How Green Is Your Electric Vehicle?

Check the fuel source before making any assumptions.
March 21, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Rob Smith surveys the world's countries for information on the sources of energy powering the electricity grid to determine where electric cars are actually as green as they aspire to be.

"However, electric vehicles are not emissions-free. While these vehicles obviously run on electricity, that electricity typically comes from a mix of emissions-intensive fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and power from renewables," explains Smith. On one side of the spectrum in emissions free electricity production is Norway, "which generates virtually all of its electricity from hydropower." On the other side of the spectrum is China, where the electric vehicle market accounts for 40 percent of global sales. But since China relies so much on coal power, those are also the world's most emissions-intensive electric cars. Smith presents a pair of infographics to reveal the emissions attached the electric vehicle fleets in countries around the world.  

Smith raises the question as sales of electric cars are booming around the world. According to the 2017 Global Electric Vehicle report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), car companies manufactured two million electric cars and sold more than 750,000 electric cars around the world in 2016. "The report predicts electric car stocks will range from between nine million and 20 million by 2020 and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025," writes Smith.

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Published on Monday, March 5, 2018 in World Economic Forum
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