It feels like the long tailpipe argument never goes away. Simply put, full life-cycle emissions of electric vehicles (EVs) are no different to that of a conventional vehicle. But, this is no longer the case. Fresh research tells us that 75 percent of people in the US live in places where driving on electricity is cleaner than a 50 MPG gasoline car.
In the manufacturing stage, EVs are more carbon intensive when taking into account parts production and transportation. According to the UCS, manufacturing a mid-sized EV with an 84-mile range results in about 15 percent more emissions than producing an equivalent gasoline vehicle, this is mainly because of the raw materials and energy required for the Lithium-ion battery. However, when you include full lifecycle emissions, charging and driving, EVs come out on top.
EVs produce fewer emissions now because the electric grid is getting cleaner.
How clean the electricity is, depends on the geographical location. For example, In the Midwest, electricity generation remains heavily reliant on Coal and Natural Gas, whereas, in the far West, larger-scale renewable infrastructure is in place to serve more of the electricity demand.In the future, innovation will help decarbonize the whole EV lifecycle process. First in manufacturing. Environmentally friendly materials particularly with regards to battery compounds. And, second EV charging. Building out renewable infrastructure will help clean up the electricity grid and in turn the charging process.