Electric Cars’ Real Carbon Footprint

March 20, 2015

leafThe world still has to gear its effort towards making electric cars more environmentally friendly since this will enable it to meet the set climate goals. This was what was concluded in a paper published by the University of Toronto in March. The paper claims that there is a need for nations to minimize the intensity of carbon generated by electric power. This will enable electric transport, as well as other infrastructure to serve as an effective climate change combating strategy. To illustrate this perspective, think of a Nissan Leaf running on electric energy. The greenhouse gas emissions released by the car are determined by the way through which electricity was generated. The carbon emissions are minimal if the car is charged on geothermal or solar power.

A car changed on coal-generated electricity is bad or even worse for the environment. A road map for climate-friendly cars was created by Climate Central in the year 2013 and it clearly showed that electric cars are among the most environmentally friendly vehicles in the United States. The paper further gives emissions thresholds that will be help not only governments, but also consumers to understand if the push for electrification of other transportation modes will be beneficial for the climate. For electric vehicles to have a significant impact on the climate, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the environment should not exceed 600 tons for a Gigawatt of electricity per hour. This is equivalent to the electric power required to serve approximately 100 homes annually.

The paper’s author, professor Christopher Kennedy said that he had gone over several studies that had considered electrification over the years. This entails using electric power as an alternative to fossil fuels technology. He said that a region, city or state with carbon intensity of less than 600 tons needs to have electric cars. The international goal has been to keep global warming to a minimum of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Centigrade by the year 2010. To achieve this goal it will be necessary for countries to cut their emissions of electric power to less than 600 tons. To minimize further global warming, all nations must act fast after the year 2020 to minimize the carbon intensity by more than 90 percent by the year 2050.

The 600 ton target has already been met in countries such as Iceland, Canada, United States and other European nations. The carbon intensity in Iceland is essentially zero because of the country’s reliance on geothermal and hydro power.


Filed under: Electric Cars,Green News and Products,hybrid cars

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