Stolen Borrowed from Hube:

Electric cars not the boon for the environment everyone thought

Take that “everyone” as you will, of course!

An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed. (Link.)


Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, no, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop looking into clean, and hopefully cheaper, power sources. But we definitely shouldn’t make any ridiculous mandates about switching to this or that NOW in order to “save” the planet from “imminent Armageddon.” After all, the effects of what we’ve done already (in terms of CO2 emissions) supposedly will remain in effect for 1,000 years. So … what’s the hurry?

The hurry, of course, is to get our guilt-ridden, guilt-tripping friends on the left some additional political power, power they can use to depress the just-plain-unfair lifestyles of wealthy, white Americans and Europeans, who so greedily consume the resources of the world, far in excess of what darker-complected people get to use. Rather than trying to increase production and increase wealth for everybody, they choose the alternative, to equalize income by making everyone equally poor.


  1. This, of course, depends on your power source for your electric car. If you’re hooked into the grid and your power comes from coal, then this is true and fairly obvious. If, however, you’re plugged in to a solar charger or if your grid power comes from wind or nuclear, you’re gonna produce net CO2 savings much, much quicker.

  2. The problem with that is that all of the electricity produced goes into the grid, and we can’t track electricity; we are all, in effect, using the electric production capacity of the entire grid. Nuclear, hydroelectric, coal, even wind and solar, are all interconnected.

    Now, if you happen to operate off the grid, as some companies and individuals do with their own power generation, your statement could be correct, depending upon the power source used.

  3. Yeah, that’s true. If/when I get a plug-in (or convert my current hybrid into one), I plan to hook it up to an independent solar panel for charges when I’m at home. But that requires some other things (money, a good south-facing sunny spot on your land) that make this a less-than-universal solution. It could work, however, for city-owned charging stations, of which there are a few in Raleigh.

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