Lifecycle comparison – The gap will grow

There’s always a lot of misinformation being peddled during any big technology-based market disruption, but it’s even more ridiculously misleading and ruthless when there is a lot at stake. Given that the energy business is among the most lucrative on the planet, and affects numerous other major industries, the stakes are high and fictions are colourful.

Thalia Verkade seems to have done a thorough and pretty balanced comparison here of the C02 emissions during the entire lifecycle of electric vs gas-powered cars. We have modified Thalia’s graphic. It originally also showed emissions based on Holland’s electricity mix, which includes natural gas power plants. Removal of that part simplifies the comparison, especially for places generating virtually clean electricity, like Ontario says it is generating (agreement depends on you view of nuclear power).

At more than 60% less carbon the discussion obviously favours electric cars and we think the gap is actually already bigger, and will grow as more people put solar panels on their roofs and as battery technology advances. Furthermore, the only part of the process where an electric car loses is in the manufacture of the battery, claimed by fiction-spinners to equal 8 years of driving distance. This was recently debunked by Popular Mechanics quite convincingly. They say the difference disappears in just over two years of driving. It’s likely even less.

Electric vs gas car lifetime C02 low res

Source: Verkade, Thalia, 2017.

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