Electric cars ‘can release more CO2 than diesels’, new report claims

Rob Waugh
Are electric cars really clean, green machines? (Getty)

Electric cars might not be quite the clean, green machines they’re cracked up to be – as some can harbour a dirty secret in their batteries.

Many batteries are made in countries with electrical grids which rely on fossil fuels – meaning that building the car is far ‘dirtier’ than building an equivalent diesel, Bloomberg reports.

The (paradoxical) result is that it can be ‘cleaner’ to drive a diesel car for several years than to drive a ‘clean’ electric car, because of the way its battery was made.

Berylls Strategy Advisors claims that building the batteries for electric cars emits up to 74 percent more C02 than building a conventional car, Bloomberg reports.


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That means it can be up to three years before a ‘green’ car such as a Nissan Leaf is more eco-friendly than a diesel car, the analysts estimate.

Electric cars can also have a ‘carbon footprint’ beyond the showroom if they’re driven in countries such as Britain where 40% of power comes from gas (as of 2016).

Henrik Fisker of electric vehicle developer Fisker says, ‘It will come down to where is the battery made, how is it made, and even where do we get our electric power from.’

To cut average fleet emissions of carbon dioxide in Europe by 30 percent by 2030, Volkswagen needed to raise its share of electric vehicles to 30 percent of new car sales, said CEO Herbert Diess.

A reduction of 40 percent CO2 fleet emissions would require around half of the new cars sold to be fully electric.

The push to cut vehicle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, would ultimately lead to a rise in CO2 pollution in Germany, given the country’s dependence on generating electricity from brown coal, he said.