Don’t believe the hype – electric cars are not the saviours of humanity

Buying just one electric car would produce more carbon dioxide than 15 and a half years of electricity usage for the average UK family home, writes Donnachadh McCarthy

Saturday 04 April 2020 18:59
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A new report estimates nearly 12 tons of carbon dioxide is emitted in the manufacture of the average electric car
A new report estimates nearly 12 tons of carbon dioxide is emitted in the manufacture of the average electric car

The second most climate-destructive thing anyone is likely to do this year is to buy a new electric vehicle (EV).

A new report, published last week in the journal Nature Sustainability (NS), estimates that the manufacture of the average electric car produces nearly 12 tons of carbon emissions. To put that in context, buying one electric car would mean producing more carbon dioxide (CO2) than 15 and a half years of electricity usage for the average UK family home. Yes, you would have to turn off all the lights, fridges, freezers, TVs, electric-heaters, chargers, washing machines, dryers etc for more than 15 years before you would have saved enough carbon to justify buying a new electric car.

The report estimated that the embedded carbon in EVs was 30 per cent more on average globally than for the equivalent sized internal-combustion engine (ICE) car. But it did report that in the UK if you include the electricity used to power the EV, then over its lifetime, it will save just about 30 per cent in total combined carbon emissions for both manufacture and usage. That is why the worst thing most people are likely to do climatically this year is buy a new fossil-fuelled car, as they are even worse than EVs.

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