed for charging. This consequently also increases CO2 emissions and results in reduction potentials compared to ICEV [internal combustion engine vehicle] of about 90.7% in France and 8.7% in Germany.

PTW [plant-to-wheel] CO2 emissions for charging EV in France are consequently about 10 times lower than CO2 emissions of comparable ICEV [internal combustion engine vehicle] and about 10 times lower than charging in Germany. These results underline the effects of the different electricity generation mixes in France and Germany on operational, charging and time dependent CO2 emissions of EV.
Our results implicate that CO2 emission reduction potentials of EV could be used by charging them during windy and sunny hours in Germany. … For commuters only commuting within Germany we recommend shifting the load into periods with high shares of renewables, i.e. particularly into afternoon hours, when the sun is shining, or into windy periods.

Why Don’t EV Advocates Consider The Grid?

To summarize, then, owning and driving an EV currently does little to reduce CO2 emissions on a global scale.

More and more EVs are electrically charged in countries and regions that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels (i.e., 88% of China’s energy consumption  (2015) is derived from coal, oil and gas).

So why is it that advocates of CO2 emissions reductions are seemingly so disinterested in addressing the electricity grid issue while extolling the explosion of EV purchases and use?   Since CO2 emissions can actually increase when owning and driving EVs if the electricity that charges them is not sufficiently supplied by non-fossil fuel sources, why does this salient factor not resonate?

Or is the fervent push for EV ownership not really about CO2 emissions reductions after all?

89 responses to “New Study: Electric Vehicle Use Does Not Reduce CO2 Emissions”

  1. CraigAustin

    These vehicles are not about transportation, they are coats of virtue, look inside each of these cars and find people who are bad at math and hell bent on “saving the planet”. Electric cars died when the starter motor was introduced. In 1899 they accounted for 50% of vehicles sales, it has been downhill since.

    1. SebastianH

      Apart from rockets, we will see every form of transportation switch to electricity as the source of energy in the next decades.

      1. Robert Folkerts

        SebH says
        “apart from rockets we will see every form of transport switch to electricity in the next decades”

        You sure about that?

        I’m not! Aircraft, trucks, ships spring to mind.

        1. SebastianH

          Why would those vehicle classes not be able to use electric propulsion?

          1. AndyG55

            Fantasy seb-t.. strikes again.

            Your continued base-level ignorance of simple power engineering is a wonder to behold 🙂

          2. Robert Folkerts

            Energy density is one reason. Are you not smart enough to figure the difficulties yourself? Or do you think that electric round the world flight taking about one year and able to carry no more than the pilot as payload shows potential? Perhaps you could design a ship with a huge wind turbine on it. Possibilities are endless!

          3. Colorado Wellington

            “Why would those vehicle classes not be able to use electric propulsion?”

            Honors BA in social justice and peace studies, and MA in gender studies, eh?

          4. SebastianH

            Energy density is one reason.

            It sure is a reason now but doesn’t stop companies from building electric aircraft, trucks and ships (now or in the future).

            You skeptics have little imagination when it comes to future trends, but are very imaginative when it comes to explanations why something can’t be or how something is supposed to work 😉

          5. AndyG55

            Ignorance is your only redeeming feature, seb-t.

            It allows your child-mind to live in a world of pure scientific FANTASY !!

          6. Juergen Uhlemann

            SebastianH “You skeptics have little imagination when it comes to future trends”

            I have a lot of imagination and a lot of experience that a lot of these future trends never really worked out and are at best a niche market product.
            I remember a hydrogen car & bus from Daimler shown in Vienna in the late 80’s. 30 years passed by.

            Adding more EV’s to the electric grid will speed up the collapse of the grid and in return the future of the EV’s, as the possible customers will shy away.

            Many people will not be happy if they can’t use the car, just because the battery is not charged.
            The reaction will be the same like when you try to start the car and it fails.
            What if your battery charge is alright to start your journey and it’s not enough to get to your destination, but you don’t have the time to wait to be charged enough? Maybe you lose your job because of this?

            If they have a bad experience once or maybe a few times it will backfire.

          7. SebastianH

            @AndyG55, do you deny that electric aircraft, trucks and ships already exist? Do you think those existing models are the pinnacle of the development?

            Is you conservative “adult-mind” not able to imagine what lies beyond those first steps if trends continue? Does it just tell you “nah, batteries are too heavy, this will never work” or do you think you know something the engineers working on those vehicles don’t? Just write them an email please, they’ll be glad that you saved them so much time if you are correct 😉

          8. Colorado Wellington

            He has a point, Andy. We lack the imagination of the new physics visionaries. Sebastian can imagine the electric airliner and put one together with his fellow tribesmen in no time.

            It’s been done before.

          9. AndyG55

            Keep smoking that whatever-it-is, seb-t.

            Ignore basic engineering and physics.

            Live in your own little fantasy world.

            Its what you do.

            It will take a MAJOR breakthrough on something we probably haven’t even thought of yet, before any of your wild, hallucinogenic fantasies come true.

          10. AndyG55

            Of course they already use “stored” energy in all these machines, don’t they seb-t 😉

            NATURALLY stored energy.

          11. AndyG55

            Reminds me seb-t.

            How is the Mercedes going? 😉

          12. SebastianH

            It will take a MAJOR breakthrough on something we probably haven’t even thought of yet, before any of your wild, hallucinogenic fantasies come true.

            Hmm, electric trucks exist and electric semi trucks will come next. Electric ships exist (Germany has submarines that can stay and move under water for 3 weeks on electricity using fuel cells). Small electric aircraft exist and major companies are planning to build electric regional airplanes. Hybrid variants of all three classes have been announced.

            What major breakthrough is needed exactly that is not within reach, AndyG55?

          13. AndyG55

            Tell ya what, seb-t .. Get back to us when they have a truck that is something more than a glorified milk cart.

            Say, an n all electric truck capable of Sydney-Melbourne-Sydney with 40 tonne load in 24 hours

            Or a commercial electric aircraft capable of the same trip 5 times a day

            Or an all electric boat capable of doing the same trip at sea. (albeit slower)

            Until then, you are looking at a tiny niche market based on “feel-good” wannabee. !!

          14. Colorado Wellington

            “… do you deny that electric aircraft, trucks and ships already exist?”

            Yep, a degree in gender studies. Maybe even a doctoral thesis. Same kind of reasoning, for sure.

          15. AndyG55

            About that sub

            It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) compressed hydrogen fuel cells. The submarines can operate at high speed on diesel power or switch to the AIP system for silent slow cruising,

            Why are you always so DECEITFUL and FAKE, seb-t??

            Its DIESEL powered, just using the very expensive PEM to go into “hide” mode.

            And what is the energy cost of compressing that hydrogen…..

            The large amount of energy required to isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use — an unacceptable value to run an economy in a sustainable future. Only niche applications like submarines and spacecraft might use hydrogen

            Read more at:

          16. Colorado Wellington

            “You skeptics have little imagination when it comes to future trends”

            @Juergen Uhlemann:

            Sebastian can’t see the difference between imagination and leftist utopia.

            It’s bizarre to be accused of lack of imagination about “future trends” by leftists who century and a half later still follow the teachings of a mediocre intellect who wanted to redistribute the GDP of 1848 to the “proletariat” because he couldn’t imagine what the unchaining of human intellect in free markets would do for the living conditions of said “proletariat”.

            What kind of mental disorder keeps producing this drivel long after it became known what horrors international and national socialism bestowed on mankind?

      2. AndyG55

        roflmao !!

        You live in a naïve little fantasy world, seb-t..

      3. Robert Folkerts

        Hey SebH,
        In your imagining can you imagine an electric airliner and then can you imagine it travelling at jet speeds?
        I can only imagine electric aircraft having propellers, you know, the things that look like wind turbine blades!
        Therefore slow. That is about half jetspeeds so about twice the journey time. Suddenly the battery needs to be even bigger than perhaps one imagined in the first imagining!
        By the way I am not an unimaginative Luddite.
        For seven years now I have been driving a Lexus performance hybrid car, I love it. As I do my Chevy Silverado 4wd pick up truck.

  2. richard verney

    Petrol engines are becoming ever more efficient. Within a few years, petrol engines will have improved efficiency by more than 5% so that by 2020 a new small engine petrol car will in reality emit no more CO2 than its counterpart EV equivalent.

    I recall recently seeing a report that the amount of CO2 involved in making the batteries for an electric car was the equivalent of 8 years driving of a typical petrol car. Given that batteries only have that sort of life span, after which they will need replacing, it is clear that EV cars offer no worthwhile savings and only involve escalating costs for the motorists.

    Whilst I do not like any market involvement, a better solution would be to impose a sliding scale of punative tax on engiine size/efficiency. Say an extra 25% for a ~2 litre engine, an extra 50% for a ~2.5 litre engine, an extra 100% for a ~3 litre engine, an extra 200% for a ~3.5 litre engine, an extra 400% for a ~4 litre engine etc.

    That might push the cost of a Ferarri up from about £200,000 to about £800,000 but those who can afford to spend £200,000 on a car can probably afford to spend £800,000 on a car.

    But as I say, personally I am against market intervention, and in any case i it appears that Climate Sensitivity to CO2 is zero or close thereto so what is the issue? It appears that the benefit of more CO2 outstrips the negative consequences if any at all.

    1. SebastianH

      Petrol engines are becoming ever more efficient.

      How efficiently does a petrol engine need to become to beat an electric car that is running on an energy mix like present in France or Nordic countries?

      I recall recently seeing a report that the amount of CO2 involved in making the batteries for an electric car was the equivalent of 8 years driving of a typical petrol car.

      Everyone repeated an initial story that used wrong numbers. The original study had no mention of such a long CO2 recovery time:

      They mention that to produce a 1 kWh battery 150-200 kg CO2-eq get emitted. If we assume the rest of an electric car production causes as many emissions as producing a gasoline car, you can calculate after how many kilometers a Tesla and a comparable car would have caused the same kind of emissions (the result is not 8 years). Note: the study also assumes that 50-70% of the electricity used to produce the battery comes from fossil fuels to arrive at that number. Didn’t Tesla want to power their battery factory entirely with renewables?

      1. AndyG55

        “Didn’t Tesla want to power their battery factory entirely with renewables?”

        But they couldn’t because they need CONTINUITY and RELIABILITY of supply !

        Just like any other manufacturing industry does.

        Wind and solar.. NEED NOT APPLY !!

        1. yonason

          Wind gets “blown away” by coal, oil and nat., gas.

          OH THE IRONY.

  3. SebastianH

    1) So 4.9% (or 8.7%) CO2 reduction “effectively does nothing”, but you call me dishonest when I write you claim that humans do not cause the CO2 concentration increase because you write that humans contribute only as little as 4%? Hmm ..

    2) In the middle of your post, you mention “the electricity used to charge EVs has to substantially come from the steadily-available fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil), which provide over 80% of Germany’s energy consumption share.”

    You confuse the share in electricity generation with primary energy consumption. The renewable share (electricity) in Germany is currently 37.6% for 2017.

    3) Buying an electric car now – even when the CO2 reduction would be minimal or in the case of China even be non-existent – doesn’t mean it will forever use the current mix of electricity sources. Those will further improve (even in China) and those cars CO2 emissions will improve accordingly. A gasoline vehicle can’t magically reduce its emissions by being charged by a solar roof, can it?

    4) The numbers cited here seem to be a little bit unrealistic.

    An electric car that uses 20 kWh per 100 km (plant-to-wheel) would emit 98 g of CO2 per km and that would equal what a gasoline car emits when it is able to drive 100 km with 4.2 l … not counting the energy needed to refine oil to gasoline and transport it to the gas station, etc.

    559 gCO2/kWh is an interesting number … let’s see if we can get to a result like that ourselves. So we have our 4.2 l car which equals 36.834 kWh of energy usage on 100 km, resulting in 266 gCO2/kWh. But that only the primary energy consumption, we want the kWh used to drive the car, we need an efficiency factor. To arrive at 559 gCO2/kWh we need to assume that a car engine burns gasoline at 47.6% efficiency … do you think that is very likely? The best engines get 40% efficiency when driving at constant speed. They might get 20% efficiency on average. And of course, this – again – ignores the energy used to refine the gasoline, etc and small electric cars not needing 20 kWh/100 km and the average car does not only consume 4.2 l per 100 km, does it?

    The Ensslen paper gets 147.1 gCO2/km for a large transporter which corresponds to a gasoline transporter consuming just 6.3 l / 100 km … also highly unlikely and also ignoring the true energy consumption of a gasoline car.

    Realistic example:
    Let’s compare a Renault ZOE to a Renault Clio (gasoline version with comparable engine power). The ZOE needs 16.84 kWh / 100 km and including charge and transmission losses (+20%) around 20.2 kWh / 100 km. The Clio consumes 7.69 l / 100 km. According to different source refining 1 l of gasoline uses 1.3 kWh of electricity (so ~10 kWh / 100 km for the Clio) and for simplicity we will ignore transportation and energy usage to retrieve the oil, etc.

    The result: a Clio is causing 2330 g/l * A l + X g/kWh * (1.3 kWh/l *
    A l)
    of emissions per 100 km and the ZOE is causing X g/kWh * 20.2 kWh of emissions. Let’s solve for X to get the threshold for carbon intensity at which an electric vehicle emits the same as a comparable gasoline car.
    17917.7 g + X g/kWh * 9.997 kWh = X g/kWh * 20.2 kWh results in X being 1756.1 g/kWh

    Even if we ignore the energy used refining the gasoline the threshold would be 887 g/kWh.

    P.S.: the threshold is even higher when you compare larger vehicles like a Tesla Model S to a comparable gasoline car.

    1. yonason

      Given that CO2 is neither a “pollutant” nor a cause of measurable temperature rise, fixation on how much we emit is a waste of time.

      Chatbot SebH has NEVER responded to calls for proof of his/her/it’s assertion that CO2 is dangerous. Without proof of CO2 being dangerous, which is the underlying assumption of all the alarm, proceeding to analyze how to minimize emissions is at best silly. Couple that with all facts we know for sure telling us that CO2 is beneficial, then spreading obsession with CO2 emission reduction is just malignant.

      1. AndyG55

        CO2 at any atmospheric concentration it is ever likely to reach..


        There is absolutely NO down side to ENHANCED atmospheric CO2.. !!

        1. yonason

          NO downside, whatsoever!

    2. richard verney

      I have some experience with electric cars since my Dad owned one for about 15 years during which time he had to replace the batteries 3 times. Of course, I accept that batteries have improved from the earlier 90s but even so, it is doubtful that they have a life expectancy better than about 8 to 10 years.

      Recently there was a study that suggested that the amount of CO2 produced in the manufacture of an elctric car was the equivalent of about 8 years driving of a conventional car. Further, there has been a recent study that showed that on average an EV is about 24% heavier than its petrol counterpart and because of this weight differential, there is no saving in harmful emissions/particulates when EVs are compared to conventional cars.

      What you do not take into account with your example, and I know this from experience of driving electric vehicles, that every item of equipment used is a drain on the battery. Put the lights on, drain the battery, put the windscreen wipers on, drain the battery, put the heated rear screen on, drain the battery, put the aircon on, drain the battery etc. There is a world of difference between driving on a bright Spring day, and driving at night on a wet and cold Winter’s day.

      You need to add at least another 20% to your figures to bring them to real world driving conditions.

      You are right to point out the energy used in the refining process, but the bottom line is that it is only countries such as Norway where EVs make sense from the emission standpoint, although there are still significant problems in the usability of such cars and being able to charge them if most citizens possessed them.

      I have lived in Norway and I would be very wary of owning an EV outside the big cities (of which there are few) in view of its hostile environment. I would not wish to be caught in winter without power in a car. No exaggeration, it could be life threatening.

      1. SebastianH


        please read the original study regarding the CO2 emissions caused by battery production:

        Those 8 years you mentioned are from a journalist who didn’t know better. The weight of an EV is a problem, but no show stopper regarding harmful emissions. EVs are just so much more efficient … and they emit less CO2 even in China (despite what this post here is trying to tell us):

        What you do not take into account with your example, and I know this from experience of driving electric vehicles, that every item of equipment used is a drain on the battery

        I don’t know what kind of battery and size your EV had, but things have changed from your car and the first small EVs of the last years. The equipment you mention barely consumes electricity. Air condition and the heater are serious energy users but do you know how long you can operate those on a 60 kWh battery? This was/is an issue when EVs just have 15-25 kWh of battery power.

        You need to add at least another 20% to your figures to bring them to real world driving conditions.

        The entries on reflect real world conditions.

        but the bottom line is that it is only countries such as Norway where EVs make sense from the emission standpoint

        No, it makes sense as long as an EV emits less CO2 than its gasoline counterpart. And that’s almost always the case and is only getting better with time.

        significant problems in the usability of such cars and being able to charge them if most citizens possessed them.

        True. I expect this to be less of a problem with newer EVs and home owners buying the first few million EVs (because they don’t have a problem charging those cars). Once millions of EVs are on the road the infrastructure will change so everyone can easily drive one a reduce their mobility costs and CO2 footprint this way.

        I would not wish to be caught in winter without power in a car.

        Again, how much power do you think is needed to keep passengers in a car warm? How long will 60 kWh of electricity last you on a -20°C day?

        1. richard verney

          Thanks your further comments. You need to live with an EV to know the restrictions on practicality.

          My Dad’s car was bought around 1990 to 1992. It was an all aluminum body, with then state of the art batteries. As we both accept battery technology has since improved.

          All ancillaries consume power. You suggest that these are nominal. That is not so. Unfortunately, in life there is no such thing as a free lunch, and certain fundamentals have not changed.

          Back in those days, the standard headlamp was 60 watts. Thus 2 headlamps and 2 fog lights at the front was 240 watts. Rear fog light and rear lights would add a further 40 or so watts. So in fog at night, lights would consume around 300 watts. Not a small amount of power.

          Lighting is one item where there has been improvements. Of course today, LED lights are more efficient, but would probably consume about 80 to 100 watts.

          Aircon on a conventional car consumes about 1 horse power so circa 700 watts of power. EVs are small cars and probably do not have large aircon units, but nonetheless we must be talking about 200 to 300 watts of power for the electric heater/inverter. Again, not a small amount of power.

          Windscreen wipers, on a conventional car, usually have a 20 amp fuse. That suggests that the wiper motor draws around 15 amps, which at 12 volts is a further 180 watts. Again, not a small amount of power being drained from the battery.

          Heated rear windows on a conventional car are usually fitted with a 15 amp fuse. This suggests that the heated rear windscreen consumes around 130 watts.

          Of course, my Dad’s car did not have electric seats, and one needs to forego luxuries like that in an EV. Not necessarily so good if you live in cold northern climes (eg., scandinavia).

          Now I am not saying that every time that you drive a car, you need all that equipment on. However, there will be winter nights when you require headlamps, fog lights, heater to demist the front screen, heated rear window and wipers all running, and that is a very substantial power drain on the battery. Of course, an electric car runs on a different voltage (usually around 60 to 120 volts) so in amp hours drained from the battery, it is not quite as bad as the figures above suggest once one has converted the above figures to the requisite voltage, but I emphasis that it is by no means insignificant.

          Finally, I would point out that battery performance is temperature dependent. Not a problem for somewhere like the UK, but in cold climates, eg., in Scandinavia where -15 to – 30 degC conditions are common in rural locations this will have a significant impact on the performance of the EV.

          I have driven several thousand kilometers in an EV in mixed driving conditions, Summer, Winter, Day, Night, Rain etc), and I can tell you that the ancillaries on the EV have a very substantial impact upon its performance. The only differnce is that headlights do not now consume as much power as they did in the 1990s, and the battery has a longer life expectancy, and the batteries are about 50 to 70% more powerful.

          1. Dave Ward

            “Of course, an electric car runs on a different voltage”

            And so requires a DC-DC converter (which itself is less than 100% efficient), to supply all the ancillaries, thereby wasting more power. Furthermore, this sort of technology (the same as you will find in switch-mode battery chargers and inverters) has an unavoidable, minimum consumption – even when it is supplying NO power at all…

          2. SebastianH

            Again, I suggest you visit that spritmonitor website and click on different cars there. On the left side you can choose other brands than Renault ZOE. Cars with a longer history of entries have a graph that shows you the average monthly kWh/100 km figure.

            Those values are real life values and don’t need any adjustments. Of course, such a car will use more energy in colder climates, but so does a gasoline car. How much gasoline does such a car consume running idle just heating the interior? Will a car with a 50 l gas tank outlast a 60 kWh or a 90 kWh battery running the heater or aircon?

            Your electric vehicle from the 90s was probably running on some lead batteries with a very low capacity. Current EVs run on high capacity batteries and the bigger the battery the less of a drain (percentage-wise) things like light and aircon/heater is.

            Also, this is a pretty good link for understanding EVs in cold weather:

        2. richard verney

          Further to my recent post, I have had a quick look at the Renault Zoe, and attach a photo of its fuse box.

          As you can see, it has 2 x 40 Amp fuses, a 35 Amp relay, 1 x 30 Amp, 1 x 25 Amp, 2 x 20 Amp, 5 x 15 Amp, 8 x 10 Amp, 1 x 7.5 Amp, and 4 x 5Amp fuses. In a addition there are a few unspecified components. If one assumes a 20% to 30% tolerance on the fuses, it is easy to see that the ancillaries consume a lot of power (incidentally, it would appear that the fuse box is 12 volts given the description of the relay).

          Of course, manufacturer’s figures, as cited by you, are taken off a rolling road in ideal circumstances, and do not reflect real life driving. Thus for example, if the car has power steering, this involves an electric motor that will be in almost constant use (unless on the motorway). You can add at least 20 to 30% to your figures to take account of the drain from ancillaries which are used in a mix of everyday driving..

          I have an old 3 litre BMW diesel M Sport convertible. I have owned it for a few years and the computer states that it has averaged 40 mpg over the full time of my ownership which is about 7 litres per 100 km. That is real life driving with about 80% in town (not city) with only about 20% open road. One year I took it to Europe and drove about 4,000 km, with very little town driving, and it averaged on this trip about 50 mpg, equivalent to about 5.6 litres per 100km. That is a large car and it produces less CO2 than the Renault Zoe (outside hydro powered Norway, or nuclear powered France).

          If you want low CO2, unless one has hydro or nuclear energy, diesel is the best option. It makes a lot more sense than an EV, at any rate where the vehicles is used predominantly outside the largest cities.

          1. SebastianH

            Of course, manufacturer’s figures, as cited by you,

            Those aren’t manufacturer’s figures … stop ignoring links and actually go there and read what’s written on the target websites.

            That is a large car and it produces less CO2 than the Renault Zoe

            No, it doesn’t. 7 litres of fuel equals 163.1 gCO2/km (5.6 litres is 130.5 gCO2/km). Germany’s electricity mix emits around 535 gCO2/kWh and the ZOE uses an average (real life values) of 168.1 Wh per km. That equals 90 gCO2/km.

            In France (average of 40 gCO2/kWh) this equals 6.7 gCO2/km … which is significantly better but doesn’t change the fact that it produces less CO2 in Germany too.

          2. AndyG55

            Still this moronic bed-wetting about inconsequential CO2 production.

            When will you LEARN, little seb-t, that the planet needs MORE atmospheric CO2, not less.

            As you have shown, time after time, there is absolutely ZERO downside to enhanced atmospheric CO2.

            It is totally beneficial . nee.. ESSENTIAL to all life on this glorious carbon based planet of ours.

            Yes, seb-t, even you, the lowest form of human existence, is totally dependant on it for your very existence.

          3. richard verney

            If one looks at Germany’s CO2 emissions one can see that as its nuclear plants get replaced by coal plants it overall CO2 emissions are no longer going down, but are increasing. That is why 2016 CO2 emissions were grewater than 2015 emissions.

            Presently, Germany obtains much backup from France’s nuclear energy. Again, this is likely to get less going forward especially as France has suggested that it too will close its nuclear power plants.

            As Germany takes in a million migrants (it will be more as families are reconciled), the demand for energy will significantly increase. This will not be supplied by more wind and solar, and this will force Germany to build even more coal powered stations in the coming years.

            but the fact is that your figures for electric vehicles need to be increased by at least 30% to take account of real impact on auxiliaries.

            Further and materially, it takes more energy to charge a batter than the battery supplies due to energy loss in the charging process.

            The reality is that outside a few countries like Norway, EVs do not save any CO2 emissions.

            Of course, the greens have a history with this misinformation/misreprenting data.

            First they pushed diesels as the way forward, only for later studies to confirm what climate realists already knew namely that diesels produce more pollutants than petrol.

            Second, they push biomass as the way forward, only for later studies to confirm what climate realists alreadyknew namely that it does not reduce CO2 (biomass has a lower calorific value and produces more CO2 than coal or gas) and produces harmful pollutants that are causing problems particularly in cities.

            Third, greens are now pushing EVs. Later studies will confirm what climate realists already know namely that EVs do not reduce CO2 to any significant extent and because of their weight in fact produce as much harmful pollutants as conventional cars.

            If only greens would wake up and face reality. There may be solutions but to date the greens always push solutions that do not work rather than acknowledging at an early stage that there proposals do not work and hence allow research and development to flourish in other areas that may well be practical and may well achive the desired goal.

            You are just flogging a dead horse not yet realising that the horse is dead. Unfortunately, the blinkers are on the rider, rather than the horse and that is why you cannot see what is going on.

          4. SebastianH

            what climate realists already know

            I suggest you quickly unlearn what you know. It’s incorrect knowledge.

            1) “nuclear plants get replaced by coal plants” – that’s not the case. The amount of electricity from coal plants has decreased too.

            2) “overall CO2 emissions are no longer going down, but are increasing”, the keyword being overall. CO2 per kWh electricity is decreasing.

            3) “That is why 2016 CO2 emissions were greater than 2015 emissions.” – 1) and 2) are not the reason for the slight increase. Both coal consumption and nuclear energy decreased from 2015 to 2016. Oil and natural gas increased (see Link).

            4) “Germany obtains much backup from France’s nuclear energy.” – 5.57 TWh in 2016 isn’t very much.

            5) “As Germany takes in a million migrants (it will be more as families are reconciled), the demand for energy will significantly increase.” – true, but so far Germany is (on average) producing more additional electricity from renewables each year than 1 million immigrants would consume. Or in other words, even if we continue to have 1 million immigrants every year, the percentage of renewables in the energy mix of the power grid will not decrease.

            6) “but the fact is that your figures for electric vehicles need to be increased by at least 30% to take account of real impact on auxiliaries.” – that’s not true. The values on are real life values and include every power consumption of a car whether it uses electricity or gasoline. The users there don’t go to the trouble and try to subtract energy usage of auxiliary systems when logging their consumption.

            7) “Further and materially, it takes more energy to charge a batter than the battery supplies due to energy loss in the charging process.” – true, but misleading. The loss from electricity generation due to transmission and battery charging is around 20%. So if you see 20 kWh/100 km on, you can add 4 kWh because of those losses to get the true electricity usage. Doing the same for gasoline results (adding transport and refining energy usage) results in an increase of the energy usage of around 20% too.

            8) “The reality is that outside a few countries like Norway, EVs do not save any CO2 emissions.” – I just did the calculation for you and you choose to ignore it? Why?

            9) “Of course, the greens have a history with this misinformation/misreprenting data.” – you mean the skeptics? 😉 I have no doubt that greens try to make data look better than it is, but misrepresentation is a hallmark of skeptics or realist as you like to call yourself. That’s what I learned from reading this blog and the comments for 7 months now …

            10) “First they pushed diesels as the way forward” – did they? I don’t remember that one.

            11) “it [biomass] does not reduce CO2” – that’s wrong … when you burn biomass you release exactly the amount of CO2 that was absorbed when it grew. You have additional CO2 emissions from harvesting, etc … but that is not in the same ballpark as what burning coal releases for the same amount of electricity. Where do you get your numbers from?

            12) “EVs do not reduce CO2 to any significant extent” – I just did the calculations for you and linked to different sources. And you just dismiss that because? Do you really think this is true? An EV driven completely on renewables (or nuclear power if you like that better) will reduce CO2 emissions very significantly and it even reduced emission when driven in countries like China (see Link)

            13) “If only greens would wake up and face reality.” – you need to do some serious waking up yourself. You are trying to convince yourself of a reality that doesn’t exist. You ignore everything that doesn’t fit in your world view. This is making skeptics (or realists) look bad. There are valid things to be skeptic about, but they get burried in all this nonsense. Not good! The world needs informed skeptics that understand the mechanisms … not skeptics with wild fantasies about how the world works or should work.

          5. AndyG55

            1. GAS, Renewables still only provide a tiny slice of Germany’s total energy. Coal and gas provide the VAST bulk of the world’s energy.

            2. Its called efficiency, which is always good, except the planet needs more CO2, not less.

            3. Oil and gas increase, for the time being. 1600 new coal fired power stations being built around the world.

            4. Will be hilarious to watch as France closes some of its nukes. 😊

            5. The percentage of renewables will decrease as subsidies get removed and people realise they need reliable electricity.

            6. EVs. Tinker toys for the inner city far-left yuppy,local delivery fleets and golf carts. How’s your Mercedes going, btw?

            7. Your wishful FANTASY thinking on batteries is a wonder to behold.

            8. Your calculations???? …. Roflmao. !!! We have seen then before. You have GOT to be joking.

            9. You have purposely NOT learnt anything.. your brainwashing won’t let you.

            10. Ignorance is your only defence.

            11. Biomass grown for the purpose subtracts from world food supplies. People starve.. and the likes of seb.. just DON’T CARE.

            12. EV in fossil fuel countries probably INCREASE CO2 usage, also they are such a tiny part of the overall market that they are, and will remain, totally insignificant.. A far-left feel-good toy.

            13. You are the only one living in a TOTAL FANTASY world seb. Your grip on reality is TENUOUS to say the least. You DENY every FACT that doesn’t fit your brain-washing, and see only what you are told to see by your socialist masters.

            And you are still TOTALLY INCAPABLE of providing any evidence that CO2 causes warming of any kind.

      2. Wijnand

        And the biggest export product of Norway is…wait for it…fossil fuels.
        Oh the irony…it burns (better than oil).

  4. David Johnson

    And will our Lords and Masters take any notice. No they will continue with their stupid and misguided “green” policies

  5. ScottM

    50% of the EVs in the US are in California. Almost none of the energy in California comes from coal, and California produces a larger percentage of its energy from renewables than the US average – so that California’s carbon footprint per kW-hour is about half that of the national average. I think factoring this in would reduce the estimate for EVs in the US by about 25%. (Taking into account EVs in other western states might reduce it even more.)

    Putting the EVs where the renewable and nuclear sources are makes sense. I don’t know if similar adjustments need to be made for China and Japan in your table.

  6. clipe

    “Almost none of the energy in California comes from coal…”

    True but you left out mentioning something.

    1. clipe
  7. Brian Mahan

    All this effort and wasted resources for absolutely no benefit. There has yet to be a single credible study proving CO2 has any impact whatever in increasing the historical rate of growth in global mean temperature. In fact, there is credible evidence and solid science proving that CO2 levels rise AFTER increases in global mean temperature. Wind, solar, EVs, every effort to reduce CO2 emissions is totally wasted–not beneficial.

    1. AndyG55

      “every effort to reduce CO2 emissions is totally wasted–not beneficial”

      No just that.

      The atmospheric CO2 level is still very much on the low side for optimum plant growth.

      These efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are not just a total waste of funding and time, they are also HIGHLY DETRIMENTAL to the environment, and economies in many different ways.

  8. Derek Colman

    Just how much do these vehicles really cost? They are currently somewhat more expensive than conventional cars, maybe about 50% more, but that is partly offset by government subsidies, which in the UK is £5,000 per car. However it is said that when sales reach a high level the cost per unit will come down because of the economy of scale. That sounds great. We can all have an electric for the same price as a conventional one, or so I thought until I discovered yesterday something they aren’t telling us. Apparently GM is selling the Chevy Bolt at a loss of $9,000 per car. The boss of Fiat reportedly said he hoped he did not sell many of the 500e model because he is losing $14,000 on each one.

    1. Colorado Wellington

      That’s ok. They are losing money on each car but they will make it up on volume. The Soviet Union ran like a Swiss watch for 70 years so it’s obviously a robust economic model. Sebastian can fill you in on the details.

    2. yonason

      E.V.s are much more expensive and totally useless if you need them in a hurry, or to travel long distances.

      1. AndyG55

        Cobalt mining in the Congo by children. But you can bet the socialist won’t even acknowledge it.

        This sort of exploitation should have been outlawed ages ago. and would have the lefties screaming their head off if it was for coal or gas…

        But its doesn’t matter .. because its for “the Green AGENDA”. !!

    3. yonason

      The “cost” is not evenly distributed among us.

      Sadly, those pushing EVs on us aren’t feeling anywhere near enough of the pain they are causing others.

  9. DaleB

    Just wondering…since CO2 actually improves the growth of plant life…does an increase in CO2 actually improve the growth of food supplies on earth thus sustaining more human life? If that is true, then the “green” movement is actually inhibiting life, not helping it. Talk about ironic. LOL

    1. AndyG55

      That is precisely what CO2 does.

      Increased plant growth, and that includes FOOD plants

      It is used extensively in actual greenhouses, up to about 1500ppm, to increase growth of flowers and food plants.

      The plants LOVE IT. !! 🙂

    2. yonason

      Just a couple of items on that.

      I.e., yeah, elevated CO2 a good thing. If we were able to cool the world, and reduce CO2, a lot of people would die.

      1. AndyG55

        Well, we can make sure we do everything we can to keep CO2 emissions flowing into the atmosphere. (lots of new coal fired power stations around the world.)

        But there’s not much we can do about the cooler period that is coming, mores the pity. 🙁

        1. yonason

          Not much, especially since even if we put a lot more CO2 into the atmosphere, it won’t make a dent in the cooling we’re probably overdo for.

        2. yonason

          Intersting, isn’t it Andy, that the highest CO2 concentrations are over . . . South America? . . . South Africa? . . . Indonesia?

          Hardly anything over the USA or Europe. The only one that might make sense is Eastern China.

          Another problem is that it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so the plants there should be absorbing it like crazy, but in the Northern, plant life is dormant, so the profile is exactly the opposite of what one might expect, both for time of year and most locations.

          And they wonder why we ain’t buying the $%&@# that they are selling.

          1. yonason

            Oh, yeah, and nothing over Oz, either. Your idiot leaders are making you suffer blackouts and dramatically escalating energy prices for nothing.

        3. yonason

          This is as good or better than the one in moderation, I think.

      2. SebastianH

        Do you really think that rice crop yield increased because of more CO2 in the atmosphere or that it should not have increased because CAGW would dictate that it shouldn’t?

        1. AndyG55

          Rice crop yields DO increase because of CO2.

          Are you REALLY THAT DUMB that you don’t understand how basic plant life grows????

          The effects of enhance atmospheric CO2 are MEASUREABLE and PROVEN.

          And yes, some NATURAL WARMING out of the coldest period in 10,000 years has also been of benefit.

          And no, CO2 DOES NOT have any warming effect. If there is any, it is UNMEASURED/IMMEASURABLE and UNPROVEN, as you have very regularly shown by your UTTER FAILURE to produce one piece of empirical evidence.

    3. yonason

      Just found this.

      If true, it, as the they say, ‘splains a lot.

  10. DaleB

    I propose that increasing CO2 would actually cool the earth. Ever ride a motorcycle past an orchard in AZ? The temperature drops maybe 10 degrees. The sun shining on the desert heats up the sand a great deal. To the point that you can’t walk on it. Don’t have that problem in the orchards. So if plant life were more abundant, wouldn’t that actually COOL the earth, not warm it up?

    1. SebastianH

      Plants don’t just magically grow in the desert when you increase atmospheric CO2 …

      1. tom0mason

        So anyone saying, “The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.” but can not adequately explain it apart from the ‘magic’ of elevated CO2 levels must be wrong seb?

        Maybe you should ask a bunch of NASA employees why they think it’s so.

        1. SebastianH

          OP is specifically mentioning the desert and sand being hot. How is your reply relevant to that?

      2. AndyG55

        Poor seb…. Yet again you show your manifest ignorance of the effect of enhanced CO2 on plant biology.

        Enhanced CO2 allows plants to lose much less water, (I’ll leave (lol) you to find out why.)

        So YES, enhance CO2 DOES allow plants to grow in drier places…. a CO2 ENHANCED growing environment.

        And the seeds are always there, as shown by the extravagant shows desert plants put on after rain.

      3. yonason

        It’s not “magic,” SebH. It’s SCIENCE!

        But from what we’ve seen of your understanding of science, it’s understandable that you would confuse the two.

        1. SebastianH

          And you think that because of more CO2 in the atmosphere plants can suddenly grow in high-temperature areas such as deserts to cool the Earth as the OP was proposing?

          1. yonason

            More importantly, even NASA believes it.

            They do try to minimize it’s significance, but they can’t deny the effect.

            Get with the program, SebH. More CO2 is all benefit with no loss.

  11. DaleB

    LOLOL Have you EVER seen a desert Seb? Obviously not. When someone throws a monkey wrench into your flawed reasoning, you resort to some stupid remark like this one. What happened to the earth the last time CO2 was elevated on earth?

    1. tom0mason

      Or that NASA says essentially the same as you DaleB —

    2. SebastianH

      So throw that wrench. How do you make plants grow in the desert now that CO2 levels have increased so much? I am open for suggestions .. all the fertile land and water supply in the deserts were just waiting for CO2 to increase this much and someone like you to plant plants there to cool the Earth.

      So if plant life were more abundant, wouldn’t that actually COOL the earth, not warm it up?

      Do some research and find out if plant life can actually compensate the warming effect from more CO2 in the atmosphere and how plant life reacts to the warming itself.

      1. AndyG55

        “can actually compensate the warming effect from more CO2 in the atmosphere ”

        There’s that LIE, yet again.

        There is no warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Why do you keep up this MORONIC ANTI-SCIENCE FARCE.

        You know that you have been totally unable to provide one tiny piece of empirical evidence that CO2 causes warming in the atmosphere.

        Yet you STILL keep on with the FANTASY and the LIE.

        You really are one mentally-absent, brain-washed parrot, aren’t you seb.

  12. DaleB

    It isn’t my responsibility to teach you, Seb. As if that were possible in the first place. I have learned that leftist morons will believe a lie much faster than the truth and will hang on to that lie no matter how much evidence is produced to the contrary. When others don’t go along they resort to force. So, I and others have given you plenty to think about if you can conjure up the guts to actually do the research yourself. Otherwise…ignorance is bliss I’ve heard.

  13. DaleB

    Google “children mines congo”

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